This is a lesson this teenage daughter will never forget learning from her mother.
As the world becomes more connected through the internet, parents now have the ability to tap into a community of caregivers to find the best approaches for raising their children. This is especially useful for parents of teenagers who are notorious for being difficult to manage. One mother, in particular, recently turned to Reddit to share her story about trying to teach her teenage daughters the importance of kindness towards others, including homeless individuals.
The mother, a 34-year-old single parent, has two daughters aged 16 and 14. After the death of their father when the mother was pregnant with her youngest daughter, the family hit rock bottom and struggled to make ends meet. Despite the difficulties, the mother managed to obtain a degree and become successful, providing a better life for her family. She instilled in her daughters the importance of empathy and kindness towards those who were struggling, which made her recent discovery all the more shocking.
The mother was outraged when her 14-year-old daughter, Jessica, was caught on video verbally abusing a homeless man in their community. According to the video, Jessica was telling the homeless man to stop asking her for money, stating that he should earn it himself and accusing him of spending his earnings on substances. The homeless man responded by telling Jessica that he was not struggling due to substance abuse but because of financial difficulties.
To make matters worse, when the homeless man complained about the cold, Jessica responded by saying that people camp for fun, even in December, and that he should not complain as he was living someone’s holiday. The mother was livid that her daughter, who she thought was empathetic, could be so cruel to someone who was struggling.
“Yesterday, Jasmine showed me a video of Jessica cussing a homeless man out and telling him, ‘stop asking me for money. You’d earn it yourself if you weren’t so [expletive] lazy and spending what you earned on substances,” the mother wrote.
She added, “When the homeless man complained about the cold (we live in NE England), Jessica responded, ‘Yeah, people camp for fun, even in December, you can’t complain, you’re living someone’s holiday.’ Fury was an understatement for what I felt, as I thought I had raised an empathetic daughter.”
Taking swift action, the mother found the homeless man and made Jessica apologize to him. In addition, she made her daughter pay for a hotel room for a night, costing £20, and sign up to volunteer at a food bank. But this was not enough punishment for the mother. She decided to take her daughter up on her offer of sleeping outside, as a way of making her understand the harsh reality of being homeless.
The mother locked Jessica’s bedroom door, put a sign on it stating “Closed for the holidays,” and pitched a tent in the garden, filling it with blankets and a thermal sleeping bag. The following morning, Jessica woke up crying, complaining about how cold and uncomfortable it was to sleep outside. After comforting her daughter, the mother asked Jessica if she would like to do that every day, like the homeless man. This struck a chord with Jessica, who was in tears over her actions. Even after paying for the hotel room and volunteering at the food bank, her apology was not sincere.
However, the punishment seemed to have worked. Later that afternoon, the mother returned home from work to find Jessica making a big meal to donate to the homeless people who lived on the road near their house. The mother was proud of her daughter’s change of heart and was glad that the punishment had made a difference.
This story highlights the importance of empathy and kindness towards others, especially those who are less fortunate. It also shows that sometimes, swift and decisive action is necessary to teach children the consequences of their actions. With the help of the internet, parents now have access to a wealth of information and resources to help guide them through the challenges of raising teenagers.