Monday, July 18, 2016


     About the only time I heard the term “klepper” was in the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family” when mother Edith—the most admirable character in the show—thought she might be an incorrigible thief because she left a store without paying for merchandise (until she much later recalled why it had happened accidentally).
     Not so Jaren. Thrice he's stolen and consumed more than his fair share of allotted treats. We keep a strict household when it comes to these—no 24 hours all-you-can-eat goodies buffet. We, as parents, dole out the goodies as we see fit.
     First time we found out about his thefts came when we discovered candy wrappers under the sofa some time after Halloween. Judging by the number of wrappers, it must have been going on for some time as it's not like him to binge. He lied about it (“I don't know where they came from”), then confessed and got a week's time out for it. (The older kids, we're certain, wouldn't lie about such a thing—and would certainly do a better job at disposing the evidence if they did lie.)
     Next time Deanne noticed the contents of a liter bottle of soda mysteriously disappearing, its level dropping lower and lower every so often. He lied about it then confessed (sooner than the last time) and got a few days time out for it.
     Then came the discovery of cherry pits beneath the sofa—too many to have been eaten all at one go or even just a few gos. He lied about it (“I forgot”), then confessed and got a week of time out for it.
     He's honest about money, so there's no theft-creep as far as we can tell. The other weekend at the market he wanted to play a grab-a-toy crane game for fifty cents. He didn't have money so I said I'd pay but he needed to reimburse me half. He said okay. Of course he didn't get the toy (a small cushion) and of course I forgot all about it. That afternoon, he approached me and gave me the quarter “For the game, remember?” So for him, it's mainly food impulse control when we're not present. It's, “I want I want I want...I take!” And lying about it when confronted. Or at potlucks if we're not watching, he'll take far too many sweets.
     All our kids' weights are at fifty percentile while their heights are fifty to seventy-five percentile so their builds are fine. We just feel it's important to establish healthy eating habits now—portion controls, limited snacks, etc.—that will hopefully continue throughout their lives. Braden and Pene are doing fine now after struggling in fits and starts. It's Jaren's turn to learn, too. In general, he's fine, seldom grousing when we tell him “No more” or “That's enough.” But sneaking around snitching food in his secret corner behind the couch and lying about it? No way! Which reminds me: I also prohibited him from sitting there as a hopefully preventive measure. (Good thing he hasn't started flushing evidence down the toilet or dumping them down the storm drain outside. He's been sneaky, but thankfully not wily. Perhaps a part of him wants to get caught to test if we care enough to act? If so, no problem, we'll act alright—no Homer or Marge Simpson laissez-faire when it comes to discipline for us. When they get caught acting out, they get strict, real consequences that make them suffer, not the rest of us. Once he realizes that he gets plenty (way more than me, say, a seldom snacker who only takes micro bite-size portions at that) and that cheatin' ain't worth it, he'll stop. Or suffer the unending consequences while still at home.)
     I realize that once they leave home, they could boomerang the other way and binge on junk food unending. So be it. It'll be their choice. But not on my watch, I tell Deanne. While we're responsible, we have to do our parts.

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