Many sentences bring both shock and horror at the same time, like coming home, opening the door and your wife announcing “Glad you’re home, come with me!” This is usually code for ‘let me show you what you did, then let me see you squirm.’ The other is “I didn’t mean to Daddy!” which is code for ‘something big just went down, and I am a little scared what the punishment will be when you see it.
Your first reaction should be to assess the situation using the acronym C.R.I.M.E. Take C first- is there any crying? If so, then R and I- Remove the Injured. M stands for ‘make them talk.’ Why not mop the tears? Well that’s easy, because of E- everyone is a suspect! Just because one is crying does not mean that they’re innocent! Oh no! Always remember ‘E- everyone is a suspect.’ Only under tough questioning and maybe time on the stairs to help break one of them will you get to the truth. How you encourage your children to tell you the truth will totally depend on you as you know your child and everyone is different. I think I have already said that minor punishment/crimes will be me telling my children “Sad Daddy” which makes them sad, but for the ultimate punishment, and I mean the ultimate, it’s twenty four hours without access to the biscuit tin.
Withholding the biscuit tin should not be used every time as it will lose its effectiveness, but it works a treat every time. My little girl did start with “What’s twenty four hours Daddy?” Now she knows its a heck of a long time in children’s world.
Today was a prime example of “I didn’t mean to, Daddy”. I am a Sunday School teacher and today was a mad rush. I had announced the end of Sunday School for six weeks to my class, (keep in mind that the children volunteer to come and are not pressurised by the parents to do so) and they were scrabbling to leave like rats out of a burning building! As the children were leaving like the building was on fire, there was mad panic as one child suddenly announced, “Teddy’s gone and I can’t sleep without teddy.” I was on all fours scurrying around on the floor when I heard that fateful sentence from what sounded like my own child above me “I didn’t mean to Daddy!”
Well no crying, so ‘R’ and ‘I’ were out so I moved straight onto ‘M’ – make them talk, and ‘E’- everyone in the room is a suspect. Well, no need for suspects as I soon discovered! I crawled out from under the table to find my little girl standing on a chair with Niagara Falls running down her legs! Great! Now I have rats running out of the building, teddies playing hide and seek, and my little girl is going for the world’s longest wee competition! Surely it will stop soon?! I didn’t want to move her as my shoes looked great without urine! I was also aware that the room reaches nuclear heat levels in the summer so being locked for six weeks with a urine marinated carpet would not be good in about seven weeks when I opened the door again!
Thanks to my trusty wet wipes and paper towels disaster was averted, and to my surprise even teddy turned up, (although I suspect he knew as well as I did that the smell would have been bad and it would be a wise move to exit whilst there was time to!)
So the next time your kids announce “I didn’t mean to Daddy”, remember:-
M- Make them talk
E- Everyone is a suspect!