Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Would You Do?

So tonight, Charlie Brown is riding his bike around outside all crazy. I tell him to be careful. He comes back with, "One time I tried to ride with my eyes closed and I almost crashed!" I told him, "Don't do that! You could really get hurt." SO he proceeds to tell me, in a very quiet voice, "Uh mom, I did crash. Into a black car. A Girl Scout car."

It took me a few seconds to process what he was telling me. I asked him what he meant. He said, "Remember the day you made s'mores with the Girl Scouts?" (That was about a month ago) I said, "Yes. Did you hit your bike into a car that night?" And he said, "Yes, but it was only a tiny TINY dent."Apparently this car belonged to one of the parents of the girls who were here that night.

Now, I firmly believe in honesty. So, my feeling is to email all of the moms and ask them if they noticed a dent in their car sometime after our Girl Scout meeting last month. But I feel awkward. Maybe they've already noticed and THEY feel awkward. Maybe they haven't noticed. Maybe it will create a really weird feeling between me and that parent???

Plus, how do I punish my kid? He was being honest and offering information without even being asked. And, how do I punish him without also punishing myself (if he's off his bike for a month, I can just hear now the whining, the begging, the pleading to ride his bike.)

So how would you handle it?

9 comments:

April said...

I would do a little detective work and find out who drove the black car. Then maybe check it for a ding. I mean, ask them if they got a ding in their car while at my house.

I would probably be to worried about myself, I mean the person driving the black car, to really punish him. It would be a quick "Don't ever do that again. K?"

Chris said...

How well do you know the parents? Are any of them the type of people who would blame a dent on your son even though they know he didn't do it?

As far as punishing him, I honestly don't know what I'd do in your situation. Seems like a lose/lose situation to me. Either you're teaching him that it sucks to own up to a mistake because you get punished or you're teaching him he doesn't have to take responsibility.

Does he have major issues with strangers? If not, perhaps the proper punishment THIS time would be to make him apologize to the person. Maybe he could write a letter of apology? Maybe do some light yard work for the car owner??

Noah's Mommy said...

That's a tough one...especially because it's been awhile...and you don't know who it is...or how big or small the dent really is...I think the no bike for a month is good...or only bike with supervision...for finding out about the bike...I believe in honesty too...but as a previous comment states...how honest will the other person be....

Ryan Ashley Scott@Opitimistic Cyicism said...

Oooh, that's a toughie. Yes, it's been a month, but every parent there has a child and will understand that your son didn't tell you until now. BTW, good for him, fessing up. It's hard to do that for a kid. Maybe if he gives you more details (where the dent was on the car, etc..) you could use that info to find out who's car it was and ask your son to tell them what happened (after you talked to them about it and made sure the adult would be appropriately responsive and not get too angry). I think it would be a good learning experience for him - to see that, while it's hard to do, being responsible for his actions can leave him feeling better than keeping a secret. Good luck.

Carrie Thompson said...

wow! Good times!

Um I dont know what I would do. I am all about the honesty too! I guess I would find out whose car it is and spefically go to that person and explained what happened. It would be up to you and the parent to come to terms and what should be done (like paying to fix it or just forgetting it happened?) I would also probably have my son send an apology note...

Like I said... good times...

Jen said...

this is what I would do, I would not punish the child any more except I would make him tell the person what happened and then offer to help pay for the damage. I think that this teaches that there are consequences in life for our actions more than having the bike taken away and that to me is what I would be trying to teach.

Anna See said...

I would find out who has the black car and approach them via email (I'm a wuss at phone calls). I'd apologize profusely and have him write an apology letter. Then, a big hug and some praise for telling you. You certainly want him to tell you next time something happens, so hopefully he'll feel safe to do so. Go Texan Mama!

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

I would do some digging to find out who has the black car before I embarrassed him in front of the entire group. Then, I would aplogize to them, but be prepared that they may want compensation. Also? I would take away his bike for a few days explaining that I would have taken it away for longer if he hadn't told you. However, he should have been honest when it happened. That is sort of lying, too. Regardless, a careless and destructive act cannot go unpunished in my book.

KEEP BELIEVING

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

That is a tough one...I conferred with hubby to get his thoughts, too, and we're on the same wavelength (grin!)

First, discreetly find out who owns a black car. Once you pinpoint who 'that' person is, then approach them however you feel comfortable (phone, email), and ask if they noticed a small dent in their car after that Girl Scout meeting at your house that night. (like someone else mentioned, get more details from your son about 'where' on the car he thinks he might have put a dent in it, what part of the bike hit the car, etc. You might be able to find it yourself if you see these people regularly, just scope out their car before approaching them on the subject).

For me, I've had mysterious dents 'show up' on my vehicle from being parked in a parking lot, so there's always the possibility that he didn't actually put the dent there, that he thought he did because he crashed into it and saw a dent...but once you find out whose car it was, you can find out if they noticed any dents in it specifically after that night.

As far as punishment goes, you don't want your son to not be honest with you on future things - be afraid to tell you the truth particularly on something you had no idea had already happened. If you punish him (take away his bike privileges) even for a short time, that sends the message that he'll get punished even when he's honest, so he may think why bother being honest? You wouldn't have found out if he hadn't told you about it, because obviously the owner of the car either hasn't noticed, or it was no big deal to them.

Explain to him, however, that you appreciate his honesty and that you're proud of him for telling you. Let him know that you will need to be honest with the car owner to let them know what happened, and find out what they feel is the best method of reconciliation.

Good luck with that - let us know how it gets resolved! :)