Halloween was last week, but both of you that follow my sekret (shh!) blog knew that. At least I hope you knew that. About half of the people out there with children also have candy left, even after four days.
This brings up a big question. What do you do with your kid’s candy?
If you are me, you do nothing. It’s your kid’s candy, not yours. You can ration it in the name of protecting your child’s health. You can even toss it or donate it for the same reason. In either case, you probably are keeping your child informed of the candy’s fate. At least I’d hope you are.
What you cannot do is take it for yourself. Doing so is amoral. It may not legally qualify as theft because in most states a parent retains ownership of his or her child’s possessions. It is implicit that the candy in your child’s stash is under their control, at least to the child.
You can ask your child to share. You can even force your child to share. But unless you impart to your child that the candy they gathered is not theirs, then to them, it is.
They might notice that the Reese’s Cups have all disappeared overnight. What if your child was saving those for last because they are their favorites? What lessons are we teaching our children if we just take from them without at least notifying them? We’re telling them that property is ethereal and reality shifts. We’re imparting a psychosis on them.
It’s one thing to impart the harsh reality that, as the despot of the home, you can claim ownership of anything in it. That’s a reality of life that children will learn one day – that even the people we love can be jerks. But to shift their reality without explanation, that’s messing with the way their brain works.
We change the child’s world all the time when they are not around. But when they come home to a newly painted bedroom, we’ll tell them why it changed. “We painted it.” That settles the issue and they know that reality doesn’t just randomly shift.
But if we help ourselves to their candy bag, and they were paying attention to how much was in there if not specifically what items were in there, their reality is shifting without explanation.
If you are going to be a jerk about your kid’s candy, make sure you tell them what’s happening. They should be aware that nothing in the world happens without cause. That’s not to say that nothing happens without reason, but something always causes change. Religious people may say that God made that happen and scientists may say that a string of causality made that happen, but nothing just happens spontaneously.
Depending on how you handle explaining the communistic concept of taking your child’s candy, they will either learn to share empathetically or learn that “might makes right.”
I, personally, am of the opinion that I have my own means to acquire sweets if I need them. I don’t need to take my children’s. If I want something in their bag, I’ll ask them for it. After five days have passed, I will tell them I’m taking it. By then they should have taken what they wanted out of the stash. I’ll warn them to separate anything they don’t want to share and stash it separately.
In any case, I won’t let my children’s world change without explaining, to the best of my ability, why. Any attempt at why at least get their brains working to know that change is causal. It may spur them to think about the causes of other things and investigate. It won’t be a bad thing if someday my children can prove that my hypothesis on why something happened was wrong.