Crime and Punishment...

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Jem, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2009

    Hypothetical situation-how would you react?

    Your child goes to another person's home. They draw a smiley face on the patio table in marker. The smiley is about the size of a dime. They admit to drawing it, but cannot tell you why they drew it. This is totally out of character for them. What do you do?

    Or.....

    A child comes to your home. They draw a smiley face on the patio table at your home, but it does not belong to you-it belongs to the landlord. They come into the house to tell you they 'dropped' the marker on the table, and when you examine the table, you realize there is most def. a deliberate smiley face on the white table, drawn in bright pink. They can't look you in the eye or tell you why they did it. What do you do?


    Dh and I are stumped. To me, the natural consequence would be re-painting the table, as I HIGHLY doubt it will come off with soap and water. But dh pointed out that we do not want a child painting the table-it would look terrible. I'd love to hear your opinions.
     
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  3. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Kids just do stupid stuff.

    I'd have her scrubbing on it for a while even if you know it won't come off. I'd still have her scrubb on it. I'd also let her know how upset I am about her deliberately destroying your property.

    Then, I'd forgive her and roll on.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    And I would be sure that the child did not have access to markers the next time they visited.
     
  5. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Make her write two apology letters. One to you and if there is a landlord involved, one to the landlord.
     
  6. Dzenna

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    A lot depends on the age of the child. A 4 year old child and a 12 year old doing the same thing would have different motives and consequences.
     
  7. Jem

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    Nov 13, 2009

    10 years old
     
  8. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jem, 10 years old and maybe upset her parents have been out of town a lot and she is not in her own home and environment. An only child who the world revolves around who probably doesn't have the same understanding of the preciousness of a dime like we do. A 10 year old who isn't receiving adequate socialization from either siblings or classmates or school admin. because she is homeschooled. What would happen if she were in a "real" school? In my opinion, don't make a huge deal of it but there should be consequences. If it doesn't come out with scrubbing, tell her how many hours it would take you to sand and paint the table and assign her chores for that amount of time to make up for the time it will take you. In her everyday life, make sure she is cleaning up, etc. and you aren't doing it for her so she understands the value of hard work and the consequences of making messes.
     
  9. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    If it's my child going to another person's house, there are consequences. The actual punishment of removal of games or supplies or whatever is probably only secondary to the talking-down they'll get and the apology they'll have to give. I also offer whatever I can to the homeowner to compensate them.

    I think Hoot Owl has it about right for your response, given that you likely have some authority over her and aren't about to forbid her from ever entering your home again. Maybe she should be writing a letter of apology to her parents as well, in addition to the landlord and yourself.

    Yes, she should know better, and yes, kids sometimes do stupid things. This is definitely a stupid thing for her age, and you should let her know its beneath her, but at the same time don't plan to hold it against her forever.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    To follow up on what 3Sons has said, I have often found that an expression of profound disappointment goes much, much further than anger.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Yeah, all kids do dopey things at times. Try GooGone, shaving cream, whatever. Have her scrub it. Then tell her you wish she hadn't drawn on the table because it shows a lack of respect, something you are sure she didn't really intend, and you don't want her to do it again.
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Notify her parents. Tell them that you would like to make her wish that she had not written on the table.

    Give her a spray bottle of water and a paper towel. Tell her that she must remove the marks or face a severe consequence - namely her parents having to buy a new table.

    Allow her to unsuccessfully try to remove the marks for a given amount of time. When you feel she is sufficiently regretful, "help" her remove the marks with the appropriate cleaning products.
     
  13. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I think it was just a moment of not considering it was permanent marker and someone else's FURNITURE. James Dobson, the great teacher of parenting, explains it so perfectly. There is a difference between childish behavior - mistakes, not thinking, acting like a child - and open rebellion. Open rebellion requires swift correction, consequences, perhaps punishment. Childish behavior requires corrections and natural consequences, such as, Oh gee, no more marker out here! Sorry! Crayons only. Neither type of behavior requires any anger - anger is counterproductive. Stay calm, explain your disappointment in the action, and have the kid scrub the table. Then forget it and move on.

    At least it was a smiley, not some foul graffitti! The parents might replace the table, or you might just suck it up and paint the table yourself. That is part of parenting - sometimes you just suck it up and do what you can because the child is too young to fix the mistake.

    As for your other post about do our own children annoy us? Sometimes they do, but the love you have for your own child is so overwhelming, it draws out of a well of patience you do not know you have!
     
  14. Jem

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm over it. She told her mom this morning, but there was really nothing done. I'm done with it, but man. What a weird position to be in.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Yes Jem, it is an awkward position. I do think there is something that will clean the marker off - check at a hardward store.

    It is part of what you take on when you watch a child. I'm glad you are over it. Kids just sometimes do things without thinking. You have to be able to deal with it or overlook it if it isn't worth the hassle.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    If nothing has been done, then you're down one table.

    She would NOT be back in my home if she has no respect for it and her parents don't seem inclined to push for respect.
     
  17. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jem, I don't know what kind of material is on the table or what it's made out of, but I do know that the white board maker scribbled over the permanent marker seems to help.

    Otherwise, maybe goof-off?

    Oh, and sorry she's bugging you!!!
     
  18. Jem

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    The table was a matte paint. It wasn't shiny. The marker soaked into the paint. I think they used a matte spray paint or something on it. We'll try to use the Magic Eraser, but I'm thinking we'll have to cover it with white-out to get that matte look.
     
  19. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    If my child did this, I'd offer to repaint the table myself (with child "helping.")
    I would not offer to buy a new one, that's a punishment to me, not her.

    I have a 10 year old. She is definitely old enough to know not to draw on the table. THe parental response would bug me.
     
  20. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I also wonder why you seem to have her so much lately, Jem? Has this teaching job turned more into nannying? Is that ok with you?
     
  21. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I don't want to put too much out here, as it's all public. You can pm the question and I'll go into more detail with my thinking.
     
  22. Blue

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    From experience I know that Resovle will take permanent marker out of carpeting. It might work for you.

    Children just do things because it seems like a good idea at the time.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Doesn't sound like a hypothetical to me, EEK.

    Could be that while this kid seems like a member of your family at times, and you feel like a member of theirs, the truth is...neither of you are. Your student may be having mixed feelings at times about her family situation. Yes, they can provide her with many many rich and exciting experiences- but what about what REALLY matters? The parents have YOU- they feel comfortable leaving their child with you, you provide a safe and caring educational and 'babysitting' experience for their child but even the best teachers/nannies are not the parents. The kid drew a happy face and can't explain it- impulsive behaviors are hard to explain but there probably is some inner emotion driving that impulse...

    OK, stepping off my psychoanalytic box and into my Martha Stewart shoes. Try:
    Mr Clean Magic eraser
    Lestoil
    Bleach/water solution
    Nail polish remover
    Bon Ami/Comet/Ajax
    Soft Scrub
    (and have your student help trying all of these solutions- hey, you could make it into a 'consumer test' of sorts...as well as a valuable life lesson);)
     
  24. Major

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    Seems very simple to me. Tell the kids parents they owe you the amount it takes for the repairs...... then as a side note I wouldn't babysit the 10 year old again........
     
  25. RainStorm

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    This is, hypotheotically, the reason why you have to be careful not to cross the line between teacher and nanny. Teachers teach in their student's space, just like classroom teachers teach in a school. If a school table had been damaaged like this it would have been unfortunate, but not a major issue because school property is for student use. Yes the student would have been punished, but it is made for heavy use, and after the punishment, it would have been over, and things would go back to normal. No classroom teacher would expect a school desk to be replace due to a marker mark with a smiley face. That would be considered unreasonable. If a teacher took a student to her house and the child damage something, they would probably be told by administration that they shouldn't have taken them home, and by doing such took it upon themselves. Unfortunate, but true.

    THis is why it is best that you teach in her school space, and during as regular of a teaching schedule as possible. If not, it won't be long before you are a glorified babysitter (if you aren't already.) You have to ask yourself, what specific lesson was she being taught at your place in the first place? What lesson was it that couldn't possibly have been taught in her own school area? THere is nothing wrong with babysitting if that is what you want, but I know teaching is where your heart is. If you wanted to babysit you would have opened a babysitting service long ago.

    Once you cross that line, it is all but impossible to stop the downhill roll. Of course it was no big deal to her parents. It didn't really affect them directly, and you are in a precarious position. If you make a deal about it, you aren't a good nanny/teacher/babysitter. They don't expect you will make any kind of deal out of it. They probably feel they pay you well to deal with such matters. This is a problem babysitters have to deal with on a daily basis. Even if you got them to pay for the paint, you'd still have to do all the work, and they'd resent you for even asking for the paint. You are in a no-win situation.

    When a child isn't properly socialized, and feels "in the way" they act out. This is just the beginning. Unfortunately, you will see that soon enough. Hold on, it is just the beginning. They may feel like "family" when all is going well, but that changes the second something negative happens.
     
  26. Major

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    Excellent post, RainStorm.........:thumb:
     
  27. yarnwoman

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    I think RainStorm has said it best!
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    She has that talent.
     
  29. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    One day I was cleaning off our dining room table and saw a smiley face with crossed eyes- a definite Jeannie smiley. She lost her 'school money' for that day.

    I don't see this as an only child, homeschooled issue, I see it as maybe a bored, lonely child. Can you put her in activities, Jem? Surely there are homeschool groups/classes/library programs you could take her to, then buddy up to some moms to arrange playdates.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Can't imagine Jeannie was bored or lonely, Becky, you have her involved in so much.

    I think Jem's kid is a very different situation than a traditional home-school kid- she seems to be very busy, Jem certainly shares about their academic and other pursuits to put questions of boredom out of the discussion. I do think however that there are underlying issues...
     
  31. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    You probably know more than I because I haven't been around much lately. However, I have been homeschooling 5 years now. You can put a child in multiple activities per day even, but they also need unstructured friend time. So, yes, a child in Jeannie's or Jem's situation can be bored or lonely, no matter how much they are involved in. It's also true that if a child feels 'in the way', like Rainstorm said, they will act out. The child that used to hurt Jeannie was all but told outright she wasn't wanted, and I have long believed it was her parents' fault she behaved like she did.
     
  32. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Ace Hardware sells a product called Graffitti Remover. It is great. My two year old took Sharpie to my silver ice box and the wall. It took it all out. It was not a small spot.
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    OH, I definitely think there is a parenting/parent-child relationship issue at play here...that's why I think it's way different than your situation.
     

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