Dad Locks Daughter in Cellar for Misbehavior until School Principal Finds out — Story of the Day

Emily had started acting out at home and school after her mother’s passing. Clueless about how to deal with her, her father responded with harsh discipline. Luckily, after the intervention of Emily’s school principal, they both learned there are far better ways to communicate and deal with emotions.

Mr. Johnson stood over his deceased beloved wife’s grave with tears in his eyes and flowers in his hands. He slowly bent to one knee, carefully placing the flowers on the tombstone.


“Oh, my love. How I wish you were still here with me today,” Mr. John said with a deep, trembling sigh. This was the first time he’d visited his wife’s grave in a long time. While they say time heals all wounds, Mr. Johnson couldn’t understand why every visit seemed harder than the last.

“Emily’s growing up so fast, and she’s so beautiful, my love. But she’s stubborn. I’m not sure if she got that from you or me,” Mr. Johnson said with a soft chuckle, wiping the tears from his face.

“But, it’s so difficult. I don’t know if I can raise her without you. You always knew what to do. Her behavior has been out of control lately. I don’t know what to do…” Mr. Johnson paused, trying to find the strength to continue.

“But don’t worry, darling. I’ll do right by you. I’ll raise our baby into a dignified woman, just like I promised… Goodbye, Angela…my love,” Mr. Johnson concluded, kissing his hand and then gently touching the portion of the tombstone with his wife’s name engraved on it.

“Stay positive. Better days are on their way.”
Mr. Johnson had been a widower for some years now. The death of his wife hadn’t gotten easier on both him or his teenage daughter, Emily. He knew things would not be easy, but he could have never predicted just how hard it would be to raise a mourning teenager alone.

Mr. Johnson was raised in a strict household growing up. His parents were heavy disciplinarians, and he strongly believed this was why he turned out alright as an adult.

While Mr. Johnson and his wife had tried to be more easygoing with Emily, Mr. Johnson struggled to keep the same parenting principles as a single parent. Emily was simply irresponsive to his guidance. She became more difficult to manage after her mother’s passing, and Mr. Johnson soon felt he was better off taking the same route as his own parents.

With time, Emily became more uncontrollable and her behavior more erratic. She started missing classes, didn’t do homework, listened to rock music at full blast in her bedroom, and played games till the morning. She would even uncharacteristically yell at her father.

Feeling like his back was against the wall, Mr. Johnson one day decided to look through Emily’s room for clues of her distress while she was at school. As he looked around the room, he came across a picture of him, Emily, and his late wife on her desk.

A tear ran down his cheek as he thought of a time when things were easier and felt more wholesome. Next to this picture, he noticed something that shattered his heart.

Mr. Johnson saw broken crayons scattered on the desk. These weren’t just any crayons. They were his late wife’s last gift to her daughter. Each one of them had a special inspirational quote on them. He picked up one of the only remaining crayons and read the inspirational quote to himself; “Stay positive. Better days are on their way.”

Stay positive? My wife is gone, and my daughter seems to have completely lost her mind! Everything has burnt to ashes! How am I expected to stay positive? Mr. Johnson thought, suddenly overwhelmed by anger.

He abruptly threw the crayon against the wall and fisted the table, the photo falling to the floor and the frame shattering. He gave it a brief glance, consumed by sorrow and vexation. He then stormed out in anger, the photo of his once-happy family behind him in shattered, fragmented pieces.

That evening Mr. Johnson didn’t waste time bringing up the crayons. The moment Emily returned from school, he asked her about it.

“Emily, I found the crayons that your mother left you,” Mr. Johnson said.

“You went through my stuff? You have no right to do that!” Emily yelled.

“I have no right? This is my house. I have every right to do as I please. You have no right to do that to the last gift your deceased mother gave you,” Mr. Johnson retorted.

“Dead! She’s dead! Using words like deceased or late doesn’t make her any less gone than she is!” Emily cried.

“You watch your mouth, young lady!” Mr. Johnson yelled in frustration. “You know what? I’ve had enough of you and your little temper tantrums!” Mr. Johnson added as he ripped the internet router from the wall. “No more internet for you! Let’s see how you like that,” Mr. Johnson said, feeling proud of himself.

“I hate this place! I hate you!” Emily screamed, rushing off to her bedroom.

“You come back here!” Mr. Johnson yelled just as Emily slammed her bedroom door behind her. Then, with a heavy sigh, he slowly sat down on the couch, defeated.

The next day, Emily returned home from school with a bandaged and bloody hand. Her father, Mr. Johnson, was shocked to see her injury and asked what had happened. Emily simply threw her backpack on the floor in the hallway and ran up to her room in tears.

“How could you lock your daughter in the basement! That’s appalling!”

Mr. Johnson picked up Emily’s backpack and found her school diary inside. He opened it up to find a note from her teacher demanding payment for a broken window that Emily had broken in school. This was the final straw for Mr. Johnson. He stormed up to her room in a huff and barged the door open.

“Enough! I’m done!” he exclaimed. “You’d better think very carefully about your behavior. Who do you think is going to pay for this window, Emily? You won’t walk out of there until you beg me for forgiveness,” he said, locking Emily in her room. “I’ll never beg you for forgiveness!” Emily yelled angrily from the other side of the door before letting out a loud, frustrated yelp.


Mr. Johnson walked away, feeling helpless and unsure of what to do. He loved Emily dearly but couldn’t continue to let her behavior go unchecked. As he headed to the kitchen, he saw a rope made of sheets tied together topple down outside the kitchen window – Emily was making an escape for it.

The kitchen window was directly below Emily’s room, so Mr. Johnson had no doubt she was trying to run away. Watching from the kitchen, he waited until Emily started to descend and quietly got out. By the time she had descended, she had landed right into his arms.

“Let go of me!” Emily screamed as Mr. Johnson angrily carried her to the cellar. “Today, I’ll teach you a lesson you’ll never forget!” Mr. Johnson said, locking Emily in the cellar. “Use this time to reflect on your behavior!”

Later that day, the school principal, Mrs. Wilson, called Mr. Johnson to discuss Emily’s behavior. Mr. Johnson sat opposite the gracefully stern Mrs. Wilson in her office, his blood still boiling from the incident earlier.

“Greetings, Mr. Johnson. Sorry to call you at such short notice. But, I felt it urgent that we discuss Emily’s recent behavior. Her attitude and behavior have changed drastically recently. Are you aware that she punched and broke a window in frustration?” Mrs. Wilson asked.

At that moment, Mr. Johnson had a brief flashback of him punching the table and the broken photo frame of their family.

“Mr. Johnson? Mr. Johnson?” Mrs. Wilson repeated with concern as Mr. Johnson stared blankly into space.

“Uhm… Yes, yes.” Mr. Johnson said, coming back to his senses. “I saw the note in her diary.”

“Good. I’m really worried about her. I strongly believe she is on a destructive path,” Mrs. Wilson told him.

“Well, I don’t think we’ll have to worry much about her anymore. She received her due punishment for breaking that window,” Mr. Johnson said with a little smugness, feeling self-assured.

“Due punishment?” Mrs. Wilson asked, concerned as she leaned in closer with curiosity.

“Yes. I’ve had enough of her outbursts. I locked her in the cellar as punishment. She’ll have more than enough time to think about her actions in there,” Mr. Johnson said.

“You what?” Mrs. Wilson said in shock. She instantly stood up, saying, “Are you insane, Mr. Johnson? We’re going there right now!” Mrs. Wilson commanded, storming out without asking for Mr. Johnson’s confirmation.

Mr. Johnson suddenly felt a rush of guilt overwhelm him. Oh, no! What have I done? he thought, rushing after Mrs. Wilson.

“How could you lock your daughter in the basement! That’s appalling!” Mrs. Wilson said to Mr. Johnson as they drove to his house.

“I’m sorry… It’s… It’s just been so difficult since my wife’s passing,” Mr. Johnson said, weeping. “I don’t know how to handle her anymore. I can barely talk to her without us fighting.”

“But you understand you went too far, right? You have to understand that!” she insisted.

“I know! I just…I didn’t have any clue how to look after a mourning teen. I’ve tried my best to provide her with everything she needs, but she still won’t listen to me and won’t tell me what’s going on with her.”

They finally arrived at the house and immediately rushed to the cellar. When they opened the basement, they saw Emily lying on the floor. Mr. Johnson’s heart instantly sank to his stomach at the horrific sight of his daughter helplessly lying there.

“Oh heavens! What have I done?!” Mr. Johnson exclaimed in horror. “Call the police! Please!” Mr. Johnson said, rushing to his daughter’s side.

“Calm down! Relax. Don’t worry. This is the oldest trick in the book. I used to do it myself at her age,” Mrs. Wilson said with a smirk.

She approached the little girl and gently ran her long, well-manicured fingernail along the inside of her palm. Suddenly, Emily yelped out from the tickling, drawing her hand away. Emily sat up, annoyed her deception was discovered.

“Emily? Why would you scare me like that?” Mr. Johnson asked, still trembling.

“Why would you lock your daughter in a cellar?” Emily snapped back.

“Calm down. The both of you! Emily was trying to get your attention and get a reaction out of you. And your father…well, your father just ran out of ideas and decided to yield to his more primitive means of response,” Mrs. Wilson said.


Holding back her tears, Emily suddenly shot up and ran into her room. Mr. Johnson was about to run after her before Mrs. Wilson held him back.

“Please, Mr. Johnson. Let me have a word with her. Alone,” Mrs. Wilson said with a reassuring look as to say, “I’ve got this.” Mr. Johnson reluctantly nodded in agreement.

Mrs. Wilson entered Emily’s room to find her crying on her bed. She noted the crayons still lying there in pieces. She picked up one of the crayons and sat next to her on the bed.

“Hmm… These look nice. Not your average crayons. May I ask what happened to them?” Mrs. Wilson said calmly.

“I broke them,” Emily murmured. “My mom gave them to me before…before she died,” Emily said, sitting up.

“Why did you break them? Surely they meant a lot to you,” Mrs. Wilson asked.

“I was angry. I guess… I guess I didn’t know how to express my anger. Or whatever it is I’m feeling,” Emily said softly.

“Is that why you’ve also been acting out in school?” Mrs. Wilson asked. Emily simply nodded. Mrs. Wilson looked around her room and saw the picture of Emily’s family with the broken frame. She dusted off the small pieces of glass and handed it to her.

“I think I may have a way you can turn your anger and pain into something beautiful. Would you like that?”
“Keep this close, Emily. I know things look a little complicated with your family, but your dad loves you. Sometimes it may seem like adults should have it all figured out. But they don’t. We all figure it out and learn as we go. I think your mother would have wanted you too to look after each other,” Mrs. Wilson said. Emily took the picture and looked at it longingly.

“But…” Emily started, then stopped reluctantly.

“But what?” Mrs. Wilson asked.

“Nothing. Never mind,” Emily said.

“C’mon, Emily. You can trust me. It’s just you and me. Okay?” Mrs. Wilson said, gently resting her hand on the girl’s shoulder comfortingly.

“Well…there are these kids that have been picking on me at school. It’s just made everything worse!” Emily confessed.

“Picking on you?” Mrs. Wilson asked.

“They made fun of me on Mother’s Day because I was alone. They always pick on me. But that day…I don’t know. It was just too much for me. And they aren’t wrong. I don’t have a mother anymore,” Emily said sadly.

“That’s nonsense. You have a beautiful mother,” Mrs. Wilson said, pointing to the photo. “And wherever she is, she’s looking down on you with a love that surpasses any insults or temporary pain,” Mrs. Wilson said, hugging Emily.

Mrs. Wilson then looked around at the various beautiful drawings on Emily’s wall. “Did you draw these?” she asked Emily.

“Yes, ma’am. My mother was an artist. She taught me how to draw. That’s why she bought me the crayons,” Emily said, a little calmer.

“Wow! These are amazing, Emily!” Mrs. Wilson said, thinking to herself. “I think I may have a way you can turn your anger and pain into something beautiful. Would you like that?” Mrs. Wilson asked with a warm smile, gently wiping away Emily’s tears from her red face. Emily nodded, smiling back.

“Alright. Good. Come with me to my house. I want to show you something,” Mrs. Wilson said.

Mrs. Wilson took Emily to her house and showed the girl a photo album of her school days. Emily was shocked to see a photo of a younger Mrs. Wilson as a small, thin, fragile little girl.

“That was you?” Emily said, tremendously shocked.

“Yep,” Mrs. Wilson said with a light chuckle.

“No! That’s impossible. I mean, look at you now!” Emily said in awe.

“Well, to make matters worse…I used to get bullied, just like you. But I never let it stop me,” Mrs. Wilson exclaimed.

“But…how did you get them to stop? How did you become like this?” Emily said, gesturing towards the elegant Mrs. Wilson and her beautiful house.

“You see, the main way to handle bullies is not to be silent about their behavior, but to and expose them. And you have to understand your value. Nobody should get to treat you just anyhow. Not a student. Not your father. Nobody!” Mrs. Wilson explained.

Mrs. Wilson gave Emily a new box of crayons with the same inspirational quotes. “Wow! Thank you! These look just like the ones I had,” Emily said, pulling out one of the crayons and reading the quote, saying, “Stay positive. Better days are on their way.” Emily was perplexed.

“That’s weird! I had one just like this. These are the same crayons! How did you get them?” a shocked Emily asked.

“I guess your mother and I had similar tastes. I draw and paint too. But just as a hobby,” Mrs. Wilson explained.

“Wow! Do you think you could teach me? Since my mother passed, I haven’t had any lessons,” Emily said.

“Sure. We could do classes. How about I give you your first assignment? Draw something that reflects your feelings. You may have better luck expressing it through your art if you can’t express it in words. What do you say? Let’s turn that pain into beauty!” Mrs. Wilson said cheerfully.

“Okay! Thank you, Mrs. Wilson!” Emily said, giving her principal a tight, warm hug.

Mrs. Wilson met with Mr. Johnson again and recommended they both go for therapy to help them learn to cope with their emotions and express themselves in a healthy way.

Mr. Johnson was initially resistant, but he realized that he needed to do something to help his daughter. He finally agreed to take Emily to counsel and support her through the process.

After the therapy, Mr. Johnson and his daughter learned to talk to each other and become close. Emily even started taking martial arts classes, and the bullies soon became too afraid to pick on her.

Emily continued drawing along with the martial arts lessons to help her express herself.

Some time passed, and the next Mother’s Day finally came. Mrs. Wilson organized a mother’s day event at school where students could show what their mothers taught them. Mrs. Wilson offered Emily an opportunity to make an exhibition of some of her drawings. Emily’s classmates were impressed by her artwork.

Her old bullies suddenly approached her during her exhibition, hoping to get one last laugh out of Emily’s pain.

“Who taught you that, a ghost? Get out of here! You don’t have a mother, Emily!” the bullies said with mocking sniggers.

“Today, I’m Emily’s mother!” Mrs. Wilson said, suddenly approaching them from behind. “Now, don’t you have anything better to do?” she concluded.

“Uhm…sorry, ma’am,” the two said, rushing off with their tails between their legs.

At the end of the event, Mrs. Wilson called the two bullies’ parents to her office. They were immediately punished and made to apologize to Emily in front of the entire class.

Emily grew to become more confident. Her relationship with her father grew into something truly beautiful. They talked a whole lot more and became more than just father and daughter. They became friends.

Once their therapy was done, Emily and her father, with the help of Mrs. Wilson, started a support group at school to help with bullying. They taught other kids and their parents new coping skills and strategies to deal with the bullying.

Mrs. Wilson allowed Emily to head the group. After becoming the head of the community, Emily started to feel more driven and happier. She made new friends at school, too.

Mr. Johnson even visited his late wife’s grave weekly with his daughter, assuring her that they were looking after each other as she would have hoped.

What can we learn from this story?

Be kind to everyone. You have no idea what someone is going through. Nobody knew the many hardships Emily was actually going through. She was receiving harassment from her bullies at school and her father at home. However, the kindness of Mrs. Wilson helped change her life.
Talk to your children sincerely and try to learn the real reason for their misbehavior before punishing them. If Mr. Johnson had tried a kinder, more considerate approach with his daughter, he may have been able to help her sooner and brought peace to their home.
It’s okay to get help. Emily and her father clearly couldn’t sort things out on their own. But with the assistance of Mrs. Wilson and some therapy, they were able to mend their relationship.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a son who finds out his dad has a second family and barges into his office.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to


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