Parenting teenagers is very different from parenting babies, and I think we make it up as we go along. This dad decided that the best ‘punishment’ for his daughter was making her sleep outside. Did he go too far?

A 46-year-old dad noticed that his teen daughter, who’d recently turned 16, had started changing. Her attitude was ruder than normal and she was becoming quite judgemental. He shared on reddit, “I noticed recently that she’s been behaving in a bad manner constantly commenting on other people’s looks, belongings, calling them stuff that isn’t cool and just being insensitive.”

He put this change down to a new friendship group, “It’s like she lost a filter or something because usually she’s polite but my wife suspected that our daughter’s sudden misbehavior occurred after she started hanging out with new girls from the school. Basically the mean type and have picked on their behavior.”

They’ve flagged this change in behaviour with their teen, telling her it’s not OK, “I’ve sat with my daughter and had many discussions about how her behavior has been negatively affecting everyone around her.”

The target of this teen’s attitude and snarky remarks is their housemaid, “Our housemaid is the person most affected here and my daughter has chosen her to be her target for hair, clothes, “etiquette” criticism. She has complained about our daughter calling her offensive names like filthy and gross for cleaning certain areas in our house. I took a stand and explicitly told my daughter I’d punish her if she ever said stuff like that to our housemaid again.”

“Last week my daughter had a party to go to, earlier that day she called our housemaid “filthy” so I grounded her by not letting her go to the party. She threw a fit and called our housemaid a liar saying she never called her that. That was the end of it,” the father shared.

The teen daughter couldn’t find her phone, the dad shared, “Days later my daughter came to me saying she couldn’t find her iPhone after looking everywhere. She asked me to call her number and I did. My wife and I were stunned to discover that the iPhone was ringing inside our housemaid’s bag.”

The dad confronted their housemaid, “I had a confrontation with her immediately and she denied and cried saying she never touched the phone nor had any idea how it got there. I noticed my daughter calling her thief repeatedly so I told her to stop and go to her room.”

Trying to understand what happened, the dad checked their surveillance cameras, “I checked the indoor camera before continuing the argument and saw my daughter place her iPhone inside our housemaid’s bag, I was livid. I apologised to the housemaid and gave her the rest of the day off.”

He then confronted his daughter, “I then showed the video to my daughter and she was absolutely speechless. I said what she did was immoral and straight up offensive to tamper with that poor woman’s livelihood over a petty party she couldn’t go to. I told her she was grounded and will have to spend the night in the backyard (she is a germaphobe) but she cried begging me to not make her sleep with the dirt, insects and hot temp.”

He didn’t back down, “I refused to discuss it or I’d make it 2 nights. My wife said I should go easy on her but I said calling people filthy and accusing them of stealing wasn’t ok in fact it was the absolute worst, I then went through with my punishment.”

Do you think the punishment was fair?

  • Agree she should be punished for horrible behaviour but sleeping outside is taking it way too far.


  • I do believe that what your daughter was doing was wrong and needed to be punished but I don’t agree with making her sleep outside unless either of the parents were willing to do it with her. It may turn their daughter against them. I would have taken her phone off of her for a week or taking something else off her that she couldn’t bear being without. I do agree that it’s to do with her new friends but if she doesn’t like your housemaid then let her know that they won’t be doing anything more for her and your daughter has to do all of the things for herself. Try that for a week and it might make her realise just what gets done for her by this person that she doesn’t like. I wish you all the luck in the world getting your previously lovable daughter back


  • Wow that was a really terrible thing for the daughter to do, but i dont think making her sleep outside is going to help? THis would have made the teen angrier at the parents and may cause her to lash out more. Maybe they need to find a new aproach


  • The best people to comment on this are those that know all the details – ie the people involved. It sounds like a very difficult situation and easy for keyboard warriors to judge and make unhelpful comments.
    As a few of us here have said, other parenting styles and commenting on them, is a touchy subject. It sounds really difficult. There are things that may have had more direct impact on her behaviour than forcing her to sleep outside. And consequences of actions def need to be real.
    Would I do it myself? Probably not, for a few reasons that resonate with me – safety, getting eaten alive by mozzies, for starters.
    But I would hope I would find a suitable consequence that would impact enough for her to realise that vile behaviour is unacceptable and will result in removal of privileges and some additional tasks…. I’d also get her to do the cleaning for a week and apologise…


  • Wow, what a nasty piece of work the daughter is becoming. Personally, if my parents had punished me this way, I would have run away somewhere. Doubt it had much impact


  • Yikes! It is touchy to comment on another’s choice of parenting, but something needed to happen. I dont know about sleeping outside. She needs a wake up call though for sure


  • Not my style but each to
    Their own


  • I think if she was safe, then go ahead. Might be wake up call she needs


  • other peoples parenting is a really touchy thing to comment on.


  • It’s hard to judge another parents parenting when you don’t know them. He might have did what he felt was best for their situation and hopefully she is a better person after reflecting on her actions


  • Interesting punishment. I would have taken the phone away and not allowed her to go to the party. I wonder whether it worked and stopped her behaviour


  • I don’t agree with making her sleep outside. I do think her behaviour is completely unacceptable. I would have taken her phone away from her for a start.


  • Wow! That’s some really crappy and dishonest behaviour. I’m not sure if having her sleep outside was okay, perhaps removing her iphone and grounding her. And definitely have her apologise to the housemaid. That’s just terrible behaviour.


  • Instead of punishing your teenager I would look how to help your teenager;
    Understand the teenage brain
    Think about the emotional needs underlying the behaviour
    Model the behaviour you want to see (you want to see compassion ? show compassion)
    Understand that your teenager is developing independence (severe disrespect towards parents should never be tolerated, but it’s important to understand that some level of disrespect is part of the process of growing up and developing independence)
    Ignore mild forms of disrespect
    Set clear and consistent boundaries and talk with your teenager about these before you set them.
    If you set consequences, follow through on them (while it’s a good idea to acknowledge your teenager’s good behaviour, sometimes you may have to set consequences for their bad behaviour; THESE 2 NEED TO BE IN BALANCE).
    Don’t make it personal, focus on the behaviour not the person.
    Avoid unnecessary arguments (focus on the behaviour and don’t get into a power struggle, remember that as an adult you’re better able to control your emotions than your teenager).
    Avoid using “you are” and “you should” statements (use statements that focus specifically on the behaviour, such as: “when you ignore my requests/shout at me, I feel disrespected.”)
    Most of all; CONNECT with your teenager, take the time to hang out with them, listen to their stories, laugh at their silly jokes, reach out when they struggle, give them that hug, correct them when needed, have the boundaries clear and be consistent

    • I agree – being able to connect is so important.


  • Yes he did the right thing. It was warm weather. She is acting like a spoilt brat. If she continues then take her out of the school, give her one warning first.
    She has to remember her manners and be kind to people, particularly the maid and be made to apologise to the maid.
    If it happens again, take away her phone and her computer for a set period.
    Bad behaviour like this = consequences for her actions. Or she will grow up very very badly.


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