Dylan, my five year old son, started a new trend the other day of .... dare I say - STEALING. What!!!? Where in the world ... I know it is a normal development, but I am still not ok with it. It is the same development stage as lying, kids trying to push the lines, want what others have and think taking is ok. I know, I know.
Friday we picked up the kids from the sitter and took the family to Cafe Rio! Yum. As we were eating, a toy fell out of Dylan's pocket. I'm so grateful I have fostered an open line of communication with my son. I asked him what, whose and where. He told me he took it from the sitter's house, it was her boy's toy and he took it because he wanted it for himself, "so no one would play with it, but him." We had the discussion of stealing and that it was wrong. He didn't get to play with it because we wanted to reinforce that it was not ok to steal.
Thinking the issue was taken care of, we went about our business. Today, at 830am, we went to a Relief Society (a sisterhood of women in our neighborhood sponsored by our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) breakfast. Dylan woke up with me and wanted to go. Just Dylan and me went, it was fun! At the end we started putting the nursery toys away. As we were headed out Dylan was fiddling with his pockets. I told him to go put away whatever he had. He got upset and marched back to the toys and threw them in. At that point, we had another discussion about stealing.
Once we got into the car he said, "I'm never having fun with you again!" I told him that was his choice but it did make me sad. He said it made him sad too. I took the opportunity to enlighten him that the choice was his for happiness and etc. Then I told him about trust and making wrong choices would teach me not to trust him. I used the story of him stealing to help him understand. Lastly, I explained to him if he stole, the police could come and put him in jail! This was a scare tactic I had heard other parents use in the past and figured it would help since the first time didn't. At this point, he said, "I would rather not go to jail." I loved it. It was hilarious and so hard not to laugh. I said I would rather he didn't either so let's stick with good choices. He agreed and now ... the future will tell.
How interesting that children do not need to be taught how to lie, steal, be selfish and self-centered, manipulate and get what the want. It comes naturally. It really makes me think of the age-old question - "Is man naturally good and have to learn to be evil or is man naturally evil and have to learn good?" Nature vs. Nurture, I guess? Still a forever-long discussion, I guess.