The thing is though, if it had been anybody else they would have been arrested. But the kid got away with it because it was a chyyyyld.
I think teaching the kid consequences would have been more important then sparing a few tears.
Well, when you are three, having to face up to all these big, sternfaced, strange adults is pretty traumatic in and of itself. She was ashamed and crying. I'm a little confused about what more needed to be done. At that age, I would have rather have the skin flayed from my body than have a strange adult even looke disapprovingly at me. I found it completely mortifying.
I actually do remember being three. I have this weird, crystaline long term memory that allow me to retain foggy, vague memories from 2 years old, fairly sharp specific incidents at 3, and clear, detailed memories from 4 and up. Just don't ask me what I had for supper last night. I am pretty certain I was three when I first stole something. I remember exactly what it was...a plastic stump, presumably from a GI Joe set. I found it in a friend's backyard and pocketed it. My mother made me return it. And I remember what was in my mind. I remember sneaking it into my pocket on the sly...I don't know why I was sneaky, because up to that point, I don't recall being taught stealing was wrong. But my mother told me then that stealing was wrong and made me return it. I was like, "Okay, stealing=wrong. Got it."
I suffered absolutely no consequences other than the inconvenience of having to walk back to my friend's house and return the item. (note: my friend lived two doors down in a kid filled neighborhood. I walked all over the place, even at an incredibly young age. I guess those were different times) Even so, I never stole anything ever again. Looking back, my mom probably should have been harder on me...but she, and I, got lucky, and simply learning it was wrong was enough to keep me from doing it again.