My 5-year-old son and his 4-year-old friend (next door neighbors) were following both moms (me and the neighbor) in between houses today. We were saying goodbyes at my home and out of the corner of my eye I saw the boys go out to our deck. This is normal. About two minutes later, we wandered out to bring our boys in and get them to their respective homes. They were GONE. We checked in every nook and cranny of both houses, wandered the neighborhood up and down, enlisted the help of several neighbors, and after about 30 minutes of not finding them, called the police. Right as the police arrived, an across the street neighbor drove up in her car. "I found 'em," she said. There they were, in her car, safe and sound. I fell apart.
That hour was the scariest hour I've had yet as a parent. They had wandered down the street (no, they must have ran at breakneck speed), crossed a path into another neighborhood (which I went over to so I could check there earlier, with no sign of them) and gotten lost. The neighbor was so smart to hop in her car and start driving around to find them. I am so thankful for her smarts. And her calm. Because as soon as I saw my Jack, I fell apart.
When we came home, I couldn't even talk to him. I listened to his story, and then I told him to wait for Daddy to come home and we would discuss what would happen from there. But my husband and I are stuck about how to proceed. How to you "discipline" a kid for this? Does anyone have any suggestions? I am still so upset at the event. I feel like I am the one who needs to be disciplined. But my son DOES know the rules. He broke them. He knows that. I feel like there has to be a consequence.
What would you do? Please, any gentle but firm discipline advice would help.