When Kids Steal

By Sabrina Schlesinger

MY KID IS A KLEPTO!!!

Ok....not really, but let me tell you what happened recently in our home.

My son, who is super sweet and five, was at preschool for the day. When dad picked him up and brought him home, he was not so subtly protecting his pocket. (Don't you just love the age where they give themselves away!) 😏 After further investigation we discovered that our little guy swiped a Lego from school that he really wanted to add to his collection.

In our home we honor God and His Bible. We believe that having a healthy fear of the Lord will actually save our lives. Although we are forgiven of our sins, we often still have to face consequences for our actions and the choices we have made.

Proverbs 1:7 says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...

So here is how I handled this situation...With calm and concern I shared with him first that stealing is a sin. I also told him he broke the law. I said that because I am a good mommy, I am not going to protect him from the consequences. When I told him I was going to have to call the police to let them know my son broke the law, the tears started flowing. He was soooooo worried that he would have to go to jail. I could have stopped there and a lesson could have been learned, but at his age, preschool and elementary, these are crucial times for our kids to learn BIG lessons that don't have the same weight of consequence as it will when they are older. 

I knew it wasn't the time to OVERREACT emotionally, but it was the right time to make a BIG DEAL of it. So I called "Officer Smith" (a.k.a. Dad who was in the garage) right then and there. When Officer Smith wanted to talk with the boy who broke the law (in a hilarious accent) our son stood at attention and answered every questions with respect. My son "pwomised" he would never steal again. Officer Smith said that rather than going to jail this time...since it was his first (and hopefully last) offense, he would give him one hour of community service, return the stolen item, and have a time out. Lesson learned and now our front driveway is swept clean! I call that a win-win! 👊🏻😏

How we react when our kids mess up is so important. Yes, I made this a really big deal, but I didn't scream at him, I didn't get shocked by his choices, I wasn't even stern in my tone. I know that if I overreact emotionally at failures and mess ups,  I am communicating nonverbally to my kids, "I am not a safe place to fail." That is the LAST thing I want my kids to get from me. I want them to run to me when/if they mess up, big or small, and know that I won't ever reject them and will love them through it all. But I also want my kids to know that I am not going to rescue them and enable their bad choices. Because when I do stand in the way between their choices and receiving their consequences, I am harming them.

At this age when they are small, the aftermath of their choices don't have much weight or longevity...but as they get older, their decisions will have bigger ramifications. My job is to teach them the hard lessons NOW so the police, their employer or the judge doesn't have to teach them the hard lessons THEN. I am choosing to parent my kids with 20 years in mind rather than 20 minutes.

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Sabrina Schlesinger

I am officially middle-aged! I have gone up the hill and am now SLOWLY going down the other side.

I am married to my best friend! No really! Our first 10 months of dating were spent entirely in group settings, either working along side each other in ministry or at our families homes. We never had alone time. We never held hands. We never kissed. So we had a great amount of time to talk and really get to know each other. We read books, received counsel from our pastors, discussed our strengths and weaknesses in front of our parents, and built a foundation of friendship that I am forever grateful for. And let me tell you...when we did have our first kiss 10 months in....there were fireworks baby!!!! We are approaching our 17th anniversary and co-pastor Grace Church in Oceanside, CA. We are living out or dream and calling side by side.

I am a mom of 4. We have three girls and a boy.

When we gave birth to my first girl, Sophie (now 16), we thought we were amazing parents. She slept through the night, hardly every fussed, was beautiful and easy. First child syndrome...I know.

When I gave birth to Mattie (now 14) nearly two years later everything changed. She was colicky from the start, she had red raspberries on her face that turned BRIGHT RED when she screamed...so that was all the time, and as she grew, it didn't get any better. I seriously thought at one point she was demon possessed because her outrageous fits where over the top. I could often be found in a fetal position crying when Matthew, my husband came home. Little did I know then that Mattie and her over-the-top fits would be the catalyst for so many future ministry moments with other moms in desperate need of help and advice on raising toddlers...who too were crazy!

We thought we were done. After Mattie I was like, "No way, I can't risk having another kid like that! The only way I will get pregnant again is if God speaks to me directly, and I don't think He is planning that." Welp....I was wrong. I heard God speak to me one night as I was at a conference that we were to have a third child and He spoke some very special promises to me about this child. So out popped Lillian (aka Lily - now 11).

Lily wass one of those babies that everyone gravitated too. She had and still does have a spirit about her that is so welcoming, loving, and kind. People just love her and she loves people. I am so glad I obeyed the Lord on this one. After Lily we felt done. This time Matthew said, "If we are supposed to have any more children, God is going to have to speak to me directly." Fast forward 9 years!

In August of 2016 we were on a much needed family vacation, the five of us. It was at this time that God whispered in the ear of my husband that we were to adopt a child from our county. Matthew told me what God said and of course, I said, "Let's do it!" I will write another post about our adoption story later, but November 1st, 2017, at age 4 1/2, Shawn (now 6) came into our home and became our son.

I am a freelance graphic designer by trade and a pastor by calling, but I felt like there was something more I should be doing. Recently I asked myself a question..."What brings me life?" It was easy for me to answer. I LOVE helping young moms navigate through motherhood. I love giving advice to help moms get through tough and trying seasons of life. There is a generation of moms out there who have broken relationships with their own mothers and feel like they have no one to turn to. That breaks my heart. No mom should have to go through life alone with nobody to lean on. And this is where Mom Mentor was birthed.

So that is me in a nutshell. I am pretty simple, not high maintenance, a lover of mac-and-cheese and chai lattes, and slightly obsessed with all things dystopian. I am glad to have met you and I look forward to our journey together!

Love & Blessings,

Sabrina