AUGUSTA, Ga. – A furious debate has broken out in Georgia and across the country when a mother’s choice of tough-love discipline for locking her son out of her home landed her in jail.
Antonia Folsom, 34, a mother of four, reportedly locked her 13-year-old son out of their house after he repeatedly broke curfew despite multiple warnings to come home on time. The last straw came when the teen came home 15 minutes past his 9 p.m. curfew, according to an incident report cited by the Athens Banner-Herald.
The teen reportedly knocked on the door to be allowed in, but Folsom allegedly told him she was tired of his breaking curfew and made him sleep outside on a concrete patio, reports Augusta’s News Channel WJBF. His 15-year-old brother gave him a blanket and pillow.
When the mother told the 15-year-old not to let the disciplined teen in the house after she left for work, the 13-year-old called the police. She was arrested and booked on a charge of deprivation of a minor, a misdemeanor.
Folsom is now out on bail, and her kids are in the custody of their grandmother.
News of her arrest ignited big support for Folsom from her community, who say she’s a “fantastic mother” to her four kids, according to WRDW. The 13-year-old has been in trouble with the law before, neighbors said, and the mom was simply trying to discipline him, reports WRDW in Augusta.
“When you have one that’s out of control and you’re trying to keep him from getting in trouble with the law or going out and committing a crime or either getting killed, you do everything you can to go out of your way to keep them safe,” Folsom’s sister, Gena Archer, told WRDW.
Meanwhile, Folsom has taken to social media to thank people for their support, saying that while she won’t discuss the details of her case, she “was wrongly charged” with leaving her 13-year-old son outside for breaking his curfew, according to a Go Fund Me page set up to help pay her legal bills.
Folsom’s case raises questions about how far parents can take the “tough love” approach. “When it comes to discipline, a child should never be harmed or put in danger; that’s abuse,” Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens, tells Yahoo Parenting.
However, others feel differently.
“If a child’s behavior is an isolated incident, showing some extra compassion could be in order,” Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, tells Yahoo Parenting. “If a child repeatedly breaks the rules, a little tough love may work better.”