This is the third in a series of stories to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Momania. We are flashing back to some of our favorite columns and blogs. This June 3, 2007 column represented a lot of what we discuss on the blog – ethical dilemmas while rearing our kids. How do you handle things in front of your kids? There may be an easy way but is that the way you want to teach your kids?
Pop quiz, hotshot. You’ve just left Target with your purchases. You’ve locked your three kids in their car seats when you notice two boxes of breast pads that were overlooked by you and the cashier. They were not paid for. Your 6-year-old daughter also notices. What do you do? What do you do?
Do you unhook all three kids and slog back into the store to pay for the items? Do you leave the items in the shopping cart in the parking lot? Do you take the items home and return them on another shopping trip? Do you just take them home without paying?
Parents are faced with ethical dilemmas like this every day. One would hope that a parent’s answer would be the same whether her children witnessed the incident or not. I thought it would be fun to do a parenting pop quiz on how you would handle some ethical situations. Listed below are some real-life dilemmas that my friends or I have recently faced. I’ll tell you how we handled the situations at the end.
1. In the grocery store: A. Your child picks up and opens Tic Tacs. He doesn’t eat any but the seal has been broken. Do you buy them or discreetly return them to the shelf? B. Your child eats one Gummy Worm from the Brach’s by-the-pound candy display. Do you leave money for the one worm or don’t worry about compensating the store for it? C. Your children always want to eat bananas as soon as you put them in the cart. Do you tell the cashier some are missing or just pay for the bananas that remain?
2. At Sam’s Club, your child develops diarrhea and leaves runny poop all over the seat of the cart. Obviously, you have to evacuate as soon as possible, but do you take the time to alert a clerk so the cart can be disinfected? Do you try to clean the cart yourself?
3. Your child accidentally urinates by the side of the pool. The pavement is already wet and the pee blends in. Do you try to clean the spot on the pavement yourself? Do you alert the lifeguard?
4. The handyman starts making racist comments in front of your children. What do you say?
Although I admitted last week to occasionally cheating at board games and to attending an illegal sprinkler party, I am pretty doggone honest everywhere else in my life — whether my kids are witnesses or not.
Here’s how my friends or I dealt with the dilemmas above:
1. Tic Tacs: The seal was broken so I told my little guy we had to buy them. They turned out to be a nasty flavor. It was a good punishment that he had to eat them. Gummy Worms — The candy center is pay by the pound. I lectured my child like crazy, but I didn’t try to compensate for the one Gummy Worm. I couldn’t find a place to leave any coins. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe you’re supposed to pay at the register? If it happens again, I would tell the cashier. Bananas — I weigh the bananas ahead of time so even if they eat some I can tell the cashier exactly the weight to charge us.
2. Diarrhea in the cart: This happened to a friend. She said she left the store as soon as possible. Out in the parking lot, she wiped everything down with a diaper wipe and then with anti-bacterial wipes.
3. Peeing near the pool: I have never had a child pee in the pool, but I have had a child pee about five feet away from one. I took the child to the shower to clean them off and then splashed a bunch of water away from the pool onto the spot of pee.
4. Racist comments: I said where my children could hear me, “That’s not funny” and walked out of the room.
And what about the breast pads? That was a lot more complicated. The baby needed to nurse, so I didn’t have time to unload all the children. I obviously didn’t want to leave the kids alone in the car.
There was no question I was going to return the breast pads, but I just had to figure out the fastest way to do it. First, I looked around for an employee of Target. No one was around. Then I drove up to the front of the store and looked for a clerk there. When I didn’t find an employee, I turned off the engine, locked the kids in the van and ran up to the door and lobbed the breast pads into the store. I could still see the car and the breast pads were in the store. Problem solved — although not gracefully.
What would you have done?
Monday’s Momania Flashback: When wife is ready to give birth, don’t stop for a shower – the harrowing story of our third child’s birth!