Indianapolis Temple

Indianapolis Temple

Honesty Lesson

1/21/2013 06:45:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
We had our first run-in with stealing recently when Lara snuck 2 bottles of nail polish out of one store and a package of candy out of another on a special shopping trip with Mommy.  It forced me to think on the spot of how to use the incident as a teaching moment rather than a horrible memory she would have later.  I guess if I was more proactive I would have thought how I would handle it way before hand.  Ah well, I think I did a pretty good job.

First, I was very calm.  I was pretty proud that I didn't fly right off the handle and start yelling even though I was looking forward to getting home.  Knowing that age 8 is the age of accountability and children really don't "lie" before then helped me to realize that her brain was going through a change and now was the perfect time to help shape it into a responsible individual.
I calmly told her that it was wrong to take things that don't belong to us or that we didn't pay for and that we would be returning to the stores to a) pay for the items, which she could with her own money or b) return the items to the store.  She flipped out at this, crying and carrying on like the world was going to end.  It took me a while to realize the real reason behind this tantrum.  It wasn't because she wanted to keep the stuff.  It was because she is an introvert and was mightily embarrassed at the prospect of actually walking back into the store and admitting what she did.  I assured her that she wouldn't have to speak a word and that I would be with her every step of the way.  Brings me to the second lesson I learned.

Second, I didn't force her to say sorry.  It wasn't the right time.  I knew she was sorry and I knew the people at the stores would know that also just by looking at her.  I knew that if I forced her to say sorry than it would do more damage than good.  She calmed down after a while.

Third, I turned around the first time I had a chance and went back to the stores.  This added more than 30 minutes to our shopping trip was a late evening trip.  I knew that it needed to happen right away and not the next day.  We made it in to the first store where she had to pay for the candy since she had opened the package and ate some (which is how I found out that she had taken it in the first place).  She decided to return the bottles of nail polish rather than pay.  That was fine.  We just set the bottle on the counter, I explained things to the attendant, and we left before the tears came back.

Fourth, she paid for the candy out of her own money.  She was very sad about this since she is "saving" for an iPad.  I felt like she needed to have that physical exchange in order to cement things in her brain.  I also figured that since I wasn't making her say sorry, this was a good switch.

Fifth, I talked with Lara about the repentance process and we said a little prayer in the van to ask for forgiveness.  That really helped her calm down.

Sixth, I didn't talk about what happened with Reed in front of Lara.  I waited until she had gone to bed.  It wasn't necessary to embarrass her further.  Plus she had fallen asleep on the drive home probably exhausted by the crying.  Talking to her in such a tired state wouldn't have done any good.

I am grateful for the lessons I learned during this and I know that it won't be the last time I need to teach it.  Not with Lara though.  Being an introvert she will probably internalize this incident and never steal again.  Extroverts on the other hand...  Ah, looking forward to it. :)



Abbey said...

well done, val! great parenting. :)

The Story of us said...

You did an awesome job! This will help me when I get to that age:-)