I just had to do a very hard thing. I was at a store buying a birthday present for some kid's party when I discovered my eldest playing with a paper magic wand. I asked her where she got it and she said she got it from a bag. I was bewildered and asked if the bag belonged to her. She said no. I told her that if the bag didn't belong to her, then the wand didn't belong to her, and that she had stolen it and she needed to put it back.
I thought the matter had ended, but we got home and I saw she still had it.
I was livid.
I know it was just a little piece of paper, but I told her that it didn't belong to her and that it was stealing.
So back we go to the store so she can return it and speak to the manager. She was crying so hard and begging me to just let her put it back and not to tell the manager. I've never wanted to give in so badly in all my life. I'm kind of a sucker where my kids are concerned. Peer pressure is probably what keeps me being anything resembling a decent parent.
She asked me what they would do, and I told her I wasn't sure. She asked if they would call the police. I told her they might. But it was her first offense, so they might let her off with a warning. She cried harder.
She was pretty much cried out by the time we got back to the store, just hicupping a little. I told her I would speak to the manager first.
The manager was probably in his early 20s with long, flowing brown hair. I told him the situation and how she had taken it even after I told her it was stealing. He went over to speak to her, and was much nicer than he probably should have been.
I'll say one thing for Gwennie. She has a will of iron. She'll cry in front of me, but she didn't cry in front of him. I tried to shame her a little, but she held on. We all went to put it back where it belonged and she said she was sorry. Her voice broke a little, but no tears.
The manager thanked her (I wish he hadn't) and I thanked him, and we left. I told Gwennie she may not be so lucky next time.
I feel a little drained by it. She doesn't learn lessons easily and it is very seldom she learns them from me, no matter how many discussions we have or punishments I give. I hate that life is going to end up teaching her the hard way, but that is the path she is choosing.
Just like her mother.