In February my daughter “Jana” stole a plush toy from the backpack of her friend “Erin.” She was caught and sent home for the rest of the week. My husband and I agreed Jana would apologize to Erin and the rest of the class, be grounded for the rest of the month, and have sessions with the school counselor. When Jana apologized to Erin, Erin’s mom, “Sylvie,” told her that her apology was not accepted, that she was a thief, and that Erin would never be her friend again. When Jana apologized to the class, Erin plugged her ears, and later she and several other girls called Jana names at recess. I understand that my daughter did something wrong, and I couldn’t change whether Erin would be her friend again, but this was going overboard. I tried to talk with Sylvie about my concerns. She told me I should care more about raising a thief.
Later that month, Sylvie told another mother that Erin wouldn’t be allowed to go to her daughter’s birthday if Jana was there. The quarantine put a lot of this to the side, but I recently learned that Jana’s group of friends have been having Skype play dates. They’ve also met up for gatherings at a local park. Sylvie has asked that Jana be excluded from these gatherings. I’m worried about Sylvie’s obsession with punishing Jana. Some of the other moms are uncomfortable with Sylvie’s requests but don’t know what to do. I know my daughter made a mistake, but she’s a kid, and she has been punished. I’m not sure what to do to protect her or if I’m biased and this is reasonable behavior.
—My Daughter, the “Thief”