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“My FIL Locked My 5-year-old Outside as Punishment for Taking a Toy from Her Brother!”

TW: Child abuse

A distraught and highly anxious mother has taken to the internet to ask if she overreacted to a situation that happened when she was visiting her in-laws home with her husband and young family. Upon returning from a visit to the bathroom she discovered that her father-in-law had locked her 5-year-old daughter outside in the cold as punishment. The small child was understandably very upset, not to mention freezing, when her mother found out what had happened and brought her back inside. After voicing her displeasure to her in-laws she was told to take her children and leave, and now her husband isn’t speaking to her!

I was in the bathroom I walked out and noticed my daughter was outside crying. She’s 5 years old. Apparently my father-in-law set her on their porch swing and locked the door as punishment for taking a toy from my son and I lost my mind. I started yelling at them and telling them it’s cold outside [8°C) and they could’ve put her in time out instead of doing that to her, and it’s mental abuse. He got pissed and told us all to leave, and now my husband isn’t talking to me. I apologised to my in-laws for overreacting, but I just feel like they really went about this the wrong way. Edit: clarification. I have 1 daughter and 2 sons. She took a toy from my son and that’s what started all of this.

Sadly, quite a number of commenters recalled going through a similar punishment as a small child, and how terrifying it was. So much so, that they can still vividly remember how they felt all these years later.

My mother locked me on a porch when I was 5 or so. I still remember screaming and crying with fear. I’m now 47. NTA. This was awful. Worst part, I never remembered why I was out there. I was so young, I couldn’t understand it. All I remember is how terrified I felt. (moinoisey)

I’m 65 and still remember my uncle locking me out of the house 60 years ago. It was just a few minutes. I was safe in the side yard behind a gate. And still to this day it I remember it. It’s not a small thing. (EntertainmentNo6170)

Other commenters reassured the mother than despite her self-doubt, she had not overreacted to the situation at all.

Locking a 5-year-old out is too much, especially over a toy. It’s okay to stand up for your daughter. (Good_Put_5850)


I was a kid who got locked out. It is horribly traumatic.

There is zero excuse for what he did. I would go no contact. (SparrowLikeBird)

Others were concerned that the child’s father had also allowed it to happen.

That’s child abuse and is a crime. Your husband needs to get with the program that his father just abused his daughter and put her in harms way where she could have been kidnapped, wandered away and gotten lost and or hurt, she could have gotten hypothermia and gotten sick. If he can’t see what his father did was wrong I sure as heck wouldn’t trust him with your daughter again. (My ChoiceNotYours)

When you’ve grown up in abusive household you tend to not realise it’s not normal until you get a wider range of experiences. Ask him to think about how he was raised and how he’d like to do better for his kids. No blame just have a think about it. NTA (imsooldnow)

The mum later replied and confirmed that after her husband had had time to reflect on the situation at home, he could see that how his father had punished their child was not acceptable, and was abusive, and vowed to do better in future by his family.

What do you think? What would you do if someone did this to your child?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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