Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Klepto

The comes a time in all of our lives when our kids come of age, and we start to teach them morals and values.  Honesty is a big one.  Now, under the heading of "honesty" comes several sub-categories like: lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  I think the first part of honesty we teach our little ones is not to lie.  Most all kids learn at an early age to lie.  Mostly it starts with, "Did you poop?"  We ask this question knowing full well what the answer is!  But don't act surprised when your kids lie and say "no" so they can continue playing and you can go on thinking you are either smelling something else or someone just has gas.

What makes me laugh, is that the kids actually act shocked and angry when you catch them in their web of deception.  Oh, please... how stupid do they think we are?

Right now, the Nutshell is suffering from a nasty bout of thievery.

Nephi, my youngest, "dearest" little guy... is a junior klepto.

I know, I know... it's just to horrible to admit.  But there's the truth.  This little guy may look innocent:

...but he's not!

This little man, just can't help himself!  He likes to put stuff in his pockets at the store, and he even tries to take things off people's back porches at our apartment complex.  Erk!

It all started a few weeks ago when some neighbors of ours bought a tomato plant and placed it just off their patio.  I thought for sure the boys would leave it alone... but I was wrong.

"Hmmm.... Are those little green balls growing on that plant?" Nephi probably thought when he saw the plant. "I'm going to pick them!"

He was so happy with his discovery that he brought them over to show me.


I told him it was wrong to pick people's plants.  That was stealing because they weren't ours!  I made him go over there and knock on their door.  When the lady answered I made him show her what he did and apologize.  She was pretty good about the whole thing... better than I might have been, because he picked ALL the green tomatoes on the vine.  She even refused my offer to pay damages.  I still feel badly about the whole thing...  (And don't think for one moment that Sam was sitting innocently by and had nothing to do with it... because I am pretty sure he instigated the whole thing -- so he had to go with Nephi and apologize too.)

Then a few days ago, we went to the gas station and while I was filling up my drink, Nephi helped himself to the gum.

Good grief!  Have I not been teaching my kids at all!?

I made him spit it out, show it to the cashier, pay for it, and then throw it away.  He thought that since we paid for it that he should get to keep it.  Two words:  Wrong-o Bong-o.  I think the lady cashier thought I was being mean when I threw it in the trash... maybe I was.  But I can't let my kids think I will buy them anything they put into their mouths in the store.  What kind of mom would I be?

So I ask a question to all you savvy parents out there:  How do you teach your little ones the value of honesty?



Ruth said...

Once upon a time, my mom use to wonder where stuff around the house would go. Then came the day that my sister moved out to live with her boyfriend. When we cleaned out her room, we found it all. She had been carting it to her room with her hands just taking it one thing at a time.

Britt said...

It sounds like you handled things well to me. I remember once my little brother stole and my father did just what you did. I don't remember my brother ever doing it again.

Heidi said...

When my sister-in-law catches her son doing stuff like that with the gum, she buys it and then daddy gets a treat. No treat for him.

Jill said...

I think you did the right thing. That happened with the little neighbor boy. His parents paid for it and then in the garbage it went. He didn't do it again. It is a hard lesson but being firm and consistent is important. I say be thankful it was just gum and not a bigger ticket item. Hopefully the BIG lesson was learned with a SMALL item. :)

Maranda said...

Mine is only 3 and we haven't gotten there yet but I would make her spit it out and throw it away too!

I am trying to instill the lessons in her early though. Like when we are grocery shopping. She will get to pick something and she wants to eat it right then. I tell her that we have to pay for it first because it's not ours until we pay. Hopefully this will help stave off any thievery attempts later but who knows.

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

Ohhhhh man!!! I think it's nearly as horrifying as a parent to have to march your little kleptos over to those they have wronged! Been there!

Meagan and John said...

I nannied years ago and while the mom was out of town I took the kids to get milk shakes (in Fillmore at the Burger King/gas station) and when I was doing laundry that night I found a pack of gum, the same pack that the little girl (whose pocket it was in) had asked me to buy and I said no, so, with all the kids in their pajamas I dragged them back to the gas station, she was kicking and screaming, I told her she would be lucky if the cops weren't waiting to arrest her, I drug her back into the store with her own money and made her pay for it (she was in her pajamas) and then made her distribute the gum to all the people at that location, the gum she just paid for with her own money she had to share with every one and she didn't get a piece--the lady reported years later that she has never had an issue with her kids stealing, and that once the topic came up and her younger son pointed out how if you steal the cops take you to jail