My five year old has been being naughty with scissors at school. I noticed that she had cut her clothing and snack bag and then the teacher noticed that she was putting the scissors in her mouth and removed them from my child’s station. At the art station today, my child was upset because another student wouldn’t share, so my child cut the other student’s hair. I made my child apologize to the mom and student as well as write a letter of apology. What would be a just consequence for this situation?
The apology as well as the note to the other student satisfy the need for your child to make amends. An appropriate consequence would be to remove for a set amount of time one “five year old” privilege that your child currently enjoys. The more frequently the child usually enjoys this privilege, the more likely this lesson will be learned quickly. Does your child get a few minutes on the computer or a video game each day? Is there a set time when he or she gets to watch a favorite show? Is there a special event that he gets to participate in that a younger sibling does not, like a later bed time or more time to read at night? Any of these would be appropriate items to remove in order to teach your child this lesson of responsibility. A week of missing the privilege is probably a good length of time to start with. After this, evaluate the attitude and the behavior with the intention of reinstating the privilege if appropriate.
The purpose in this is to convey to your child that the favored activity is connected to a certain type of behavior. Using scissors inappropriately and lashing out at a fellow student is not the behavior that earns a perk and is a very serious offense. The better you are able to communicate this now, the more likely it is that your child will not be repeating this kind of behavior in the future. When you see responsible behavior again, then the privilege will be reinstated. Make sure that the length of time is significant enough that your child recognizes the seriousness of lashing out at a classmate. During the designated time of consequence, if your child asks for the privilege calmly remind them that this particular privilege is for children who know how to be responsible and when she shows responsibility again, she will be able to enjoy the privilege again.
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