My son, the little kleptomaniac, has me pondering seriously if I am dealing with a certain situation correctly. So I am going to put the question to ya'll.
Most times when we go to the grocery store he will pick up something as we are shopping. Sometime just carrying around with him the whole time we are shopping, sometimes at the check out, sometimes - I haven't even noticed when he has picked up a random object. If I am aware of when he picks up stuff along our voyage, I talk to him about asking mommy before he picks anything up and how I need to pay for things before he eats them. On a fairly consistent basis I check his hands at the check stand before we leave the store so we don't accidentally become shoplifters.
However, there are always exceptions. Some days I just want to get out of the store because the kids have been driving me mad. Or I am really tired and forget. These are the days I usually find something mitted in B-Mans hand when we get out to the truck. My usual M.O. for these moments is to take away what ever he has snuck out of the store, give him ANOTHER lecture on not taking stuff without paying for it, make a mental note of it and bring another of what ever he has snuck out up to the till with us on our next visit, pay for it and leave it at the store. Is this still shoplifting? Should I be going back into the store at that moment to return it?
I know I am not the only mom this happens to ... so what do ya'll do?