A well-meaning mom doubted her punishment after her sister told her it was too harsh, so she hopped on to Reddit to ask if she did the right thing.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 9, 2021.
Reddit user and mom Coolestthrowaway4 recently punished her 14-year-old daughter for "cussing out a homeless man" with a night out in the cold. After receiving criticism for her strict punishment, she took to the website to ask if she was in the wrong. In a post uploaded to the group "Am I the As*hole?" the mother shared the incident that inspired the unique but effective punishment. Several fellow Reddit users in the comments agreed that she was, in fact, "not the as*hole" and had done the right thing. Others believed the experience did not happen at all.
New @crisis_uk @ISPHERE_HWU data shows on any given night in 2020 there were 202,300 families & individuals experiencing 'core homelessness' - a dataset we developed in 2017 in recognition that many people experiencing #homelessness are not recorded in official statistics. pic.twitter.com/a7hAOboexu— Francesca Albanese (@CescaAlbanese) December 3, 2020
The mother wrote, "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 f*cking lazy and spending what you earned on substances.'" Jasmine, aged 16, is Coolestthrowaway4's first daughter. Jessica, aged 14, is her second daughter. The Reddit user added that the homeless man complained about the cold, to which Jessica responded, "Yeah, people camp for fun, even in December, you can't complain, you're living someone's holiday." Evidently, the video infuriated the mother, so she devised a punishment to ensure her daughter learned some empathy.
It's #Thanksgiving, and there are over 500,000 people in the U.S. without a home to go to. Native people and Black people are overrepresented among them.— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 28, 2019
Here's a look at some of the most glaring statistics of the U.S. homelessness crisis. pic.twitter.com/4E2regm19i
She shared, "Along with finding the homeless man, and making her apologize and help pay for a hotel room for a night for him, as well as signing her up to volunteer at a food bank, I decided to take her up on her offer of sleeping outside." Jessica had chosen to sleep outside over the option of not having access to her phone until the Christmas holidays were over. "I locked her bedroom door so she couldn't go in, put a sign on it saying 'Closed for the holidays,' pitched a tent in the garden and filled it with blankets and the sleeping bag I used when I was camping in Norway on a family holiday as a teen," Coolestthrowaway4 continued. "I slept in the room closest to the garden for that night so I was nearby if anything was to go wrong."
Some homelessness statistics from the Bleak Mid Winter Service- causes for homelessness #Summit pic.twitter.com/cgmlRsqA7D— Stay (@StayTelford) June 29, 2018
In the coming days, the mother realized just how effective the punishment was. She stated, "In the morning, Jessica was crying about how horrible it was to wake up on a cold mat and get disrupted sleep due to birds. After comforting her, I asked her would she like to do that every day like the homeless man. It struck a chord with her and she was crying over her actions, while even after [paying for a hotel room for a night], she was rolling her eyes and her apology was not sincere." The teen also cooked a big meal to donate to the homeless people who lived on the road near their house. Jessica had also told her cousin brother about the punishment, and word got back to Coolestthrowaway4's sister. She claimed the punishment was too harsh, which made the Reddit user second-guess herself.
.@MurphyEoghan : These ever rising homelessness statistics are disappointing and baffling. What is a housing minister to do?— Andrew Galvin (@MaxHomo) March 29, 2019
Everyone else : pic.twitter.com/s8elNiMjoJ
However, the majority of fellow Reddits users in the comments section agreed with her. One wrote, "Not the a*shole, you sound like an amazing parent." Another added, "I would also like to point out that OP ado gave her daughter a choice- either a learning experience or a punishment (losing her phone for the break), and I feel like that made it even better. Her daughter could have ended up just resenting it if she’d been forced to sleep in the tent with no option, but because she chose it, it had more impact." Some thought the incident was fictional; one user mentioned, "Haha... This didn’t happen." Nonetheless, if it did, it's an example of great parenting.