Thursday, May 23, 2013

Breakfast Larceny

Mother has child arrested for stealing her Pop-Tart
According to a news report, a mother in Charlotte, North Carolina had her child arrested on suspicion of stealing her breakfast toaster pastries. She allegedly wanted to teach her child a lesson. As the mother of three boys and a trusted adult to many of their friends, I've employed logical consequences to teach many a lesson. I've read the story a few times now, but am having great difficulty understanding how having one's child arrested for taking one's toaster pastry constitutes sound parenting.

Were the alleged toaster pastries under lock and key? Did the mother have her name on the box with clear instructions for her child not to touch her food? If her child grabbed an apple on his way to his desk to finish his homework, would his mother have turned him for stealing fruit? Does each family member have his or her own individual pantry? No matter what direction my imagination takes me, I cannot fathom a situation in which a child taking a toaster pastry in his home could constitute larceny. 

I'll admit that I have no idea how food is handled in other households. In ours, we buy food for the family. Everyone adds to the list of groceries based on needs and wants. Hubby and I plan meals. The pantry and refrigerator are common areas to which all family members have free access. In short, my children are allowed to eat the food we purchase and prepare. 

The pantry, including the food, is shared space
in our household. Mangia, mangia!
Of course, out of respect, they don't touch the contents of my Valentine's Day candy box. And while there have been years when one or two chocolates have gone missing, I certainly didn't fire up an investigation and have one of my children arrested. 

If I found out my child was in possession of street drugs, stole a friend's iPod, or took a neighbor's car joy riding, yes, I would have the child arrested to teach him a lesson. For the missing Valentine's Day treats, I simply made Brussels sprouts and sautéed spinach for supper and then cut off the boys' supply of cookies and desserts for a week. 

Unless there is a lot more to the story, I say FREE THE TOASTER PASTRY KID! 

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

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