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Family dynamics

08th Sep 2021

Is this mother a ‘hypocrite’ for punishing her kids differently? Her husband thinks so

Laura Cunningham

“He told me I was being unfair and was picking favorites and acting like a hypocrite”

As a parent, you soon learn that every new stage brings fresh challenges.

They also bring more joy, new experiences and an ever-growing bond, but we’re allowed talk about the hard bits too, right?

One challenge they don’t teach you about in the baby books, is teaching your kids how to be responsible with your stuff.

One mother had it all figured out, or so she thought until recently.

Taking to Reddit, she described how she taught her two eldest girls to borrow her belongings and treat them respectfully: “My girls are ages 21, 17, 13, and 10 (my son is 19 but he’s not really in this story). When my older two girls each turned 13 I showed them a jewellery box filled with cheaper jewellery and jewellery I didn’t care about. I told them if they asked first and treated the items with respect and care they can borrow whatever they want from it as long as they ask.”

So far, so good. Her older girls have been good with respecting her space and caring for what they borrow.

Recently though, her 13-year-old wanted in on the act and it didn’t go so well:  “The other day was my 13 year olds first day of 8th grade. I told her she could borrow these cheaper pearl earrings to wear to school. She was all for it. I told her about the jewellery box rules and she agreed and promised to return my earrings safely.

“Only she didn’t do that. She came home from school later without the earrings on. When I askes her what happened she told me she took them off for gym and left them in her locker but would bring them back tomorrow.

“I told her we would have a conversation about this after she brought the earrings back. Later I had opened up her backpack to put a permission form back inside it and to grab her lunch box when I pulled her lunch box out I found my earrings. Both earrings were bent out of shape one was missing the pearl and the other looked like it had been colored on.

“I called my daughter down and told her she could no longer borrow my things because I didn’t trust her. She got really upset and pointed out my 17 year old broke a diamond necklace of mine.

“I told my 13 year old that my 17 year old told me the minute it happened and offered to help pay for a new chain. And that if she hadn’t lied to me, I would not have banned her from my jewellery.”

The mother was happy with her decision, but her husband didn’t agree with it, as she explains: “Later when my husband came home he heard about the situation and told me I was being unfair and was picking favorites and acting like a hypocrite.”

Redditers, as ever, had plenty to say about the issue:

“You ARE picking favorites. Your favorites are the ones that are responsible and don’t lie to you. If they show that they are responsible, then they get privileges. Nothing wrong with that.”

“You set ground rules and now you are enforcing them. Your husband should back you up on this. This a lesson that she should learn now before it costs her more money down the road as an adult.”

“She’s experiencing a consequence of her actions. If this was a permanent ban I’d probably have a different opinion, but 13 is old enough to understand cause and effect.”

“This would be a great time to teach accountability. Discuss with her what she wished she had done instead, ask her what she thinks the consequences should be. Make her a part of the conversation. Taking away something she only recently got access to doesn’t leave space for much progress.”

What do you think? Should her daughter get another chance to prove herself, like her sister did? Or does the punishment fit the crime? And is her husband right to point out what he sees as a double standard? Let us know in the comments.