121 answers

Would YOU Have Punished Your Child for Doing This?

Last night we went to dinner at a pizza joint with a bunch of friends and their kids. There were arcade games so my son asked if he could have some quarters. I told him yes, I would need to get change. My purse was on my chair at the table.

Right as I’m about to do that one of the Moms asked me a question and we started to talk.

Next thing I know another Mom asks me if I knew my son had my wallet and was putting money in the change machine. I looked over and sure enough my 5 y/o is reaching up to put money in the machine.

I hurried over hoping he isn’t actually putting a $20.00 dollar bill in the machine. In his hand was my wallet and it was a $1.00 bill. I asked him to hand it over and the dollar bill, which he did, and told him to never ever take my wallet out of my purse again without permission. He said "o.k., I'm sorry Mommy". Now the other 2 moms came walking over as I’m asking my son WHY he did that and he said because he didn’t want to interrupt me while I was talking.

Again I repeated that he can’t do that and why, then I proceeded to get him some quarters as I had promised. Then I tell him we will talk more about this at home. I wasn't mad in the least (and secretly found it comical). Wow it seems everyday he discovers something new that I have to lecture and teach him about!! LOL!

One of the moms asked me quizzically “your son has never done that before?” I laughed and told her No, never! I thanked her for telling me and then she says “He should still be punished for it. I wouldn’t have given my child the quarters after a stunt like that!” I just said that it was his first offense and I did say I would talk to him about it more when I got home.

This just bugged her and she rolled her eyes at me. She tells the other Mom that she BETS he will do it again. What is the big deal? You do things your way, I do them my way. Not to mention I’m learning as I go!

How would you have handled this if it were your child? Did I go about it the wrong way?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I just LOVE the support on this site! The majority of you gave me reassurance that I handled it just right. There are also some of that said if it were their child, they would consider it stealing. I love the varying opinions.

When we got home I went through the scenario with my son. He asked me for money and I said yes, then got distracted. I told him I should have told the Mom to hang on for a sec while I got the money, but I also told my son how HE should have handled it.

Tugged on my sleeve and said excuse me.

Then I gave him the lecture about never going into my purse. I’ve never had to have that talk with him before!

We agreed that next time I would get him the money first BUT if I got distracted he would be patient or say” excuse me Mommy”.

Then we got down to real business as we're getting ready for bed - cuddling!!!!!

One thing I can tell you about my son is that I almost never have to tell him something twice. He is not a repeat offender. He just finds new stuff to get himself into! Keeps me on my toes and I love every second of it! LOL!

You can BET that I wrote this down in my book! Priceless.

Thank you beautiful Moms!

Featured Answers

shoot. 5 years old. mom promises him quarters. mom gets distracted. he doesn't want to interrupt mom so he decides to help mom by getting his change instead of mom. AND he needs to be punished?
i am not following.
he was a good boy. not a thief. he didn't commit an offense (shoot, he is 5) and no punishment should follow.

9 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it fine as it was "a first offense", plus he was trying to be polite by not interrupting you.

Yes, other moms are allowed to have their opinions. Don't sweat it.

9 moms found this helpful

Seriously? No, I wouldn't have punished him for it. He said that he didn't want to interrupt you while you were talking, so I assume that you have scolded him for that in the past. In his mind, he was doing the right thing. Lol

8 moms found this helpful

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I would have done exactly as you did. He wasn't "stealing" money from you, he was trying to be helpful and self-sufficient while you were talking. He had already asked and been granted permission to play a game and to have money, so he figured that you were busy and he could take of it himself and not bother you, interrupt you, or have to wait on you. I think you handled it perfectly.

12 moms found this helpful

You handled it perfectly and I am going to bet he never does it again. He was honest and said he did not want to disturb you.

And yes, I would have also given my child some quarters. He wasn't stealing, he though he was helping you out. He is only 5. He is not some thug teenager.

Good Job mom.

10 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it fine as it was "a first offense", plus he was trying to be polite by not interrupting you.

Yes, other moms are allowed to have their opinions. Don't sweat it.

9 moms found this helpful

Nope. No punishment. My kids are very well-behaved, so they don't get punished a lot. However, I always prefer a good "teaching moment" over punishments. Teach your child how to get your attention properly and teach him what could happen if he lost your wallet. IMO, when punishments are over done, they become worthless.

Good Job!

9 moms found this helpful

shoot. 5 years old. mom promises him quarters. mom gets distracted. he doesn't want to interrupt mom so he decides to help mom by getting his change instead of mom. AND he needs to be punished?
i am not following.
he was a good boy. not a thief. he didn't commit an offense (shoot, he is 5) and no punishment should follow.

9 moms found this helpful

I think you totally did the right thing in how you responded. You told him yes, and then you got distracted. It was actually quite polite of him to not want to bother you again. Since he already thought he had permission, it makes sense why he went and got the wallet himself. I see absolute ZERO reason to make it a big deal or for him to get in trouble. When stuff like this happens with my kids, I try to see their point of view, thank them if they need it (it was polite that he didn't want to interrupt you because i'm guessing he knows you don't like to be interrupted), and then explain that next time he could just bring you the purse/wallet or whatever. No reason for it to be a big deal. There's no reason to treat a child as though they had bad intentions, or to be sneaky, when they weren't.

I know you're learning as you go, but you're also following your "instinct", and you seem to be right on. There is so much pressure from society to punish kids for things when it's just silly. He was NOT doing anything wrong. He just needs to learn...

Anyway, I would give you an A+ for your response and would ignore that other lady:-)

9 moms found this helpful

He is 5....I honestly think you dealt with it in a wonderful teaching way. I do not think there was any malicious intent in what your son did...Now if my 15 year old or 10 year old had done that I would have handled it differently.

8 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it perfectly. He is 5 years old.

The woman who got on you about your parenting, really?! She was extremely rude. She was completely out of line to tell you that you should punish your child. She rolled her eyes at you and continued to comment rudely about your son to another person at your table? Honestly, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't be getting together with her for pizza or anything else. She sounds like a critical and mean know-it-all, not someone I would choose for a friend or to hang out with solo or in a group. Sorry that happened to you.

8 moms found this helpful

Seriously? No, I wouldn't have punished him for it. He said that he didn't want to interrupt you while you were talking, so I assume that you have scolded him for that in the past. In his mind, he was doing the right thing. Lol

8 moms found this helpful

I consider myself a pretty strict parent. But you can't get punished for something you didn't know was wrong yet. He asked to play a game, you said yes but needed to get money. Then you got sidetracked and didn't get the money. In his 5 year old mind, he knew you said yes to the game, and the hold up was money. He waited, you're talking, he's not allowed to interrupt, so he goes "Hark! I know where there's money" and proceeded to the game that he wanted to play. Pretty smart little problem solver in my mind, he just needs to know that's not what we do. I would have handled it the same as you, but said "Wow, you know I got sidetracked and started talking instead of getting the money---sorry about that guy, but don't go in people's purses ok?" Now he knows the rule and now he can be held accountable for that knowledge. And not arguing with you about it, and not interrupting adults who were talking, I would be willing to bet that he's a good listener and will obey. I wouldn't sweat someone else having a different opinion, but I'd get really angry over someone rolling their eyes at me and talking about what she thinks my son might do to another person. I'd have just said "Well, perhaps your children have problems listening and learning, but mine does pretty well--this was his first time to be told this rule" and walk over to the game to give myself a timeout before it escalated.

8 moms found this helpful

Well, technically, it was your fault. You promised him something, got distracted and ignored him while he stood there waiting, so he was being proactive. I think you handled it right to talk to him about it. No, he shouldn't be further punished.

(not dissing you by the way, I get distracted all the time!)

8 moms found this helpful

I honestly think the other mom blew the whole thing out of proportion.
Like one of the moms here said you already agreed to give him the money.
You kept talking and so he assumed he could take it. To kids things are as simple as a "Yes" and "No". And you already said "Yes".
No big deal.
Don't try and overthink it.

7 moms found this helpful

I think I would have done the same thing you did.

I think since he didn't take your wallet on purpose knowing it was the wrong thing to do, it was an innocent first time mistake- that I would have still allowed him to play the games.

7 moms found this helpful

It sounds to me like your son was simply doing his best to be practical and thoughtful, not devious. I think both of you handled it fine. And you've learned that next time, you can hand him a dollar bill, and he'll know what to do with it. Strokes to you both!

My 5yo grandson would probably do the same thing for the same reasons, though he's never gone into my purse for anything else. I have told him how to make an emergency call from my cell phone, though, so he knows he can go in my purse for at least that reason.

7 moms found this helpful

Um your friends are a bit harsh. He's 5 not 15. If he was older than yeah, punishment. But he's only 5!!! He doesn't know any better! And he said he was sorry!

6 moms found this helpful

You did what you did the best you knew how to.The important part is that you didn't ignore it happening.

6 moms found this helpful

You handled it fine. It wasn't an offense, per se - you told him yes, you got sidetracked, he got the money you said he could have. He didn't know he didn't do it right. You told him what the rules were. If he does it AGAIN, after you told him what the rules are, then yes - he gets in trouble. But you don't get punished for not knowing something. She's just a ms. crankypants.

6 moms found this helpful

no i would not punish him. he did what alot of 5 year olds would have done. now if he does it again then he would be punished. if he doesn't know that what he did was wrong how can he be punished? and it;s really none of her business what you chose to do and if she got irritated oh well that's why she has children of her own so she can raise them! good luck

6 moms found this helpful

You absolutely did the right thing! He is only 5 for crying out loud!! He was not "stealing", it would be a different story if he was 16 years old!

5 moms found this helpful

I would have done exactly what you did. Some kids don't need to be "punished" to learn from the experience.

5 moms found this helpful

He sounds like a smart, polite little guy. I think you did exactly the right thing.

5 moms found this helpful

I don't like your friend's attitude, I'll just be honest and say. She's a meddler, and you will end up being the butt of her meddling if you let her treat you like this. I really don't like it that she continued downing you in front of the other women.

Next time she does this, don't give any excuses. Say to her that you are his mother and you will decide what he can and can't do. Don't put up with her bullying. Yes, that's what she was doing - bullying you. This isn't her business and you need to let her know that.

Don't tell her that you are learning as you go. It just gives her more ammo.

Can you go out with the other ladies, without this woman?

As far as your child is concerned, how can he know not to get into your pocketbook if you haven't told him? Trust your judgment, Mama. Don't second guess yourself.

D.

5 moms found this helpful

From what you described, I personally would have handled it exactly like you did. It sounds very innocent, just use what happened as a teachable moment for a discussion on patience with your son. He probably thought he was helping by doing it himself, so why punish him? You know your kids the best, I'd roll my eyes right back at that mom!

5 moms found this helpful

At 5 yrs old, I would not punish him. Especially if he never did this before. I would definitely make sure he understands why it is wrong though. In his mind, he was following your rules and he did apologize. And just because he did this once does not make him a repeat offender. My sister would probably get along great with that mom.

5 moms found this helpful

If I were your mom friend I would not have publicly chided you for your choice.

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Nope, wouldn't of punished him. Sounds like he was just trying to help and be polite in his own way. It would be different if he were 18 and doing this, but at 5. Oh, and that mother sounds like a mean mommy!!!!

5 moms found this helpful

I think the other mom needs to lighten up, geesh, chill out lady. I wouldn't have gotten mad either and would not punish him for that. You did the right thing, absolutely. AND YES I'D STILL GIVE HIM QUARTERS AFTER THAT TOO! lol
Don't sweat the small stuff. You'll live longer. ;)

5 moms found this helpful

Don't listen to other people - I stopped a long time ago. I get so much marital, parenting advice that is completely ridiculous. Do what works for you and your family and maybe consider getting a new, non-eye-rolling friend :)

5 moms found this helpful

He's 5 and was trying to decide if he should interrupt you again or just do it. I would not have punished my son, but had a good talk with him later. You said you were going to do it and then got distracted...he was trying to be good. Teach him not to go in your purse period and you'll be good. I think your friend is very rude and I'd let her know she can raise her own kids.

5 moms found this helpful

I would have done exactly what you did. You handled it perfectly in my opinion. My son is such a well-behaved boy, but I could totally see him doing something like that. After telling him not to again, he wouldn't. If you know your son and that is all it takes with him, then so be it. Their kids may be brattier!

That woman has a rude awakening coming when her kids are teens.

These women are your friends?

5 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it perfectly!! I wouldn't punish my daughter for doing this either. His intentions were innocent.

Very cute story too... you should write it down so you can share it with him when he's older. :)

4 moms found this helpful

Don't worry about her. She's probably okay with bad behavior and/or can't control her kids. It'll bite her in the butt one day.

You did the right thing. Learning and growth go hand in hand. He didn't want to interrupt you. Talk to him and explain just as you did. It's not like it's intentional. The baby just wanted to play again but he was mindful of his mommy's conversation.

4 moms found this helpful

There is a difference between a child being intentionally disobedient and a child doing what children do - figure out ways to get things done.

If you had ever instructed your son that he is not to ever go in to your bag and take things, or something along those lines it would be concievable that he was intentionally doing something he knew was wrong. But even then - kids need to be told things many, many times before it sticks.

We will always discipline our kids if they are defiant and intentional. But if it's not something they were aware of, and at age 5 that covers alot of ground, then a talking to is appropriate when you get home - with an explanation of why. As they get older it get tougher becuase they are expected to apply common sense - and it's hard to determine what's "common" for a pre-teen or teen.

As for the other mom - don't worry about her. Chances are the other mom relates more to you than her - and she's wondering if she is out of line or what.

4 moms found this helpful

I agree, he was not trying to be malicious. He was in fact trying to make the right choice by not interrupting. It was his first offense, you addressed the situation at the moment it happened and he immediately apologized. Lesson learned. Talk about it again and what he should have done and let it be over. We all have different parenting styles and no two people are going to agree on everything. Your kid your decision. Write this event down in your memory to save for another time when you need a giggle.

4 moms found this helpful

Chances are he might do it again but he's only 5! That's part of learning. Children at that age do not quite understand the concept of money yet. I think you handled it perfectly. I would have done the same thing.

4 moms found this helpful

I'm in the dont punish camp as well. He thought he was doing a good thing, and you've explained what he should have done instead. It's over.

4 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it just fine. Worst case scenario - you would've been walking around with a heavy purse from all those quarters for a while....LOL - well, I guess that is not the WORST case scenario, but you know what I mean. He meant well, it was not malicious nor was he sneaking around. Your friends need to chill......

4 moms found this helpful

Great job! Great mom! I wouldn't have changed a thing. :)

4 moms found this helpful

I think the other moms were way out of line by offering their two cents. This was none of their business and they should have remained silent. Those moms need to be reminded that you are his mother and you will handle it.

3 moms found this helpful

The way you handled this was perfectly fine. You'll discuss it at home. Other mom just needs to butt out. Her rolling her eyes at you and discussing this with the other mom is uncalled for and plain ol'cattiness. Geez, are we in highschool or something? I would feel ike going up to that mother and flat out telling her that if she has a major problem with how other people discipline their kids, she should take a look at how she disciplines her own kids and hope no one rolls their eyes at her. Lordy.

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You handled it well! I would have rolled my eyes right back at the other mom- and asked her to put some cold hard cash down on that bet!

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I think you handled it just fine! Good Job Mom...

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I agree with the other mom...I would not have let my child(ren) continue with quarters. However, the only other person in this world I would have made the same remarks to like she said to you would be my sister!

3 moms found this helpful

It is never a good idea to tell another mother if her child should be punished or not! First of all what is good for one child is not always best for another child. When a good conversation would work with your child may not be what another child needs for the same "offense". I personally think you did fine! Your child said "sorry Mommy" so he had sense enough to know that you did not approve, and if he's an obedient child I BET he DOESN'T do it again. that woman needs to realize that not every child needs to be punished the same way for an offense.

3 moms found this helpful

Absolutely, I would have handled as you did. My daughter is almost that age and it's just what would happen, and she wouldn't do it again once she knew I didn't want her to. The other mom is out of line.

3 moms found this helpful

I would have done the same thing as you, then I would have punished that other mom for being rude. : )

He said he was sorry and he genuinely seems like he wasn't trying to be rude. Tell him it's not okay and if he ever does that again there will be a consequence. First offense for a good kid doesn't warrant severe punishment in a pizza restaurant! It's not like he hit someone or threw a tantrum. Tell that other woman to mind her own business and stop rolling her eyes like a 4 year old.

3 moms found this helpful

For goodness sake! He's 5! I would have told that mom to mind her business. Obviously she is a bitter woman who thinks she knows everything.....
You told him he cannot do that. He told you why he did it. Which I think it was true.
You did the right thing. Let her keep rolling her eyes... and believe that she's the queen of the know it all.... Believe me, she'll have other people rolling her eyes on her too.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you handled it perfectly.

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If this was the first time, you did just fine. And the cuddling was icing on the cake.

I can't remember when the first time was I was taught not to go into my mom's purse. But I learned it very well. When my mom was in her 70's and I in my 40's I would still bring her purse to her if she asked me to get something out of it. I do the same with my wife and her purse. My wife and I taught our kids the same thing.

Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful

If he had never done it before why would he punished for doing it the first time-is he automatically suppose to know it not ok. You were busy talking so he got it himself-we all teach out children to be independent and do things on there own and thats what he is doing. You have let him no its not ok so the next time(hopefully there wont be one)then you would give him some sort of punishment. I think you handled it great!

3 moms found this helpful

You handled it the way you thought was best. You know your son best. Either way it really wasn't a big deal, he is only 5 and has never been given protocol regarding your handbag.

My son on the other hand would have been in big trouble because at 3 I taught him to never go in my bag without my permission.

2 moms found this helpful

No, you didn't. Your son is 5, for pete's sake, he said, "ok, I'm sorry Mommy," it's flippin' fine.

That mom needs to lighten up. I feel sorry for her child.

2 moms found this helpful

I probably would have done the same thing as you. But in the big scheme it doesn't matter what anyone other than you thinks about how to discipline your son. He's your son. You feel he didn't need to be punished, and you're probably right. Who more than anyone else on this planet knows your son's temperament better than you, HIS MOTHER.

I'd chalk the eye rolling up to momzilla stuff. I hate when momzillas rear their ugly heads. Sometimes women can be so mean and judgemental. Heaven help us when you add the mama-genes to the mix. There is alot of pride, and competitiveness where this comes from. It's too much sometimes and we can become each other's worst enemies. We (moms) sometimes tend to think we know best about EVERYTHING.

Just hold your own, keep your cool, and let it roll off of your back. She should mind her own business unless you're asking her for advice. Bottomline, she doesn't know your son. She isn't his mother. It isn't her place to judge. You do know what's best, and even if you don't, it's up to YOU to figure out what is.

My favorite comment to people like that is..."Um...I don't remember seeing you in labor with him x years ago. Oh yeah...you're not his mother. I am!" They usually get the hint and shut up. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I would have done basically the same thing as you did. Having/raising children is a learning experience for both the parent and child. You didn't say how old he was...5 or younger and I say you definately handled it correctly (as a teaching moment), 6-9 would be iffy, older than that and I suspect he should have known better.

I would have told the other mom that if it happens again, he would be punished but as is he didn't know it was wrong and wasn't trying to do something wrong. I would have thanked her for her concern but assured her that you were comfortable in the way you handled it.

2 moms found this helpful

No, I would've punished him either, but I WOULD'VE made it VERY clear that taking mom's wallet is NEVER cool!

:)

2 moms found this helpful

I think you did fine. This was the first offense. You talk to him about it, if he does it again, then punish him. The first time, he doesn't know, the second time he does. Knowledge is the difference.

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No - you did GREAT!!! Do not let what others say influence you and your relationship with your child.

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Not for a first offense, no punishment, but a good talking to. I would also explain to him how to nicely interupt an adult conversation. Then I would say I was sorry to him for getting side tracked and not following through. Blame should be placed on you and on him. It sounds like he knows what he did is wrong and likewise on your part. So no punishment just a good lesson learned for both of you.

2 moms found this helpful

I would have done the same thing as you. Children need warnings and if he did not know he could not do that, he did not go against your words or warnings. Now that he knows, and if that happens again, then he does not get money to play. There are worse things we have to worry about, and we can't punish for everything. First offenses should be the call for the warning, and then second offenses, gets the punishment.

2 moms found this helpful

I think you did the right thing. I definitely wouldn't have punished my son in that exact same situation. You explained to him that he shouldn't do it again, and you understood his reasoning behind it (he didn't want to interrupt you). Granted, I would have been upset if my son had gotten the other woman's wallet out of her purse, but getting something out of his Mommy's purse? Your friend needs to lighten up! Good job for handling this in a calm and appropriate way.

2 moms found this helpful

I would have asked him to sit at the table for another 5 or so min and then allowed him to play. He honestly did nothing terribly wrong, he was trying to be polite, you told him he could have money for the games. Does your son do many things for himself in general? If so, that is probably why he did it. I really think the other mom was a bit out of line.

2 moms found this helpful

Most five year olds would not yet know that there was something wrong with taking money that had already been offered, unless an incident like this had happened before. He knew you approved of giving him some money, you got distracted, and with the typical five year old impatience with waiting, he got what you were going to give him anyway. It's good to explain why he cannot go into our purse, or take money from your nightstand, etc, and must ask for money (which he did!), but punishment at this point may just teach him to sneak, rather than be open and honest. He's fine. Your're fine. Your friend is way out of line!

2 moms found this helpful

I consider myself a pretty tough mom and pretty consistent with the rules but, even then, I still would have handled the situation the same way that you did. First infraction is a learning lesson for him. He probably didn't know not to take your wallet out of your purse without your permission before last night but now he does. That's enough reason to talk this out with him and let him know what is expected of him. The next time he does it (if that happens), well that's a different matter and you can address that when and if the issue ever comes up again.

That other mom friend of your's is pretty snarky and judgmental. What's the punishment for THAT bad behavior?

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it sounds like youve got everything under control! youre a good mom and dont let anyone let you think otherwise!
good job!

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If you truly believe that your son didn't know he did anything wrong, than I think you did the right thing by not punishing him. But if he knows what he did was wrong, than I would of taken the quarters away.

2 moms found this helpful

I would have handled it exactly as you did. Like you said, he has never done this before. I don't believe in handing out a disipline unless it is warned first. Here there was no intent to do wrong and you told him what you expect in the future, so if he does it again then you should definitely hand out a disipline (I don't like punishment, sounds so harsh).

My son this weekend painted on the bathroom sink with nail polish. He has never done anything like that before. We talked about why it was wrong and made him hlep clean it up. If this every happens again then he will definitely be given a disiplin for it.

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I think you did great, and so did he.

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Nosy moms who think they are the greatest moms to ever walk the planet and their way is the only and correct way to do anything...
People like that irritate me.
I see other moms do things I don't necessarily agree with at times too, but I keep my mouth shut, my eyes do not roll and I do not impose my opinion on them.
I don't understand why other moms can't do the same, this is why I have so few female friends, too catty and judgmental.

To answer you question I would have said (to the moms) "I'm just glad he was able to figure out to use a $1 bill instead of a $20." and then laugh it off and walk away.
I would have later, in private, told my child that s/he needs to learn to be patient, that I promised the quarters and I would have gotten them and that if they do it again, they would not get any quarters.

2 moms found this helpful

You were awesome. The other mom...not so much.

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No I wouldn't have punished him. I think you handled it pretty well. The fact that the other mother noticed it and told you about it was great on her part. But don't let her get in your head about your child. I'm sure that he was sincere when he said that he didn't want to interupt you and I seriously think that he won't do it again. Keep doing what your doing.

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I don't consider this one a big one. In my house MINE and OURS is rather mixed up. I jokingly tell my kids not to take my change. But I know they did/do. They wouldn't steal from me. But a dollar here or there isn't stealing in my book.

Now my husband and I....what's his is his and what's mine is mine and we have separate bank accounts. He's selfish. For years he had the mistaken notion that what was mine was his and what's his was his and he was so selfish with money that I learned I had to care for myself and stick up for my needs. I guess I just don't want my girls to feel like nothing belongs to them or they are second class citizens.

Yesterday I brought my daughter home a new outfit. I reminded her that even though I don't have much cash to give her, I think of her like that all the time. We are a family. I just don't think it should matter that much.

However...I think the games are annoying and never let her play much.

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I am a mother of 6 and don't know that I would of handled it as well as you did. I like the fact that you were able to use this as a teachable moment. You gave your little one ideas and suggestions on what to do if this happens again. Bravo mom don't listen to the other moms you did a fine job!!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it just right. His intent wasn't to steal. You had already said he could have the quarters, and he was simply trying to get them in a way that wouldn't inconvenience you.

You took the opportunity to use this as a teachable moment: It's not okay to go into Mom's purse and take her money, but let's instead work together to find the appropriate solution to wanting the quarters Mom said he could have.

Bravo! It's parenting like this that fosters trust and openness in the parent/child relationship.

Had you treated him like a criminal for "stealing" (which he hadn't done), it would have encouraged him to simply hide things in the future instead of talking with you to work out solutions.

You did great!

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't have punished. I would have been more mad if he interrupted. If he does it again, deal w/ it.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you did the right thing. If your son said that he didn't want to interrupt you, and it sounds like he had good intentions and meant it, then why would you punish him? He didn't know he can't just take money from your wallet and now he does. Don't let other people impose their parenting style on you and come between you and your son. Punish him when you feel you need to.

1 mom found this helpful

It is so irritating to me that we as moms are so judgemental of eachother. I think you handled it perfectly. And even I dont agree, who am I to call you out on it & judge? I feel like as parents we are all in the same boat. We should teach, learn, and support eachother :)

1 mom found this helpful

oh my he is 5, not 14 ;) You did great, I wouldn't have worried over it either, you explained things to him just fine. She had no right to scold you regardless, your wallet, your money, your child. What she did was intentional and nosy, what your kid did was childish. I think you were awesome :D

1 mom found this helpful

I would have handled it the same way. He didn't know it was wrong and he was actually trying to be polite not interrupt your conversation. You know your own child best! Great Job!

1 mom found this helpful

Hello, Everyone has their own style of raising their children. You handled this the way you saw fit. I think he got the message. I don't think it sounds as if he was be defiant. I think he just thought he was going to take care of what you had said you would do. The other mom really didn't need to make it her job to decide how you should have handled this or to forecast what may or may not happen later. Don't feel guilty. I would just explain to him that: 1. Your purse is your private property and he should never get in it unless you ask him to. 2. Your money is your money and he should never take it without asking and getting a "yes".
I think he will be fine.
Good luck with your precious little boy.
K. K.

1 mom found this helpful

It was none of the other mom's business how you handled it!

1 mom found this helpful

You ar e SPOT ON, Mama!
In my house (with one 3 yr old and one 13 yr old), it's :
First offense : a warning and explaination of what will happen the next time
Second offense : carry out the punishment

At 5 yrs old, you're not raising a klepto (as those moms may have yout think)....Take the time to explain why it's not OK to take mommy's wallet, reiterate that if mommy's busy/talking/otherwise involved in something, he will just have to be patient, and you will tend to him when ready :-)

1 mom found this helpful

idk what i would of done. i think i would of punished him but idk how idt i would of given him the quarters personally because he was "stealing" and it is not right to do but then again he did it so he wouldnt interupt you and the other adult talking which IS good. but at the same time you kinda said it was okay to "Steal" from mommy.

1 mom found this helpful

I've not read the others....

But I think you handled it right. It was his FIRST offense. he was sorry and he had a good excuse - while I don't approve of my son taking my wallet from my purse, the fact is that it MIGHT happen.

Sounds like you need to find other friends!! I thought I was a hard A$$ mom, these two make me feel like a walk in the park!!

YOU GO GIRL!

1 mom found this helpful

I feel you handled the situation perfectly. Do not let that other Mom's opinion make you doubt yourself! I a way (since you'd obviously taught him not to interrupt when you are speaking to another grownup and not yet taught him not to take your wallet) he behaved perfectly well! You ought to be proud of your little boy. Good luck with upcoming "adventures"! :)

1 mom found this helpful

You handled this just as I would have. If it were me I would not go
out of my way to have any more contract with this woman. If you
must be in the same place with your kids OK, but I would just go
on as you are.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that you handled it totally the right way! Every kid is different and you know your child best, so only you can deal with issues like that. Every MOM is different , too, and what bugs one mom may not be a big deal to another. I don't know WHY some moms feel like they need to chime in and judge your decisions regarding disciplining your own child if it does not directly affect their own kid.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! I'm new to Mamapedia (and loving it!!) and I know your post is a little older, but I just wanted to commend you on how you handled this. No, I would not have punished for this, as I do not practice punishment at all but rather, positive discipline and teaching, just as you did here! You did a wonderful job of recognizing that a problem is simply an opportunity to find a solution (when they are older, you can actually challenge children to come up with some reasonable, respectful and responsible solutions on their own and then decide which one to go with!). You were kind but firm, and showed respect (and set a good example) for your son by not jumping to conclusions (about why he had done it) and an understanding of his age appropriate behavior (age appropriate isn't always situationally appropriate, which you seem to grasp). His heart was in the right place - he was trying to do something else he had learned as the right thing by not interrupting – you can hardly fault him for that. You taught him that this was a situation where interrupting politely would have been a good choice (and you might have even taught him that technically, yes, it is stealing, although you know that was not his intention and then of course, would not punish him as if it were).

I also noticed that you recognized your own fault in the matter – that you had promised him something but then had gotten distracted. This is another great thing you did! Such times are perfect opportunities to commend children for being capable but at the same time, teaching them what is not appropriate and what is – in this case, that getting into anyone’s purse, including yours, is just not acceptable behavior, but that politely interrupting you to remind you of your promise, would have been. When parents apologize for any personal wrong doing in the matter, it is respectful to your child and sets another good example for them.

Since he is not a repeat offender you may not need this tidbit, but role playing or replaying the scenario so he can see what it looks like and feels like to do what you are suggesting really helps sometimes too (you can be him, him be you, and then reverse it).

You sound like a natural to me, but another reason I wanted to comment is to share with you some information that has helped us tremendously and I believe would be a perfect fit for your parenting style: Positive Discipline books by Jane Nelsen. We get most of our parenting tools from these books, and they have all really worked for us so far! Of course she always says that no one tool works all the time or for all children, so the more options you have in your toolbox, the better - so you are ready/don’t get stumped or frustrated for long if one thing is not working. Her techniques take a bit more time, but they stick forever and teach child AND parent SO much. Needless to say, we feel they are well worth the effort - and just taking that extra time and effort says a lot to your child as well! The one you might want is called Positive Discipline for Preschoolers.

She has one for every age group and although they all have the same basic message (which, every time I open one, I need reminded of anyway :)), each is tailored for different age groups and have tons of real life examples - I love them because they kind of give me the words in some cases - there are so many parenting books out there that make sense to some degree, but I can't really seem to figure out how to successfully implement them - I always find myself wanting examples or just a bit more guidance regarding what to say. Otherwise, I tend to be a lecturer/over-talker otherwise, which never works with little ones for many reasons – your son sounds like a quick study, so if you are lecturing, you may not even need to say everything you intend to say – I find myself sometimes benefiting more from my lecture than my child – kind of like I’m talking myself through the whole thing:)…she was done listening several minutes ago and already gets it. Anyway, these books have that extra guidance, and they make perfect sense and take everything that matters to me as a parent into consideration. They have been a huge help to us!

If you would like more information on these books, or on Positive Discipline in general, the website is www.positivediscipline.com. There is also a Positive Discipline answer panel, which you can find at http://positivediscipline.org/Default.aspx?pageId=271873. And you can also email her directly - she isn't always able to take the time for an in depth response, but she always replies (in my experience). Her email is ____@____.com. I don't recall how I came upon her email address, but she is not a personal friend whose book I am promoting - her books are exceptional, so I recommend them often.

Personally, I never give advice if it isn’t requested and I would be appalled if my friends made such rash comments as yours did. I agree - to each his own! But there is no need to give it your energy – that would just be stealing it from you and your family (now THAT is the worst stealing offense of all in my book)! So instead, I say you just keep on doing what you are doing! Listening to your motherly instinct like you are is always a winner! You are leading by example, and I believe that once your friends see how effective what you are doing is, they will not make so many negative comments but rather positive ones - and probably be asking you for advice!

Anyway, just wanted to say it sounds like you are doing an awesome job and share the PD info with you!

M.

1 mom found this helpful

He's 5! I thought it was really cute. I would have laughed too. And his reason was priceless. I think you also were able to add a lesson with the experience. That other mom really needs to lighten up..

1 mom found this helpful

i think you handled it fine. if it was something your son did a lot then by all means punish. but it was the first time and it was handled well.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it perfectly for a 5-year old child. In his mind, he was doing the right thing (you had said "yes" to the quarters, he was a little inpatient like any 5-year old, and he didn't want to interrupt you). Kids don't think in the same way adults do; they haven't lived the same experiences. He THOUGHT he was doing the right thing and I don't think he should be treated as a criminal. (If he were 10, well then major-different story because he should know better by then).

You made it very clear to him why it was not okay. But, if he does it again, too-bad, so-sad, no quarters and definitely a punishment.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it perfectly. I would have found it comical too and also been a little proud. He knew what to do and was trying to do it himself. When you asked him why, he said he didn't want to bother you. He was trying to be helpful. He doesn't yet know the rules about purses, money, belongings etc. I think you did a good job of explaining that it isn't ok to take from your purse and you were going to follow up.

Ignore the other mom's snarky behavior, she obviously wasn't interested in helping or having an open discussion about boundaries or discipline. Just looking to judge. If this is common behavior on her part, I'd be reconsidering how much time I wanted to spend with her. Like you said, we are learning as we go and judgement should be checked at the door.

You did a great job :)

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it fine...it sounds like your son just got tired of waiting, did not want to interrupt, and decided to take matters into his own hands. You had already said yes to giving him quarters so it was not like he was stealing. You corrected him and set him straight and hopefully he will remember not to do it again. The other mom sounded like she was being all snarky and smug by saying something about it. She may not have agreed with what you did, she may have handled it differently, okay, fine - but you don't go rolling your eyes and telling the other mom how you bet it will happen again. She was just plain being rude at that point.

This is not about what you should have done, or could have done differently - this is about another mom causing you to second-guess yourself and now you feel some degree of self-doubt. A real friend wouldn't have done that to you - I don't agree with everything my mom friends do with their kids, but I just keep my mouth shut and my opinion to myself unless it is asked for.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi N L It looks like i am getting this a little last, but no i would not have punished him, he was sorry and like you said you would talk to him, I don't know what you said to him but i would point out that somone could have grab your wallet from him and have all your personal information as well as where you live. Hope you all had a good time. J.

1 mom found this helpful

You always have to look at the intent, not just the action. He's 5. I doubt his intent was to steal.....especially sensing how you're raising him. Yes, it was a a mistake, and mistakes should be forgiven. Especially if it's a first time offense. Punishment was not necessary. Children don't always know right from wrong. Sometimes parents treat them like they should automatically know or have logical sense. To think like adults. That's ridiculous. He didn't want to interrupt and probably didn't have the patience to wait. What 5 year old can wait that long?

I think consequences should be in order if he did it again 'cuz he knows better now.

1 mom found this helpful

Ugh, forget what your son did and punish that outspoken nosey mom ;) You know your son and how to deal with the situation, not the "child whisperer"! Never let anyone tell you how to punish or handle a situation unless you ask. I would have had a similar reaction as yourself for my son that is a good boy and that would have been sufficient! Now, if my son did stuff like that all of the time and was Ill-behaved, then I probably would have flipped my lid without giving him cash right away and made him sit out for a few minutes!

1 mom found this helpful

I think I might have done what you did. Besides it is not the other mom's wallet. So what is her beef with it. It is between you, hubby, and your son. No one else.

1 mom found this helpful

no i wouldn't have punished him...he's 5..has he ever been told that you're not supposed to take mommy's wallet or purse before? probably not..they're not mind readers..if he does it again after knowing he's not supposed to then i would do something...but i think you handled it well..i mean you said you were going to give him some..then started talking..kids that age have a hard time being patient and it says a lot that he didn't want to interrupt..i WISH my son wouldn't interrupt ..he would have done that and not taken my purse or maybe he would...but i think since he has never done this and now knows that that's that..how else are they to learn..u don't punish children when they do things they have no clue are bad things..that woman sucks..i feel sorry for her kids..i would have told her that i always explain what it is that he did wrong so that he knows not to do it a 2nd time ..i never punish him for something he didn't know was a bad thing to begin with...if kids were born knowing right from wrong that would be amazing but since they don't its our job to teach not to go around handing out punishments.

D.

1 mom found this helpful

pick your battles and this doesn't seem like a really big one. i would have done a similar thing and secretely thought to myself that my son was creative in actually trying to do it himself.

i've never found so much opinion as there is from other moms. i think you have to let go of a lot of it and absorb what you want and what sounds reasonable.

1 mom found this helpful

You handle it perfectly! Now the other mother didn't.....maybe she should be punished!

1 mom found this helpful

Does not need to be punished for that. You handled is very well.

1 mom found this helpful

Beautiful job Mama!! I tell me kid's all the time that there isn't an owner's manual on kid's and I'm doing the best that I can. You did a great job at the time, and then the follow up was perfect as well!

1 mom found this helpful

I thought it was just fine the way you handled it. You told him yes, but you needed to get change, and your purse was on the table. Maybe he misunderstood and thought he was supposed to get your purse.
Totally not a big deal, especially since he apologized. You know your son best. If you think he was being sneaky and naughty then I am sure you would have disciplined him...but you don't think he was so i think you handled it perfectly.
Next time your friend rolls her eyes you could just roll them back at her. When my kids were little and they started to throw a fit I would start to pitch a fit too. They would stop what they were doing and stare at me like I was nuts. I would tell them, that's what you look like. They stopped. Maybe if your "friend" sees that she is acting judgy and bitchy by rolling her eyes she will stop.
L.

1 mom found this helpful

I think on a first offense you did it right. Kids won't know they did wrong unless you tell them & 'why' it's wrong. I believe giving second chances w/o harsh punishment the first time. I grew up in the 'dark ages' where I was expected to not be seen NOR heard & NEVER was allowed to touch ANYthing & every time I did something 'wrong' I got my butt beat black & blue but was never told 'why' it's wrong what I did so I think it's fine to give a warning first & explaining why on a first offense, I think it's easier for a child to not do the same wrong thing twice as long as they know 'why' it's wrong rather than just getting into trouble over something & never knowing really 'why'. Never mind the other parents' opinions, I think you're on the right track.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it perfectly appropriately. And I wouldn't be surprised if the other mom was so snarky because she *wished* her child was as well behaved as yours (the "your son has never done that before?" comment sounds to me that *her* child has done something similar a few more times than once!)

1 mom found this helpful

You did the right thing. And I'm not a fan of other parents chiming in their judgmental opinions unless you expressly asked for their opinions.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled it great and I I would hope I would handle it similarly. Children are learning about the world and we're teaching them--and you taught him something (and he taught you something). My son is also not a repeat offender so I don't make a big deal out of things because "now he knows."

1 mom found this helpful

you did exactly what you as mother thought was right. At least your son was sorry and returned you wallet right away and not throw tantrum. I think you succeed at being a good mom. Well done!

In my case my daughter would have given me hard time and I would punish her, not for taking my wallet alone but what she would do after that (I exactly know what she would, trust me).

All kids are different and learn differently. I don't think any mother has a right to roll eyes or even declare the methods applied by other mom(s) are wrong.

Good job mommy!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you handled this just fine... I also thought it was kind of comical. To think a 5 year old was considerate enough to not want to interupt your conversation and that he wanted those quarters to play the games and figured out what to do, LOL. Not everything requires punishment. I think you explaining the situation to him and then the talk you gave him later was great. You are a great mom!! Trust me, we are all learning as we go.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that mother, like a lot of moms, needs to keep her opinion to herself. No one asked you, lady. She and her self righteousness need a time out. Like, now.

I liked your response and approach. Talking to him is the best thing to do. He already said sorry, so the stage is set for a better understanding as to why thats not an ok thing to do.

You sound like you are doing a good job. :)

1 mom found this helpful

You have so many responses, but I just wanted to chime in and say I think you handled it fine. When you raise a child with positive parenting, punishment is not necessary. I would have done exactly what you did.

1 mom found this helpful

I too, think you handled it perfectly! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I think you were perfectly reasonable. And what is it with other moms that think that it's okay to comment on your parenting styles? God I hate that.

1 mom found this helpful

I love your response! My son is only 2.5 and is already keeping me on my toes. I might have punished him if we were in your situation and then would have felt very sorry afterwards! You did great! Wish I can be more calm and composed like you! :)

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, it sounds like this was a clear case of your son doing something he just didn't know was wrong. Five year olds know an awful lot (I have one too), but there are a lot of intricate social rules that they just don't have experience with yet, and it's a shame that some folks feel the only way to teach is through punishment. The cool thing about kids this age is that they actually CAN learn a lot through conversation.  Something as simple as, "I know it's hard to wait when I'm talking, but I don't like people going through my purse." It's pretty great that he didn't want to interrupt your conversation! 

I learned the hard way, after years of thinking I had a defiant, combative child, that really I was the one who was being combative. I would get angry or take things personally, counting to three and taking away privileges several times a day. But I've worked really hard at taking a gentler approach to correcting my child, trying to see things from her perspective, and as it turns out I have a sweet and thoughtful kid who really tries to do the right thing (and it sounds like you do too). Of course they're going to need our guidance, but it sounds like you were giving that. Maybe that other mom has a kid that tries to get away with stuff, because they see that they're going to get punished either way, even when they're trying to do the right thing. Oh well. Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

I love how you acknowledged what you could have done and taught him what to do in the future. He wasn't "right" but you did say you would give him money so in his 5 yr old mind he was doing what he asked, just not the right way. How many times have we gotten our wires crossed? I think if this was not sneaky or malicious then it was a mistake and I agree with how you handled it.

I also think it is as important to show/teach kids what TO do as well as what not to do. This was a teachable moment.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm on the same page as you. My son just turned 5 a few weeks ago and he is still learning as he goes too so I totally understand your thought process on this. I would have talked to him about it at home, thanking him for being respectful of not interrupting (you taught him good manners!) but made him understand that he just can't take money like that from any one for any reason. Now if he does it again, then I wouldn't let him have the money. Then again after than, he'd really be in trouble!

What works for one child may not work for another child so the other mom's kids maybe would have done that again so they might need a stiffer punishment for the first offense so they won't do it again. You know your son and if a good talking to will prevent him from doing it again, then you did right by your child. If you start second guessing yourself and taking criticize (good or bad) and letting it eat at your brain, you might start becoming inconsistent and run the risk of being a marshmallow parent (the type that is all talk and no bark when it comes to their kids) and then your son WILL do that again and worse!

Keep up the good work :)
S.

1 mom found this helpful

No!, it was the first time he did it how was he to know he wasnt supposed to?, Now if he ever tries it again, yes a punishment is in order.

1 mom found this helpful

You handeled it fine. To give you another story. My mom was coaching my softball team and my sis wanted a snack at the snack bar. My mom told her in a minute. She waited her minute and got in my mom's purse and got "a dollar" which was a $20. She bout herself a snicker bar for $.50 and "got all this money back!!!" ;0) my mom saw her walking back with all her change and was like "where did you get all THAT???" My sis said "i gave the lady a dollar and she gave me all of this!!!" Sometimes if we don't live up to our promises to our kids "just a minute" they will come up with their own creative solutions. We know they are impatient and don't have a full context of time and WE can totally become distracted. If it becomes a thing then yes punishment. But 1 time and he never knew it was something he should not do. No way.

1 mom found this helpful

I am embarrased to admit that I might not have been as calm as you, but I wish I could be! I might have scolded my son, but not punish him. You did GREAT!! The other mom(s) should be ashamed of themselves for being so judgemental and high-and-mighty thinking their way is the only "right" way to rear children.

I have a news flash: NOBODY knows the right way!! We are all doing the best we can, and we all learn 'on the job!'

Oh! And guess what?! Children are ALL different and they don't come with instruction manuals!!! Parents are all different, as are parenting styles. Let it roll off your back...you could give THEM lessons!!

1 mom found this helpful

The deal is that he took something without asking. And he was impatient.
ie he stole your wallet out of your purse.
Apology or not I would have punished him.
He would have at least had a time out.
Stealing is a huge offence to me.

IMO you did a good job mom!!! Keep doing things your way & never mind what the other mom thought :}

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