How Do You Know When a Kid is Just Being a Kid?

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Today provided an important teaching moment for me. But did I overreact?

DS and DD are taking tennis lessons from a young pro at our local club. The guy has a reputation for being particularly good with beginning players and young kids because he is patient and playful. My DS, however, took advantage of his kindness. Let me put it this way: DS tried to make the lesson 85% fun and 15% instruction when I believe it should have been the reverse.

Our courts had just been refinished. This was the first day anyone could play on them and they looked great! Just this past week, my DS has discovered that he likes soda. DS took a bottle of his fizzy beverage out on the court and, during a break, intentionally shook the bottle before opening it. The soda overflowed when he opened the bottle and made a mess on the court.

Okay, now…he made a mistake right? The “spilled milk” classic teaching moment where the mom is supposed to shrug it off and say, “oh, honey, accidents happen, just clean it up and forget about it.”

From my perspective, it wasn’t just a simple mistake. He intended to do it. So he was disrespectful, rude and way too silly. He learned very little about tennis and certainly didn’t improve his game.

So…

I made him help clean it up and told him he had to pay the cost of the lesson ($25) out of his allowance.

When I later spoke with the pro about it, he just shrugged it off and said, “Aw, he was just being a kid. That won’t hurt the courts. Don’t worry about it.”

So…was I too harsh? Or did I handle it properly?

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