Okay, here's what happened... tonight we were at a year-end party for a Girl Guides unit. I'm one of three leaders - my six year old daughter is a member, and I had my seven year old and three year old sons with me, as my husband had to be in class. The party, and all of the meetings, are held in a church basement. I had my three year old on my hip (REALLY wish he hadn't outgrown his sling), and was cleaning up after the meeting. My two other children helped clean up for a while, and then were playing with the other girls in the group and their siblings. Both of my older children are reliable kids - I trust that they will be respectful and kind, and safe.
Tonight I was flabbergasted when my nearly six year old daughter decided to go outside of the church without my permission. The group of kids decided to go outside - led by 10 and 8 year olds who regularly attend the church and whose parents have no problem with them doing so. My children, though, know that they absolutely need an adult to go outside of any building, unless it's our own backyard, I can see them from the house, and they ask permission first. I was and still am incredulous - I understand that she followed the other kids, and was wound up in the excitement of the moment. I understand that she's only six. Still though, it is a major transgression and completely out of character. I rarely have to correct my daughter's behaviour - she is sensitive, kind, intelligent and eager to do the right thing. So tonight I was stumped. I wanted some feedback on my reaction, as I'm still not sure I'm happy with it, but not sure why...
When I discovered that she was outside (literally two minutes after she went out the door - Mommy radar), I asked her to come inside and brought her with me to the church kitchen while I finished clean-up. Once we were alone, she asked if I was mad at her and I said that I was upset and asked her if she was allowed to go outside without permission - she shook her head. I asked her why not and she told me because it isn't safe. On the way home I explained why I was upset. Honestly, I had to think how to deal with the situation. I explained to her that the consequence for me was that I wasn't going to be able to trust that she knew our safety rules to the same extent that I had before. She was quiet and listening. When we got home, I asked her to write me a letter about why it wasn't okay for her to have gone out without permission. She did so, was very thoughtful, we had a talk and a hug.
Now for the trickly part. Earlier in the evening, both older kids had asked for second helpings of the special dessert - brownies. I told them I didn't have enough to go around, and that we would save them for when we got home as a reward for all of our hard work, their cooperation during cleanup and their help with their little brother. I didn't consider that as a bribe but rather something for all of us to look forward to after a long day. The thing is, I don't agree with taking away things like this. But I didn't give her the brownie. Because she didn't help clean up, left her little brother, and went outside alone instead. She accepted it without complaint, we proceeded with story time and bedtime as usual.
What do you guys think?? Why do I feel guilty?