Before the internet, what did parents do? Nowadays, with a vast network of other caregivers at their fingertips, moms and dads can easily gain insight into how to successfully raise their kids. Teenagers in particular are known to be rebellious and hard to handle – but one mother-of-two recently turned to Reddit for help. She wanted advice on teaching her sixteen and fourteen-year-old daughters kindness towards those who experience homelessness firsthand. Poring through the web is no substitute for being an attentive parent; however, it does provide tremendous resources when it comes time for real-world problem-solving!
In contrast, the mom’s youngest daughter was not as empathetic — at 14 years old, she treated homeless people in her community disrespectfully. Outraged by this behavior, the mom stepped forward to ensure that her teenage daughter understood never to mistreat the less fortunate again.
“I (34F) am a single mother to two girls, ‘Jasmine’ (16F) and ‘Jessica’ (14F). Their dad died when I was pregnant with Jess, and I had to work hard. We hit rock bottom, and I was barely making paycheck to paycheck, but I managed to get a degree, become successful, and we live well. The 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.”
After enduring years of hardship following the loss of her husband, the mother earnestly wished for her daughters to be compassionate towards those who hadn’t been as privileged.
“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.’”
Refusing to accept the mistreatment, the homeless man made it known that he was in a state of financial crisis and not suffering from any kind of substance abuse.
“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.”
Mom was not going to stand for her teenage daughter treating a homeless man with such disrespect. Without hesitation, she took action.
“Along with finding the homeless man and making her apologize and help pay for a hotel room for a night for him (she paid £20), as well as signing her up to volunteer at a food bank – I decided to take her up on her offer of sleeping outside.”
Mom established a consequence for her daughter’s behavior.
“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).”
In the morning, it appeared as if mom’s tough love had paid off.
“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 if she would 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 the £20, she was rolling her eyes, and her apology was not sincere. This afternoon, I came home from work to Jessica making a big meal to donate to the homeless people who live on the road near our house.”