The age of seven is not necessarily exact. However, most children at some point steal something. I remember slipping some M&M’s into the shopping bags at the local grocery. Stupidly, I ate them in front of my older brother, who correctly reported the offense to my parents. Even better than my memory of taking the M&M’s is my shame at being taken to the store to apologize, and to return the money owed. I was ashamed because I knew it was wrong.
Ricki also knows that stealing is wrong. Yet she is learning rather slowly that it doesn’t pay. On her way home last Tuesday she took a toy from an outside display. The next day she went to apologize and paid part of the debt with her allowance. Next week she will have to pay the balance. On Thursday she took three grapes from the vegetable store, despite my warning not to do so. Despite having successfully done a blood test that morning (for which she received a new song disk), her computer priledges where completely cancelled for the day. I feel strongly that the only way to put an end to this quickly is to be adamant about full and swift consequences of even the tiniest infractions. I just pray that she learns quickly.