Sunday, May 6, 2012

When a five year old steals...

Well, it's happened. One of our boys have stolen something. Our 5 year old decided that it was okay to take a piece of candy from the store tonight. 

We found out rather quickly, within about 5 minutes of him being home. I quickly told my husband to take him back to the store and make him apologize and pay for the candy. I wanted to be sure the punishment quickly followed the crime.

My husband agreed and took our son back to the grocery store.

They came back about 10 minutes later. Our son was obviously upset. Good, I thought... I hope it sinks in! Then my husband started telling me what had happened at the store.

The lady who our son apologized to was nice enough... but explained that even though he's only 5 she could still call the cops. He was scared, probably embarrassed as well. 

Well, there were several customers in the store. My husband told me that the lady directly behind him (probably about mid 20-30's) was "disgusted" that he would publicly embarrass our son by having him return to the store to apologize and pay. 

I was pretty shocked to hear this! 

Well, there were a few older people there as well, and they were glad that my husband brought our son to the store. One elderly man actually asked my husband if he needed to borrow his belt. That's a little extreme, but it is amazing how differently generations parent their children. 

Now, back to the shocking part... "disgusted" because we made our child do the right thing? It makes me wish that I had been there so I could ask her what she thought was an appropriate punishment. It also makes me wonder if we as parents in this generation are going "too soft" on our kids. Is a little humiliation not okay when disciplining your child? 

I remember when I was a young girl, I was 5 I believe, I stole a rubber snake from the grocery store. My mother made me take it back and apologize. I was scared to death, and I felt really bad...but I also never stole again. I learned my lesson... and I definitely did not want to feel like that again!

Do you think making your child be embarrassed in this situation is inappropriate? What punishment would you have chose if it was your 5 year old child?

This Mama Loves Her Bargains also had a tough time with a child's behavior... check out her post too!

5 fantastic comments:

Whitney J. said...

We would have done the same thing! How else will they learn?

Meighan Taylor said...

We are (as a society) definitely going too soft on our children. And BTW, I would have done the same thing. The humiliation that your son experienced was a direct consequence of his action. It wasn't humiliation that YOU were imparting (IE by saying something like: "You are a terrible child! I'm embarrassed to call you my son!" etc), it was humiliation he was FEELING for his misbehavior, and that is healthy. It is only natural in life that we are going to feel embarrassed or ashamed of ourselves now and then. You taught him an important lesson that when we do something we shouldn't, we will sometimes experience negative emotions afterward. Kudos to you. When you are an effective parent with healthy consequences for your children you will sometimes feel the scorn of those around you who are maybe not so sure of their parenting (or maybe not even really good parents at all). It's only natural for those parents to try to harsh you for your choices-don't let it get to you!

brett said...

i'd have done the same. we need to stop coddling kids and not letting them learn lessons- it's not doing ANYONE any favors. if we don't want our kids to suck as adults we need them to not suck as kids. and that means lessons. consequences. punishments.

Anonymous said...

My two year old daughter stole a hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works. Luckily we were still in the mall when I noticed and yes I marched her right back to the store to return it and apologize. I believe it is the only appropriate response in this situation! You absolutely did the right thing! Kudos to you and your husband for teaching your children that negative actions have negative consequences!

Unknown said...

Taking a child back to the store and apologize/give the item back is the only logical thing I see to do. I don't get why that is disgusting. =/ If you don't take them back, they will just continue stealing, and that doesn't teach them good morals... Not to mention it can get the parents in big trouble!

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