Parents are debating after a frustrated mom wrote into a parenting website seeking advice on whether or not she should punish her 10-year-old daughter with no Christmas presents after the little girl repeatedly stole money from her mom and dad.
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The unnamed Australian mother's question was posted to the School Mum Facebook page, where it received no shortage of responses.
"I am after some thoughts about a punishment for our 10 1/2 yo daughter. She has been caught stealing money from us to buy lollies for the second time in a month," the mom wrote. "The first time she had some privileges taken away and had to repay the money from her pocket money. We are disappointed and angry that she has done it again."
The woman explained that she routinely gives her daughter money for treats. And since the little girl doesn't really watch TV or play with any devices, she said that she and her husband are at a loss over what sort of punishment they should give the child.
"We can't stop her from going to her sports lessons (which she loves) as it will be letting the teams down," she continued. "My husband feels we should give her no presents at all at Christmas. While I know this will send a big message to her and her siblings about how serious and unacceptable stealing is, I wonder whether it is too harsh?"
What followed was a mix of reactions, though the majority of comments appeared to contend that banning the child from receiving Christmas presents would be far too harsh of a punishment.
"Taking Christmas away from her sounds horrible to me. Christmas is about unconditional love," wrote one woman named Emma Weatherley. "I'd make her work to pay the money back plus extra for a penalty."
Another woman named Natasha Coster added, "I would make her 'earn' her Christmas presents. Extra chores; donating something to a wishing tree appeal; Maybe helping out at a community event or venue — volunteering etc."
Others suggested that it was a bad idea to leave sports lessons off the table, adding that the little girl might learn a lesson or two by being forced to let her teammates down.
"Maybe 'letting her team down' will be enough for her not to do it again," wrote Natasha Fisk. "I have done this to my son, and it has worked."
Not everyone felt that Christmas gift-giving was off-limits, though, with Renee Whye saying that she doesn't believe that the present proposal is "over the top."
"Yes, it's a special time of year, but lessons still need to be leart," she said. "I would leave presents but only little things like new clothes or new books something small and little so she still gets to open things but nothing that going to make her overly excited."
Whye continued, "When she asks why you say, 'Well, if you didn't steal from us we would have given you more, but quite honestly you don't deserve much more."
Read the debate for yourself here and take the poll below. Would withholding Christmas presents be too extreme?
(H/T: Daily Mail)