I read a headline this morning about a child being disciplined by her parents for stealing (link)
This isn’t the first time, and her punishment is to have her Christmas cancelled.
I’m in two minds about this, not from the nature of the punishment, but more a question of timing.
You may think I have no right to comment as I don’t have any kids, but I’ve seen my fair share of brats and parents afraid to discipline their offspring, It’s a touchy subject.
Maybe there was peer pressure here and she stole to impress her friends, buying candy to share out amongst them in trying to be popular.
A girl I worked with had a precocious daughter who had to have designer clothes, shoes and fancy hair dos for any special occasion. In fact, the school secretary rang her mother at work one day saying the girl was inconsolable having lost a front tooth and thought it would ruin her modelling career. The child was EIGHT! By all accounts the father had sent a selection of photographs to a child modelling agency which had been acknowledged, nothing else, but already he was spending the girl’s income and grooming her accordingly.
She was not a nice child, wanted everything regardless of cost, and threw tantrums if she didn’t get it.
Another work colleague had a son who apparently suffered from the whole alphabet of disorders, and whenever he misbehaved, they bought him toys or clothes to pacify him. He was excluded from school by attacking a teacher with a chair and biting her. For punishment, they took him away for a holiday. It was no wonder his behaviour only got worse and more out of control.
I believe in disciplining a kid where it hurts them most if they don’t tow the line, and that’s usually their privileges, be it pocket money, computer time, toys, games, outings etc.
I would never deny a child the basics, but little extras, well, there wouldn’t be any.
Perhaps cancelling Christmas is a bit extreme, especially as it’s so far away and the girl is unlikely to feel any remorse at all when the time comes. Who knows, she may already be intending to pinch or destroy her siblings gifts in retaliation.
When I was fostering, a child in the original household stole from a supermarket. The police were involved, but the manager didn’t press charges provided the boy made an apology. My discipline was to send him to his room until his father got home and then he was going to tell him what he’d done.
I got it in the neck from said father when I told him his son had something to tell him but wouldn’t say what. When he found out, they probably heard his anger in the next street.
This same child also took sponsor money for a school event and spent it on sweets. I covered that loss and stopped his pocket money accordingly. His father let me do it.
I’m no angel, and as a child, took the occasional coins out of the penny jar for sweets, but I never stole from my parents purse or wallet.
I ended up actually starting my own penny jar, so I didn’t have to.