A mother's response to her daughter's guilt over damaging a wall in her home sparked a debate over whether her reaction was appropriate.
On Christmas Eve, Rosie Lamphere, one of the co-founders of the Facebook page "Play at Home," shared a story in which her 9-year-old daughter cried after she and her sister damaged a wall in their home. The girl had apparently brought the incident to Lamphere's attention but was more concerned about her father's reaction.
"The remorse was already displayed all over her body," Lamphere wrote. "She didn't need me to make her feel guilty. She didn't need me to shame her. She didn’t need me to make an already crappy situation worse."
Lamphere said the 9-year-old was worried that her father would reprimand her, so Lamphere told him herself.
"We have two choices here," the mother said in regards to her daughter. "1. Scream and yell and make her feel more awful than she already does. 2. Accept that little girl for each bit of awesome that she is... even in her mistakes. To realize that it was SO hard for her to come down and tell you how she made a mistake."
Lamphere wrote that she and her husband chose the latter option.
"Today, my daughter walks around with a little more trust," she wrote. "She walks around feeling loved and connected. She walks around knowing that she can tell her parents anything and that she is safe."
And despite avoiding a major scolding, the 9-year-old still felt guilty about the wall, Lamphere added.
"She offered to not receive any Christmas presents this year, all her savings, and her time to help fix it," the mother wrote, adding a photo as proof. "She didn’t need screaming parents to make her feel this. She did it all on her own."
Lamphere's post immediately went viral — as of Friday, it has been shared nearly 250,000 times. It also generated mixed reactions from fellow Facebook users, with some praising her approach and others questioning it.
"I'm not sure you can truly know how much I needed to read that this morning," one person wrote in reply. "I needed a swift kick in the backside to get me back on path with our kids after a few hard weeks. Thank you for being an example to your children and to us [out] here in Facebook land who also need a gentle reminder sometimes."
Another, however, believed that the girl should not have gotten off so easily.
"I don't think dad getting mad for these kids putting a hole in the wall is going to ruin their lives," he wrote. "I'm sorry, I just don't see it. You can preach all day long about your parenting techniques and the bottom line is the most proven method is holding kids responsible for their actions. All the wishy washy feel good stuff is nice for a second."
Others suggested that Lamphere should have taught her daughter how to fix the wall.
"Teach her how to fix it," one person wrote. "Each and every step. When we have to fix the results of our mistakes we learn to be a bit more cautious and teaches valuable life skills."