I had a good example happen to us last night.
DS1(7) sneakily stole a sticky alien
from DS2 (4)
. I saw it happen but got distracted. Shortly after, DS2 asked where his alien was and DS1 denied any knowledge of its whereabouts.
. I watched this unfold and thought about our discussion in order to pay special mind to how I was responding.
I asked DS1 to return the alien. He bacame righteously indignant, denying having stolen it and proceeding to wax poetic about all the injustices of this world and how they are forever being heaped upon his innocent shoulders. I listened calmly and then informed him I had actually *seen* him take the damn thing. His defence grew louder and more emphatic. I told him I trust that he will choose to do the right thing. I pointed out that he didn't seem to be enjoying himself very much and probably wasn't feeling very good inside. He was adamant. I then saw him wiggling in his seat as he struggled to slip the stolen alien into his pocket.
We carried on the rest of our dinner in relative peace (aside from the pale and guilty face of DS1). Afterwards (a few minutes later, DS2 again asked for his alien and the whole cycle started again. *sigh*. I asked DS1 what he would do if he were in my position, as the parent. I said I didn't want to have to actually force my way into his pocket because I respect his space but that I'm left in a tricky position. He said "what're you gonna do, ground me?". I said that I still think he can figure out how to do the right thing. "FINE!!!" he burst and pulled the alien from his pocket. I then told him that he and I could figure out a way to make this right. He could maybe do something for his little brother to make up for it and apologise to me for lying. He was kinda upset but then, on his own, decided he would draw a carebear pic for DS2 because he knows that Carebears are DS2's favourite. !
I poured on my admiration for his ability to make things right and be responsible for his mistakes. He drew an awsome picture. All is once again well with the world.
I know that within the context of our interaction there was the hint of a threat of punishment. But it was not intentional on my part at all. That, in my opinion, is the best it gets for us and it doesn't always work out so neatly in the end. I thought that not only would I share this experience because I actually thought about this thread in the midst of it
but also to see what any 100% non-punishers would think of it. Or anyone else for that matter !