A lesson in consequences

Today, my son learned an important lesson about breaking things.  Shortly after I arrived home from work, I changed clothes and went in the back yard to play with my kids.  Thomas, in his usual act before he thinks temperament, decided to go to the front yard, take one of pumpkins destined for carving and bring it to the back yard.  He then proceeded to toss the pumpkin from the deck multiple times until it broke in two.

We had bought three pumpkins for three kids so each could carve one for Halloween.  Since Thomas broke one of those, the only just consequence I could see was that he would be unable to carve a pumpkin.  I told him this and of course he broke down sobbing.  After a couple minutes and brief conversation with my wife, we came up with an alternative.  He could choose not to carve a pumpkin or he could pay for a new pumpkin from his own money.  He, of course, did not like this choice.  After crying for a couple minutes and tackling his sister out of frustration, he stormed up to his room.  We did not hear from him in almost ten minutes.  Worried that he was venting is frustrations in a silently destructive manner (not an unknown with Thomas), I went up to see how he was doing. He had closed his bedroom door and moved his toy chest in front of it.  When I tried to open it, he yelled at me that he wanted to be left alone.  So I let him have his space.  About ten minutes later, Thomas came down stairs and handed me the money for a new pumpkin!  BREAKTHROUGH!!!  He finally, finally, finally accepted responsibility for his behavior.  He had gone upstairs to think and he (as far as I can tell) realized he was at fault for the smashed pumpkin.  He was willing to forgo a new toy in order to replace the pumpkin.  When he came down, he did not complain any more and wanted to go with me to the grocery store to pick a new one. 

All in all, a good end to what could have been an ugly day.

1 comment:

  1. Great post John. Watching a child learn valuable lessons is a beautiful thing even though it can be unpleasant in the beginning.