Parenting is a minefield of mistakes and mishaps. No one parent is perfect all of the time.
So it is normal to wonder about certain actions taken involving discipline.
Sometimes kids need a strong wake up call and punishment—othing violent or abusive of course.
But the line of sending a clear message between right and wrong can often become blurred.
Case in point…
Redditor Geer31 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for how I punished my son after he insulted a homeless person?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My 15-year-old son and I were in the city yesterday to do some Christmas shopping, when we came across a homeless man who was sitting on the sidewalk.”
“As we walked past him, my son said ‘lazy pig, enjoy your nights in the cold.'”
“While he has some anger issues, he has never done anything like that before, so I was very embarrassed and angry and made him apologize to the man.”
“When we came home he was still laughing about it, so I threw his mattress and his blanket out on the back porch and told him, that if he thinks having to sleep on the streets is so funny, he can do it himself.”
“I locked him out for the night, without letting him have dinner.”
“He was very quiet when I let him back in this morning, and just went to take a hot shower.”
“My wife thinks that I took it way too far, but I feel like I absolutely did the right thing and taught him a good lesson.”
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.
It’s a tricky situation.
Let’s hear some thoughts…
“Unless you live where your son could be eaten by wildlife, I’d say you were generous in sending out the mattress too.”
“NTA. Experience is the best teacher.” ~ TeepShow76
“NTA but I’d say the weather should be a considerable factor as well. Frozen kids are a bit much for teaching lessons.” ~ Kixel11
“I probably would have made him spend every day off over Christmas break spending an hour at a time sitting with homeless people asking about their life and doing anything he can to help them.”
“Maybe volunteer at a shelter or spend Christmas Day at a soup kitchen.”
“I think your heart was in the right place OP but your execution was poor.” ~ nolan358
“He laughed about the man even after coming back????”
“Your son is extremely cruel. I’d talk to him about where he learned this behavior.”
“As for the punishment, NTA. He got a taste of his own medicine.” ~ witchlys
“Yes! This is a learned opinion. Probably from friends at school.”
“I have a buddy whose son started hanging out with really rich kids doing a niche club sport at high school.”
“Kid ended up changing dramatically. He adopted a lot of entitled, selfish attitudes.”
“He is still a hardworking kid, but very judgmental.” ~ TimLikesPi
“You know normally I’m extremely against forms of punishment such as this, but in this case his punishment was equal to his offence, and did not place him in any immediate danger.”
“It’s textbook/parenting book type discipline and I think you handled the situation appropriately.”
“To add, I think you and your wife need to sit down with him and have a discussion about where he’s sourcing these views so you can put a stop to it.”
“I know it might seem like an isolated incident but children tend to go down a rabbit hole when exposed to extremist views such as this (whether it be from friends, internet, etc).”
“So I’d highly suggest speaking with a therapist so this does not progress. NTA.”
“Edit: If a situation like this were to occur again, I’d even recommend having him volunteer at a homeless shelter.” ~ earlgreytea333
“NTA. He’s 15, so he’s prob getting this outlook from somewhere.”
“Maybe force him to work with street crews who help homeless people? Get some counseling for him too bc that’s a very very disturbing reaction.” ~ Pleed4U
“NTA : I feel like this was a moment where you took initiative to teach your child when they were being an a**hole, and it’s not like you threw him out on the streets, just had him sleep on the back porch.”
“I see no way you could be an a**hole here, he did a horrible thing and you punished accordingly.” ~ AlphaEv
“NTA – and make him start doing community service, too.”
“Other people are gonna tell you that you’re in the wrong, but honestly, that kid needs a reality check.” ~ HobbitQueen8
“My first inclination is to say NTA.”
“This sounds like something my dad would have done and it definitely would have set me straight.”
“On the other hand, you should consider also talking to your son about why he did what he did in the first place.”
“Punishment alone isn’t enough. You need to get to the root cause of his behaviour and make sure he understands why what he did was wrong.”
“Now, he just know knows not to behave that way in front of you to avoid punishment.” ~ xhouliganx
“I would be very concerned if my child displayed this level of callousness.”
“I would urge you to find out where this utter lack of compassion comes from and get him some help.”
“I think you are NTA because with a mattress and a duvet he wouldn’t have been all that cold on the back porch.”
“I really hope he learned something, but I would make sure he really has. Good luck.” ~ lilEve77
“NTA – I would have done the very same.”
“I’d also be having a serious conversation with the kid about where his views are coming from.”
“Of course it wasn’t cold enough to kill him last night, you were trying to teach a lesson, not harm him.”
“I mean, what does a 15 year old have over a homeless guy, anyway?”
“If you would have kicked him out of your home permanently (not that you would do that), he’d be sitting right next to that guy wondering where his next meal was coming from.”
“He has a family who cares. That’s what he has.” ~ jenny_tallia
“NTA hopefully he learned not to insult people down on their luck.” ~ Mkd7998
According to many Redditors it seems like OP should feel confident in their decision.
Maybe OP and their wife should read this thread together and come up with some ideas.
Let’s hope this family can find a solution where everyone learns something.
And let’s send our warmest thoughts and good vibes to that homeless man and everyone unhoused and suffering.