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Old 07-24-2007, 11:03 AM
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barbszy barbszy is offline
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Teaching Your Child to Do the Right Thing

Why is it that when you try to teach your child how to be kind, you wind up making him cry?

A few minutes ago, Adventure Boy came to the door. Luke said he didn't feel like playing, so I told Adventure Boy, "Luke doesn't want company right now." Well, Adventure Boy is not one to take no for an answer, and Luke is the curious sort, so (as usual) we wound up with two little boys, one on either side of the screen door, chatting. Adventure Boy told Luke to come outside and Luke did.

At that point, I figured that Luke had decided to play with Adventure Boy, and went back to cleaning up the dishes from lunch. Out the kitchen window, I saw the two of them running around in the backyard.

Then Backyard Neighbor Girl came outside. I saw her talking to the two boys, then coming into my yard, talking with them some more, and then starting to return to her yard. I couldn't hear the conversation but I got the sense that she was trying to tell them not to come over to her house. So I called the boys inside.

Luke told me that Neighbor Girl only wanted him to come over, not Adventure Boy. I said, "That's a problem, because he's here playing with you. So she can play with both of you or none of you."

Luke wanted to send Adventure Boy home but I said that was not OK, because he was playing with Adventure Boy first, and that he cannot dump one friend to play with another. There will be no "something suddenly came up" moments on my watch. Not if I can help it.

Cue the Luke Meltdown. I told him that if Adventure Boy went home, he still couldn't play with Neighbor Girl. He said he didn't want company, so I sent Adventure Boy home. And now I've got Luke crying and carrying on because he wants to play with Neighbor Girl--who has done this very thing to Luke in the past when she got a better offer from some other little girl!

Sometimes doing the right thing is hard. Whether you're 5, or an adult.
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