Today I found myself saying words I now regret. At least I think I regret them.
"Why Mommy?" he had asked.
"Because I don't trust you," I answered.
But as I walked away I wondered what on earth had possessed me to use those words. What kind of a mother says that to her six-year-old? The kind who doesn't trust her six-year-old, apparently. But is that any excuse? Should those thoughts ever be shared with a young child, even if he's proven time and time again that he can't be trusted? Or should the sentiment be framed in gentler terms, like "because I'm not comfortable with you doing that" or "because I want to know where you are and what you're doing"?
On the other hand, he's six years old -- old enough to learn that there are consequences to his actions. One of the consequences of stealing four granola bars out of the cupboard (tomorrow's going to be a bbbbaaadddd day), eating them and trying to hide the evidence is that when you want to play downstairs (where you hide your stash) Mommy says "no...because I don't trust you." Or when later that day you ask if you can play in the backyard while Mommy takes a shower, she says "no...because I don't trust you." (This is the same child who was found 10 blocks away without his shoes on the last time he promised to stay in the backyard.)
So which is it? Am I scarring him for life or teaching him a life lesson? Am I a bad mom for making him feel bad about himself or a good mom for teaching him accountability?
I have no idea. But I'm sure he'll tell me in 20 years, once he's in therapy.