What do you say to a child that returns something they stole from you?

You are not the parent. A child that is NOT yours stole from you, then returned it for whatever reason.

I don't believe honesty should be punished. I believe empathy is good (but rarely instilled in a single interaction).

So, I wouldn't be like: "wow you're a jerk how could you have done this" or "the only thing I feel about your returning this is pure anger."

I'm thinking something like: "losing this made me sad, but I'm happy you were honest. If you asked, I might've let you borrow/use/have it." I wouldn't bully small children about it. I don't want them walking away crying for (in the end) doing the right thing. That teaches kids to lie...

I absolutely DO NOT want to punish honesty, but I want them to have some sort of negative consequence, even if it's just feeling bad because they understand that what they did hurt someone in some way(s).

I also don't want to do abusive threatening similar to threatening to destroy kids' property.

What would I say to a 3-year old, a 12-year old, a 17-year old?

tl;dr

A child that is NOT yours stole from you, then returned it. What do you say to a 4, 12, and 17-year old to discourage them from stealing again *without discouraging honesty*?

6 Answers

Relevance
  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    So your kid's friend stole something from you and returned it? It wouldn't be my place to punish regardless. I'm not their parent.

    I would thank them for returning it and being honest, but their parent would also find out about it and it's up to them to decide what to do from there. Returning it doesn't negate the fact that they stole it in the first place.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 6 months ago

    I would ask why they stole it. Then I would thank them for their honesty, ask what their punishment was, and tell them to do the punishment they earned.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • PR
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I agree with the statement you came up with. But, you are citing different ages. Did this happen, or are you just projecting?

    • allora6 months agoReport

      It's just hypothetical. I picked a spread of ages because a 4-year-old isn't going to understand the same answer one might give a 17-year-old, and I'm curious about how to go about it for all ages.
      (This is all basically a shower thought)

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    i would just say thanks for being honest enough to return it

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 6 months ago

    When you don't know what to say, just say nothing.

    • allora6 months agoReport

      interesting!

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 6 months ago

    Wow, your kid's have some pretty crappy friends

    • allora6 months agoReport

      I have no children and have worked with hundreds of children who I've never known to steal anything. being judgy is rly heckin unproductive :)

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.