Sometimes parenting is easy, sometimes it's hard and other times it's just confusing.
Maddie went to the pantomime last night with the Brownies and I gave her a £5.00 note to take along to spend on sweets, drinks or a souvenir - whatever she wanted. I didn't expect any change and I told her to be careful not to lose it.
She came home after having a great time to say she'd spent £1.00 on an ice-cream and had put the remaining £4.00 in the charity box! Now, I've got nothing against charity boxes and I'm sure the charity in question is doing an admirable job with the funds it receives. But a child emptying their purse into it, completely oblivious as to the value of the money she's emptying is not quite right.
My reaction to this was less than sympathetic and as I hollered at her about the stupidity of her actions, demanding an explanation as to how on earth she felt compelled to put ALL her change in the tin. But the anger started to extinguish as I tried to work out just exactly WHO was at fault here.
And it certainly wasn't Maddie. And amidst the tears and sobs ensuing from her convulsing body, consumed with regret, confusion and apologies, I had to assure her that it wasn't really her fault and that I was wrong to be angry with her. As well as administer lots of reassuring hugs and cuddles.
So, whose fault was it?
Was it me? Did I give her too much? These places charge extortionate prices for the smallest gifts, so I figured that £5.00 would cover a souvenir and something to consume. I've been to these places long enough to know that £5.00 would be the minimum to spend - so no, I don't think I did give her too much?
Did I consider her understanding of the value of money? No, I didn't. She's 7 and has no idea about the value of money and why should she? She's a child. It's not in her job description to know about money. That's my job.
But what about the adults accompanying her? Why weren't they assisting her? Why weren't they making sure each child was being responsible with their money? Why did they allow 7 year old children to queue alone and assume they knew what they were doing with their pennies? But then, is it right to assume they would consider my daughter would empty her purse into the charity box?
What about the vendor that gave her the change? Was he so busy that he'd moved on to the next child before witnessing where she put her change? Did he see her do it and not say anything?
So, I don't know who to be angry with. Maybe I should put it down to experience and circumstance.