My parents are from Ohio and Oregon and I can totally relate to this. Well, I think that most of us can. We allwant to raise kind, empathetic kids who will grow to become kind, empathetic adults. But, reality is often disappointing. That’s right, it’s not always easy to know if our kids are actually absorbing and acting on the lessons we try to impart, and sometimes we end up hoping for the best. A widowed mother recently wrote a post asking for advice. She says that she’s tried to teach her daughters to respect everyone regardless of their social standing in life. Unfortunately, it seems that her youngest hasn’t exactly absorbed the lesson the way the mom had hoped. The mom decided to take quick, decisive action. It seems like it worked, but now the rest of her family thinks she overreacted.
She explains that she had both her children when she was pretty young, and she had to hit rock bottom before she could really provide:
“I am a single mother to two girls, ‘Jasmine’ and ‘Jessica’, 16 and 14. Their dad died when I was pregnant with Jess, and I had to work hard. We hit rock bottom, and I was barely making paycheque to paycheque but I managed to get a degree, become successful and we live well. Point is, I know how [expletive] hard it is to be at the bottom of society, and my daughters know this, which is why I was livid at my daughter’s actions.”
“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.'”
When the man balked, the situation got worse:
“When the homeless man complained about the cold, 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.”
She didn’t want to let her daughter get away with her awful behavior, so she put a plan into motion:
“Along with finding the homeless man and making her apologise 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.”
“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 (aka really bloody thermal).”
“I slept in the room closest to the garden for that night so I was nearby if anything was to go wrong.”
The mom gave her daughter two choices: camp outside for a night or lose her phone.
“She was reluctant to do it, but chose it over the option of not having access to her phone until the Christmas holidays are over. In the morning, she 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 everyday like the homeless man.Everything was going great until her daughter and her cousin had a conversation at school. I was proud of how she turned over a new leaf, and after taking the food to the people, my sister came over. Apparently, my nephew and Jessica were talking at school, and he asked her about her plans for the afternoon, and she said that she was going to cook for the homeless. My nephew asked what triggered that, and Jess told him everything, which he relayed back to his mum. My sister said that my punishment was too harsh, and just the money and the food bank would have done the trick, and I was acting irrationally due to my past. Now I’m second guessing myself.”
So now she wants to know: Was this too much?