Perfect example of the 50/50 in my life, from today:
I pick DD up from preschool, and say I want to go to a local Agway just to look at some plants and get some prices. Not gonna buy anythng, just look, and get soem prices. But first, we grab a bite to eat. She is AWESOME at the restaurant and we have a great time and she is polite and patient and helpful, such that 2 other patrons even stop us and say what a kick they got out of her. Awesome - feeling so great and happy on our way to Agway. We get there, and I remind her in the van we'll walk around together and she shouldn't run from me - she has to see me and I have to see her. OK. I follow her around the garden statues/fountains a few times, I give her her own piece of paper and pen, and we start walking around, and it's going fine. In the blink of an eye, she decides she wants to dart in between a row of plants; not in the aisle, but in between the pallets/tables and concrete pavers that are backed up against each other to create the rows. She is squeeeeezing herself trying to get in, and I ask her to stop. "NO. I want to be IN here." This is what she wants to do, and she's gonna do her damndest to do it. I tell her I'm worried about her getting hurt. I tell her I don't want her knocking plants over. I tell her I wouldn't be happy if she surprised or scared someone who was shopping because they weren't expecting a little kid to pop out from between rows of plants. She starts SCREECHING and insisting that it's safe for her to squeeze in between these displays and continuing to try to squeeze in. I squat down again and repeat calmly again why I don't want her doing it and tell her that she needs to stop or we're going to have to leave because it's not safe. She screeches even LOUDER and tries to get in there again. So, I take her hand/wrist and calmly walk out, with her melting down LOUDLY the whole way. When we were both finally buckled in, I said, "What just happened there, why did you not listen to me when I was asking you to come out from the tables?"
and she said, "I wanted to play hide and seek, and I didn't want you to find me or follow me."
"Well, kiddo, Agway is NOT the place to do that, we can do that at home. Out in stores, we stay together and walk together to be safe." (which we've talked about 10 jillion times)
"But I WANTED to."
"I totally understand you wanted to, it's just not safe and not an option in that place - other places, yes - but there, no."
All this within an hour's timespan. Sigh.
This is precisely the sort of thing i deal with, and i haven't even HAD another one yet! I am kind of dreading how i will balance the needs of a newborn with her need to do crazy-dangerous things against loud repeated advice....
Nelliekatz my kid knows when she's misbehaving. I can tell when she doesn't know. For example her step-father was telling me something about work yesterday and she told him "shut up!" (which we don't use in our household at all and consider very rude, but which she has heard elsewhere) and i looked at her and she hid her face and said "i love you!". I replied "i love you too." then after a pause, "please remember not to say hurtful things to people honey" and that was that. Earlier on she had said "hi guys!" to a stranger and her little girl en route to the bus stop and then, 20 seconds later "hi fat ladies" to two fluffy ladies at the bus stop. When i explained to her that some people find that word hurtful and it's therefore best not to refer to people using it she was genuinely confused, because she had no idea that was a wrong thing to do.
I can tell the difference between took-another-kid's-toy-and-ran-off-because-genuinely-believed-it-was-a-good-choice and took-a-kid's-toy-and-ran-off-despite-knowing-it-was-a-bad-choice. Perhaps at 4 my kid is incredibly adept to know already that is a bad choice, but she knows it, i know she knows it, and she knows i know she knows it. I don't think it does her any favours for me to go on assuming she didn't get it the last 46 times i explained to her that a thing was wrong/dangerous/unkind simply because she keeps doing it. And yes, she does sometimes do something like that due to poor impulse control, but she generally catches herself again, and either returns the object without being reminded, or does it on the first reminder.
I do not want to train her like a dog (fairly inflammatory phrase to me, but i am assuming you didn't mean it to be). And neither do i spend every second of the day micromanaging everything my DD does and forcing my-idea-of-good decisions on her because "might makes right".
For us (ymmv of course) in a situation like the grabbed kite, returning the kite and redressing the wrong is the first order of business. Any learning/discussion/punishment/whatever-is-going-to-happen-next waits until after that. The wronged party is righted again, as soon and as thoroughly as possible. That is not about shaming anyone, that is about treating others as you would like to be treated. THEN i deal with the situation with my kid. Why? Because i don't think the other child should have to wait and be a part of that process. Because i don't think it's the other kid's responsibility to be patient while *I* parent *my* kid. Because ultimately DD and how DD behaves IS my responsibility until she's old enough to take that responsibility for herself. And because i believe seeing me bring about redress IS teaching her something, even when she's not able or willing to help with it. I really don't care what other parents think of me, i care what *I* think of me.