It’s bad enough when you’re little one destroys furniture in your own house, but even worse when it happens in someone else’s house.
We were enjoying a lovely thanksgiving celebration – great wine, food, conversation, until…. My four year old son decided to write his name in pen on our host’s leather couch. As you can imagine, that did not go over well. The hostess, gracious as always, was lovely about it. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop tripping over myself to apologize for my child.
He did apologize for himself, but to be honest did not seem to grasp the severity of his choice. We wound up leaving rather quickly as I did not want to discipline him with an audience and I didn’t feel comfortable lingering after this embarrassing turn of events.
I’m still not quite sure what possessed my child to this act of vandalism, but I am nonetheless embarrassed by it and can’t help but blame myself for his digression. Have I failed to teach him respect for others and their property? Should I up the ante on our discipline (like spanking or harsher punishments so he realizes the gravity of his choices?) He seems to understand that it was a bad choice, but how do I know that it’s enough? And worse still, how do I know this won’t happen again?
While much has been written about how narcissistic parents need to realize that their children are separate entities and not an extension of themselves, it is really hard not to feel personally responsible and embarrassed when they misbehave, especially when they cause harm to others or their property. I have offered to pay for cleaning, but frankly even if the stain can be removed, I feel the damage will linger.
I worry that this incident harmed my friendship with the hostess who is lovely. And, I would be frankly shocked if they ever be invited our family back. This makes me immensely sad. It’s hard enough to find a great friend whose husbands and kids you like. When your child’s behavior compromises that relationship, it is truly unfortunate and sad.
Have you ever had a friendship suffer as a result of your child’s choices? What happened and how did you handle it?