The single mother comes home after a long day of work. The little girl, (Sara) is approximately 4-5 years old. Her mother realizes that someone there are small pieces of M&M's sprinkled around this kitchen floor, and assumes that her child has been eating the candy instead of waiting until after dinner. The mother asks Sara if she has been eating candy, and Sara looks down at the floor and adamantly denies that she has had any candy. She states that she has spent the afternoon watching television and painting pictures with grandma. Mom and child have been working on learning the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie and the mother is certain that the little girl has indeed been eating the candy. Telling lies is typically of children in this age group. Children may lie for several reasons, including trying to get something they want but typically they lie to avoid getting into trouble (Parents, 2003). Mom can tell that Sara is trying to avoid getting into trouble.
Developmentally the little girl has not developed impulse control yet and probably couldn't stop herself from eating the candy. She did not eat the candy out of malicious intent. Sara most likely did not have the forethought to see ahead in the future and assess what the consequences would be if she ate the candy before dinner. Her motor skills are not yet developed enough either to prevent her from spilling some of the candy on the floor unintentionally, and her observational skills not yet as acute to make her realize that spilling candy on the floor might reveal her transgressions to her mother.
The mother stays calm in the hopes that this will make it easier for Sara to tell the truth. The mother states, "Gee, I wonder where that bag of m & m's is, I was hoping to make some cookies after dinner tonight!" Sara claps her hands together and runs into the pantry, grabbing the open bag of candy from the bottom shelf. "Here it is!" she exclaims jubilantly, excited at the prospect of having cookies after dinner, and not realizing that her mother has attempted to point out that the little girl must have opened the bag of candy.
How interesting, I thought this bag of M&M's was closed when I brought it home from the store, but perhaps we have some mice running around the house!" The mom smiles at her daughter, who looks up at her in horror. "No way mom! We don't have any mice; I opened the bag myself earlier today!" The mom smiles at her child's admission that she got into the bag of candy. Sara looks at her mom apologetically and wrings her hands, and decides to take a seat in the chair at the table. The mom realizes that it is important to teach her daughter how to undo her mistakes and not overreact.
A understand you might have been scared to tell me the truth about eating candy before dinner. I remember when I was a kid my mom made a huge batch of brownies for a party we were having. They smelled so good and I watched her making them all day. I couldn't wait to try one. My mom placed them all in a pretty dish and then left them sitting on the counter. I was so excited to have a brownie at the party, but my tummy kept rumbling and rumbling. When my mom went to put the trash out, I grabbed one of the brownies and ate it in the bathroom. Later that night uncle Jim came over and he didn't get a brownie, because there weren't enough to go around. I realized that if I hadn't eaten that one brownie earlier, and one at the party there would have been enough brownies for everyone. I felt very sad and cried to my mom when I told her what happened."
Sara looked up at her mom wide eyed and lip quivering. "I'm sorry mom, I just wanted so bad to have candy. Maybe we shouldn't have cookies tonight because I had some sweets already today. Can I help you make dinner instead?"
Mom smiles and realizes her daughter has learned that she does not have to be afraid of telling her mother the truth, and that sometimes it is hard to control our urges but important to try to do our best. Sara also comes away knowing her mom understands her and sympathizes with her needs.
Grandma is getting ready for church on Sunday. Sara is pouting on the couch dressed in her Sunday best. Some friends of hers are going to get ice cream today, and she is upset she can't accompany them because her grandma insist they go to church together. Sara looks up at her grandma as she enters the room and exclaims it is time to go. "I don't want to go to church today. I don't even believe in God, I believe that God would want me to have ice cream today." Grandma smiles, and understands that negativity will only enforce more negative behavior. "Church is stupid anyway, we just sit in pews for hours while the reverend moans on and on about being good. I think I am good already."
Grandma again smiles and remarks, "What makes you feel that way?" Sara looks down at her shoes and frowns. "All my friends don't have to go to church every Sunday, I am the only one and I don't get to do fun things with them like go get ice cream." Grandma smiles, "I can see how that might make you feel upset. Didn't you have ice cream just yesterday night though? Remember, we went to Ben and Jerry's!" Sara smiles at her grandma.
Yes, I had a big chocolate cone with sprinkles on top! But Mary and Paul couldn't come because they had to do there homework." Grandma nodded, "Yes sometimes we all have some things to take care of before we can have ice cream or visit with our friends. Didn't you have a good time in church last week?"
Yep. We learned about the disciples, and today we get to read from the Holy Book!" Sara jumped up.
That sounds exciting. Are you going to read to everyone today?" Sara nodded. "I can't wait to read from the book and share the good word." Grandma smiled again. "Perhaps we can stop for some ice cream after church?" Sara nodded and grabbed her grandma's hand as they walked out to the car.
Sara is getting together with her dad this Saturday to go to the park. At the park Sara smiles at her dad and plays in the sandbox with several other children. Her dad knows that she has been taught to share and typically interacts well with other children. Sara keeps glancing over at her dad, as if she is afraid he will wander away and get lost if she doesn't keep an eye on him. She is establishing a pattern of fear because she knows that sometimes daddy goes away for long periods of time.
While playing in the sandbox, Sara begins to build a castle. Several other children sitting around her are also building sand castles, but they are working together in groups. Sara occasionally glances over at the other children and watches them laugh and play. She mumbles something to herself silently however and continues to work on her castle alone. Her dad glances over at her, a frown forming in his brow. He is concerned that his daughter is becoming anti-social, and wonders why she doesn't want to socialize with the other children in the play ground. Most children at…