Mother Makes Teen Daughter Sleep Outside In The Cold After Taunting Homeless Man

Photo: Beautiful landscape / Shutterstock
snowy tent

A 34-year-old single mother from northeast England went to Reddit to figure out if her parenting decision may have been a bit too harsh.

The subreddit “Am I The A*****e” is a place for anyone to post their story, and receive replies and comments on whether or not they are the, well... a*****e.

Under the username coolestthrowaway4, the mother posted a story about how she taught her daughter a valuable lesson after making fun of a homeless man.

Her daughter, Jasmine, 16, had taken a video of her other daughter, Jessica, 14, berating a homeless man who had simply asked for some spare change.

“Stop asking me for money,” she said. “You'd earn it yourself if you weren't so f***ing lazy and spending what you earned on substances.”

When the homeless man continued and then complained about the cold, her response was, “Yeah people camp for fun, even in December. You can't complain, you're living someone's holiday.”

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Earlier in her post, the mother mentioned how her husband had passed away while she was pregnant with the younger daughter, and the family was barely surviving paycheck to paycheck.

“Point is, I know how hard it is to be at the bottom of society,” the mother said, “and my daughters know this, which is why I was livid at my daughter's actions.”

Upon Jessica finishing the video, the mother took action.

She found the homeless man, made Jessica apologize to him, had her help pay (£20) for a hotel room for him for a night, and signed her up to volunteer at a food bank.

But that’s not all. Since Jessica was so adamant that people go camping for fun on cold winter nights in England, she gave her daughter the choice of sleeping in a tent outside for the night, or getting her phone taken away until the holidays were over. 

Jessica chose the night in a tent.

Her mother set up the tent with blankets and a sleeping bag, and put Jessica in the backyard garden. She also put a sign on Jessica’s bedroom door that read "closed for the holidays," and slept in her daughter's room with the closest view of the tent in case anything went wrong.

In the morning, Jessica was crying about how horrible it was to wake up on a cold mat and have her sleep disrupted by birds.

After the mother comforted her daughter, she asked her if she’d like to do that every day like the homeless man has to, and then the gravity of her actions really hit home.

When she got home from work one afternoon, Jessica was making a big meal to donate to the homeless people who lived on the road near their house. When the mother’s sister and nephew showed up, Jessica talked to her cousin about what had happened.

Upon hearing the story, Jessica’s aunt thought the punishment was too harsh, and that the apology and £20 would have been enough — even though Jessica rolled her eyes and was insincere in her apology when she did it.

This caused the mother to second-guess herself, which is why she posted to Reddit to prove to other redditors that she was not, in fact, an a*****e.

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The verdict? This mother is NTA: not the a*****e.

Besides a few outliers who are trying to claim that the punishment was child abuse, redditors actually had a lot of insightful comments to add.

User ChaosofaMadHatter pointed out that the mother did give her daughter a choice, one that ultimately ended up being a learning experience for Jessica.

This directly counters the argument that it’s child abuse, because Jessica chose her punishment and wasn’t forced to sleep outside.

The mother also set up the tent and made Jessica's sleeping experience as nice as it could be. Waking up cold isn’t child abuse.

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Another user Chance_Historian_333 praised the mother's parenting, and using the opportunity to help her child experience the hardships of another person.

And that's exactly what Jessica did — she learned how hard it was for the homeless man.

In fact, she had it better in that tent than the homeless man, and her reaction to the whole experience is what cements this as a moment of good parenting.

User rocketeerH also praised the mother for teaching her daughter a valuable lesson in humility, calling it "A+ parenting."

Maybe Jessica's aunt should learn a thing or two and go camping with her son some time.

Because while not every parenting experience will be fun, this seems particularly satisfying for a mom who just wanted her daughter to learn the importance of empathy.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and relationships.