Sunday my two boys (4-1/2 and 6) purposely broke two of the spindles off the back of one of my dining room chairs. They wanted to use them as swords, magic wands, fishing poles, etc. Obviously, I was quite upset. They were spanked (not beaten) and were confined to their room until supper.
Since neither receives allowance or has money to speak of I decided to have them perform an unpaid job for me as restitution. They had to fill two buckets with "gumballs" that had fallen in the yard from our sweet gum tree. The 6-yr old did this very slowly and with much complaining but completed the task. The younger only fiddle-farted around in the yard. I kept him out there until 7:30 pm when it got too dark, but he had only filled one bucket.
Is this punishment adequate? How can I better "lower the boom?" Do I continue punsihing the younger until he's picked up a second bucket of gumballs? How can I better teach the respect of "things"? And more importantly how can I teach repentance?
After dinner the 6-yr old was looking at a Toys R Us flier and saw a trampoline. He asked how much it was. I told him. He said "That's a lot" to which I replied "Yes, it is, but not as much as the chair you broke." His response was "Come on, mom, get over it."
So at this point I'm more concerned about the lack of remorse and the apparent non-comprehension of what was so wrong with purposely breaking furniture.