One of my daughters called me up to her room during quiet time to tell me something was broken. Uh oh! I went up there to find the CD player I had loaned her with two buttons irreparably mashed in and the speaker dented. She didn’t do it on purpose, she said, but looking at it, my eyes told me otherwise. I might have understood if she had accidentally dropped it from a window!
Then came the inevitable decision of how we should handle it. I talked to my husband and showed him the CD player. Finally, we decided that she should have to pay for at least half of it. So I took her piggy bank into her room and opened it on her carpet. She watched me count the coins to equal half of the amount of the CD player. I put the money in a ziplock baggie. She was heartbroken! Then I told her that she could earn her money back at $1 a day, by doing up to four extra jobs for me.
Were we too hard on her? Too easy? How have you handled a similar situation?
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.
Nancy @ el vigilante says
There has to be some consequence to this type of behavior. I feel you handled extremely well. Good for you, Mom and Dad! 🙂
I think you did the right thing. My son, who is disabled and is now 40, was always breaking things as a child. He was rough on things and still is. He tends to buy items and then the next year he is buying a new one. He always says it is not his fault. But of course, now he is the one paying for it. I think I should have been more forceful on making him replace items he broke as a child and maybe he wouldn’t still be doing it now.
That doesn’t really work very well on my son, he thinks that his penny bank has a never ending supply “that’s ok, I have more $” My daughter on the other hand is crushed when I have to do such things, of course she is more careful with things for that reason. Good job mom!
I had one daughter who would do all kinds of chores and save up her money. I had another who didn’t care about money unless she could be on the way to the store immediately. We’ll see how this one turns out. She obviously cares about the money, but I hope she cares enough to earn more.
Great job mom and dad! That child will learn responsibility. My kids don’t even have the option of earning it back that way. Be strong!
My kids don’t have any source of income. We don’t give them an allowance or regular opportunities to earn money. So they money they have is dollars and cents that they’ve been given or that they’ve found on the ground. That’s the main reason we decided to let her earn it back. We’ll see what happens!
A few days ago our six year old was drinking from a plastic cup at the dinner table and without really thinking just took the thing and squeezed it so hard it cracked down the side. I just stared at her. She casually looked down at it, gave a short laugh and said flippantly, “Oh! I didn’t know it would do that. It’s broken!” She tossed it onto the table.
Well, to me a plastic cup is really no big deal, but it was heart of the matter that I really didn’t like: she absentmindedly was being destructive and laughed it off like it was just a small oddity in life that things break under pressure. So after a brief consult with Dennis I sent her upstairs to get her money…
Anyway, all that to say I think you did the right thing and that perhaps both our girlies will be a little more cautious in the future… 🙂
Rakel McDuff says
Something similar happened to us in the last few months. We are staying in my husbands Great Aunt Wanda’s house. Our kids had been playing with a fan and we told them not to that if they did it again they would be in trouble. Well one day I was awakened to a loud noise and my kids laughing and then my son saying lets see if I can hear it from the living room. Next I hear a crash and the loud noise continues. My son comes in where I am still laying in bed with my eyes closed and tells me “Stacy broke the fan”. I go into their room to see the fan still going the front part of the cage off and one of the blades broken. I then let him know that I knew both of them had broken it and that they both would have to pay for the fan. I emptied out both of their piggy banks on the floor (we had counted the money a couple weeks earlier so I knew how much they had). I gave each of them a zip lock bag and had them put their money in it. We then went to Walmart where I had them empty their bags into the money machine and have it changed over to dollars. From there we went to get a new fan. Randy learned the lesson he will not touch the new fan. Stacy on the other hand I find still moving the fan around the room from time to time.
When my son was about 10 years old, he came home from school to an empty house for about an hour before I got home. He called me crying because he found a BOTTLE ROCKET and lit it in the house from my gas stove! While trying to run with it to the outside it shot downward to the floor and he stepped on it to keep it from shooting around everywhere. It burned a hole in the carpet. Needless to say, it scared both of us to death. Aside from the punishment of him playing with fire, we went to a carpet store to price how much it would be to replace 1 square foot. He was made to pay for a square foot of carpet.
I think you did the right thing. My son still talks about that lesson.
Patti Hanan says
Esther, You handled this beautifully. Children need to be held accountable for what they do. This way they learn respect and responsibility. Your daughter will learn that her actions have consequences, and she will be more careful in the future. She also sees that her parents are loving and fair, and want her to learn from her mistakes.
My kids aren’t quite old enough for this yet, but we try to express extreme sadness when they do something crazy that causes things to get broken. I like the solution you used. ~Jessica
When I was younger…
My mom and I picked up my brothers (about 10 at the time) from school one day. Mom yelled back, “Everyone belted in?” meaning seatbelts. Both boys said yes and off we drove. Except when we exited the school parking lot, we got stopped by a cop and ticketed because one of the boys didn’t have their seatbelt on. Meaning he lied about it when Mom asked him. Mom made him pay for the ticket. It was $50 and to a 10 year old, that was a LOT of money. He’s 28 today and a total MISER when it comes to money because of that lesson.
Yeah, you were tough on her, but my gut feeling is it will “stick”.
I don’t think you could have handled this more perfectly.
wendy faber says
I see a couple of issues here. First, your daughter obviously damaged the CD player on purpose. Second, she compounded that issue by lying about what she had done.
I agree that she should have to pay at least part of the replacement cost of the CD player from her money.
However, if she is doing something like this on purpose and lying about it, you have bigger problems with her. I think you need to question her at length and get to the bottom of it. Why was she so angry she would do something like this? Why does she think she can lie to you?
I don’t know how old she is because you didn’t say. However, if she is under twelve, I would add another consequence to her punishment. Unless, I was satisfied she was telling the truth, she would get a spanking too. Lying and deliberately destroying property are serious issues.