A certain child of mine, who we will call David, is having a learning experience that I'm glad that he is having. I'm not glad that it happened, but I'm glad that he will have the chance to see the consequences of his actions and learn from them.
I babysit one of his friend's after school. Today the kids all got out of school early. My other two school age children had friends over already for the day, so I was expecting these two boys to try to get a play date going when the other mother came to pick him up. When she came, my son David rushed up and asked if he could go over to their house. She was mulling it over, and I could tell that she had a lot going on today. While she was willing for "David" to come over later, she looked relieved when I suggested that her son stay at my house for a while, while she ran some errands. David had run to the basement while the grown ups did the negotiations. His friend was excited to be able to stay and play with David for a while. His mother left, and he ran downstairs to tell David the good news. My son was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to go to his friend's house, and started pitching a huge fit. I tried talking him out of it, pointing out that he was hurting his friend's feelings, and that he had a choice to make: 1) Get over it and enjoy having his friend over to play, or 2) Cry, act like a baby, and ruin the time they had together. Unfortunately, he chose #2. His friend felt so bad that he too was in tears and insisted upon calling his mother to come and get him right then. I tried talking him into staying, telling him that David would get over it in a minute, but he was frantic to leave. He ran upstairs and called his mother before I could stop him. This all happened so fast, that his mother couldn't have had time to do much more than to drive around the block.
In consequence, David now has no friend to play with for the day. The other mother did offer to let David come over later (not in front of him, thank goodness). I declined, he doesn't need to be rewarded for behaving that way.
I am sorry that this happened. But ultimately, I'm glad for the learning experience he is having.
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