Following Directions

Crash loves to go for a walk to the local corner store with his friend (a teenager who lives next door). This evening he asked if he could go while I was mowing the yard. Of course, I said yes. But I told him he wasn’t allowed to get anything because he’d had his daily intake of junk already (Nanny and Pop had taken him to DQ for ice cream). He asked “what about a piece of gum?” I told him no, he wasn’t to get anything. He wasn’t happy, which meant he understood my direction.

Half an hour later he returns with his friend and shows me the piece of gum he got from the store. I know he didn’t take any money with him so I also know he got that quarter from his friend.

Here’s my dilemma.
1) It’s just a piece of gum. So what?
2) I told him not to get anything, yet he still did. Even if it was just a piece of gum.
3) He got money from his friend to get that piece of gum.
4) It was just a quarter.

I don’t want to over react over a piece of gum. But I don’t want to let it slide either because he did something I specifically told him not to. Also, he had to get money from his friend to get that gum. I know it was just a quarter and it was also just change left over from whatever she got for herself. But I don’t want him asking friends for money so he can buy himself stuff. Even if it is just a quarter. Even if it is just a piece of gum.

I was still mowing upon his return and I gave him a stern “I thought I told you NOT to get anything”. I could tell he clearly understood my disappointment from his expression. Later, while I was helping him get ready for bed I explained to him that if he couldn’t do as I asked he wouldn’t be allowed to go with his friend any more. He knows I’m serious.

It’s just a piece of gum.
I told him to get nothing, yet he still did. Is it too far of a leap to “I told you no drugs”?

What would you have done?

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3 thoughts on “Following Directions

  1. Eric, I think you were right and I may have taken the gum from him, no gum means no gum. The twins I babysit did something similar, they wanted to pick cans up in the yard after summer party. Scott had just done this but I gave them a bag and said go ahead. Shortly they came in saying they needed another bag, I gave them one. Once they were out the for I followed them. Because Scott and I had said they could keep what they found, they decided to go into the claimed cans and fill their bags from there. I made them put them ALL back. It just cans, but theft is theft. They knew they were Scott's. They didn't ask. To me it was a moral lesson.

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