Mom’s Extreme ‘Tough Love’ Punishments Are Being Called Out By Some As Child Abuse

Getty Images, u/odof_34/Reddit

Moms love to brag about being tough on their kids.

But…that’s not always a good thing.  And, in this case, it is most CERTAINLY not a good thing.


“Tough love is all I know how to give,” the post starts.

It continues:

“When I’ve busted my butt to do everything possible to give my child a great life .. a better life that I had and guide her and her siblings to the best of my ability …

Several talks .. plenty of chances and still chooses to act a fool at school and at home…

Well this mom has reached her limit !

She will learn to appreciate having a nice cozy bed .. now that she is sleeping on the floor .

She will learn to appreciate the clothes and shoes we have bought her now that I have limited her to 3 pants , 3 tops and 3 undergarments , 1 hoddie and 1 jacket and 2 pairs of shoes.

She will learn to appreciate having a washer and dryer …because now she will have to wash those 3day outfits by HAND to re-wear them.

She will appreciate the fact that she had nice clothes to sport the weekends ..because now she will be wearing her same weekday school uniforms during the weekend .. since that’s part of the wardrobe I allowed her to keep!

She will learn to appreciate family time and miss it now that she will have plenty of time alone to think about her horrible actions !

She will appreciate the phone she had and we pay for because now she is disconnected from the world ???? NO SOCIAL MEDIA, NO FRIENDS, NOTHING!

She will learn to watch her mouth and respect her elders at home and at school .. as well as follow directions and correct her behavior as we have taught her to do so.

Teenagers nowadays think that us parents NEED to give them all that extra stuff .. we sure in hell don’t! All we need to do is provide the basic needs, a roof over there head and food,

They take everything for granted and complain about every little dumb crap!”


This mom seriously crossed a line when she sentenced her child to sleeping on the floor, getting rid of all of her clothes, washing her clothes by hand, and disconnecting her from social media and the world.

There is zero explanation of what this child has actually done, and moreover, this mom is bragging about it on social media.

I will say that again-this mom took away her child’s bed, and is BRAGGING ABOUT THAT ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

“Tough love is all I know how to give” is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read.



“And she’s proud of it.”


And former victims of similar atrocities are speaking up.

Warning: Some very disturbing content ahead.

This is literally what my mum used to do to me except I was also locked in my empty bedroom constantly while I wasn’t at school (except to pee). Here’s a hint. This f*cks you up.



My father did sh*t like this to me when my mom was too sick to stop him.

Imagine this: A 12 year old girl being accused of watching porn and consorting with the devil because I liked to read manga when I was home after school. I’m talking little kid manga for girls.

He would call me a slut and lock me out of the house for hours at a time because I went outside wearing shorts (not short shorts). Midwest summers were about 100f.

His idea to “purge me of this evil” was to take the door off my bedroom and bathroom, install a clear shower curtain, randomly run in to “check” to make sure I wasn’t touching myself.

When I started getting older and asking for privacy or ignoring his insults this escalated into him not only taking my things, but breaking them. My toys, the laptop I saved up for and bought myself, my cellphone, the home phone for my bedroom, my tv, my games, my clothes, you name it. I’d started to find recording devices stuffed under my pillows or in my closet.

At one point when my mom was getting surgery he came home and demanded I clean his bedroom and bathroom. When I outright refused he took away my bed and I got to sleep on the floor until my mom had recovered enough to come home. He was a filthy alcoholic and destroyed the area he lived in with vomit and urine as well. I’d rather have live on the street than clean up after that tbh.

But all of this…f*cking destroys a kid. I’ve been in therapy for abuse since I was 18. It had such a huge effect on me and growing up in it has irreparably shaped my feelings about myself and relationships.

Don’t do sh*t like this to your children.



I see that some other commenters here are debating whether or not this punishment constitutes “abuse”. Regardless of whether or not it is abuse, this is not optimal parenting.

It doesn’t take a close reading to see that this woman is exuding a thinly veiled sense of pride in her ability to punish her daughter. This post is attention-seeking behavior on the mother’s part. She’s essentially saying, “Look at me! Look at how TOUGH I am! I’m such a badass! I have the ability to make this little girl SUFFER! I’m so petty and little, I need to take out my frustrations on the people who depend upon me!”

Frankly, I hear echoes of my parents in the words this mother uses. My father play-acted kicking me out of the house when I was 13. Actually, I take back my previous sentiment. This is abuse. If this mother is like my father who play-acted kicking me out of the house, then this is likely a pick from the highlight reel of how this mother demonizes her daughter for being a bad child. If this mother is like my father, then this child is frequently being called lazy, foolish, ungrateful, etc; the adults in her life are defining her as a defective person.

Poor thing! This isn’t love!

And yes, she’ll be posting on /r/raisedbynarcissists, just like I did, and then perhaps on /r/cptsd.



Aside from forcing her to sleep on the floor, she is also bragging about taking away all of her clothes except for three outfits.

Three outfits that she will be forced to wash by hand.

What bothers me most about all this is how excessive it is. If the kid had to endure one of these things at a time, then that would be reasonable, but all of it at once? That’s why it seems abusive to me. Also, what’s the context here? She “chooses to act a fool at school” could mean anything from harming another student to checking her phone in class. As someone else pointed out, her mom seems really proud of how awful she’s being. That adds another layer of punishment/abuse to the situation: humiliation.


The mom also is forcing her daughter’s isolation by forbidding any contact whatsoever with the outside world. Parents acting like teens socializing is a privilege rather than a necessity is also a huge issue—isolating teenagers will lead to serious social issues as an adult.  

She will learn to appreciate family time now that she will be alone”

Like, ok, punish your kid, but atleast interact with them.

They aren’t a pet, they are a human. Also that school uniform on weekends. WTF.


Reminds me of my teenage years. “tough love is all I know how to give”. When you deprive somebody of literally everything that brings them joy, you’re just going to f*ck them up, and they’re going to continue to act out further and further until you let up or disown them or they kill themselves. Insanity is trying the same thing over and over, taking it further and further, and expecting different results. I know some people don’t think this is abuse, but as someone who’s been through a lot of different types of abuse, I would consider this worse than 90% of the other content on this sub.


My mom threatened to do this (not sleeping on the floor, but giving me only one or two outfits to wear). She literally called CPS herself and asked them what would be the bare minimum she could provide me with, without being accused of child abuse. Needless to say, I moved out literally the night of my 18th birthday and haven’t looked back. She still holds firm that she “tried her best” and did nothing wrong.


I cried when I saw this post. I commented, because this happened to me (even had the electricity shut off to teach me a lesson) and suddenly everyone is commenting about how they’ve done it with their kids and they’re all fine and dandy now.

I assure you they’re not. They’re hiding a lot of stuff from you, they’ve emotionally frozen you out because you’re a narcissist, or they’re numb and going along with it because they’re still in the fog.

Breaks my heart.


I’ve always hated “respect your elders” for many reasons. My grandma can scream at me for days and gaslight the ever loving sh*t out of me, but I can’t dare sound mildly upset when I talk to her?

Teach your kids to be respectful to everyone, not just people older than them just because they’re older.


Study after study shows that harsh punishments do not work because your child is more preoccupied with the unfairness of the punishment than the “lesson” they are supposed to learn.

Empathy is the most helpful tool for discipline.  This mother is certainly not showing much in the way of empathy, putting her daughter’s incredibly harsh punishment out on social media for all to gawk at.

This is abuse. It’s not about the fact that she is taking away her daughter’s excess items, but instead about the language and emotion within her reaction to whatever it is her daughter did.

  1. Don’t publicly or otherwise shame children. It creates adults that feel inadequate and guilty about every choice that they make.
  2. Don’t call your children names. Labeling a child as “ungrateful” or “dumb” or whatever isn’t effective, and it doesn’t create adults that understand and use effective communication tools
  3. Children need something fun to do. It’s unhealthy to strip away all of the things that help them relax and enjoy being kids. She should take away screens, etc at her discretion but should allow her child to draw or read and participate in family bonding experiences.
  4. This harsh of punishment breeds isolation and distrust in her parent. They need to have real conversations and come to real solutions together, because this will create a permanent rift in their relationship.
  5. Children always need to feel loved. This makes them feel unloved and will create intimacy issues.

Source: Am the product of a home where there was a lot of harsh physical, psychological, and emotional punishment. Not all of it was technically “illegal”, but that doesn’t change the fact that every time I think of my first stepmother I’m angry, and that my relationship with my father is still strained and uncomfortable. It has taken me years and a lot of patience from my SO and his family to recognize this as abuse, and to start to sort through my personal issues.


Case in point: Do not do this to your children.

You will harm them for life.  And if somebody knows who this mom is….give her a stern talking to.


Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.