Something Lost Equals Lesson Learned by Dina Ramon
How wrong is it for me to intentionally make my daughter feel guilty for losing something in order to stress to her the importance of being responsible and careful about what she does with things? Is it asking too much of an 8-year-old to expect her not to misplace something of value? She’s actually quite responsible for a young child – and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom – so I really blame myself for taking her good track record for granted. Typically I follow her money trail. She’s given a regular allowance and I watch her put it in her pink ceramic piggybank. So I know the money makes it in there and that’s where it stays. She doesn’t remove it unless she has saved up for something, takes out a few bucks and puts it in her polka dot wallet for safekeeping until she’s ready to buy. Recently she was given a gift card by some family friends; nothing extravagant but a thoughtful and nice surprise for her. I let her take control of it which in hindsight was probably not the wisest choice; she’s only received a couple of gift cards in her young life and since it can’t fit in her piggybank it probably doesn’t have the same impact on her as cash. I saw her put it on her desk and that’s where I assumed it would stay until we had a chance to use it. But when that opportunity presented itself recently, the card was nowhere to be found. I was fine at first since I figured it probably just got buried under her school stuff or tucked into a book. But after we’d searched for half an hour in the places in her room where she was ‘sure’ she put it, I gave up; and was beyond frustrated that she couldn’t remember what she had done with it. I tried to keep my cool but I was upset. I was short with her. I wanted her to understand that she should have been more careful with this generous gift she was given. And here came the lecture…. She said she understood, then she cried and apologized. That made me feel guilty thinking I was being too hard on her. I used my own experience, telling her how I once accidentally threw away a gift card and had to accept that it happened because I had been careless. She never complained about not being able to get anything or whined about not having another gift card. I do believe that she truly grasped the consequence of her action and regretted it. I also recognized that I failed by not having a discussion with her when she got the card about how she should put it somewhere for safekeeping, just like she does with her allowance. I hope we both learned a lesson by this.