The Confession of a Strong-Willed Child is Done On Their Terms

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Image Courtesy of http://mylittlecelebration.com /the-candy-cane-story/

My brother Michael loves to tell embarrassing stories about me when the family gets together (it’s a form of male bonding). We have spent many hours laughing hysterically about stories that always start with the words “hey remember the time John.”

One of his favorite stories to tell (and is referred to almost every time we are together) is what we call “the stick candy story.”[1]

As children one year we bought boxes of stick candy to give ladies in our Church for Christmas. A few weeks later in a moment of weakness I sneaked a few pieces.

Now eating the candy wasn’t a serious problem because we could buy more…the problem was I ate Michael’s candy.

It didn’t take long to figure out candy was missing so a few days later my parents asked if I had eaten any of it. My response was to look at them with my most innocent expression and deny everything.

At this point I had two strikes against me [2] but the worst part was mom and dad thought Michael had eaten the candy and was lying about it.

Of course the right thing to do at this point would be to confess so my brother didn’t get punished for something he didn’t do. And that’s exactly what I did.

Two weeks later.

That’s right…I stood by and watched as my brother took the penalty for eating candy and not confessing it for two weeks. And the only reason I came clean then was because I was afraid of what would happen when Mom and Dad DID find out what really happened.

Editors Note: You will be happy to know that my brother did get me back for doing this many times over…and proudly presented me with a box of chocolate for Christmas last year with five pieces already eaten

There is a belief that strong-willed (stubborn) children refuse to admit when they are wrong. This is not true (at least in my experiences) we have no problem confessing something.

But it must be done on our terms.

My mind after lying to mom and dad was saying “oh I will admit wrongdoing, but only after the possibility of punishment has already passed [3].”

Other strong-willed children have their own terms for confession

  1. Only after I’ve found out other people can learn what I did
  2. Only after people aren’t as angry about it anymore
  3. Only after I have the perfect story or alibi
  4. Only after there is no way of covering it up anymore
  5. Only after the guilt becomes too strong

There is a huge flaw with the confession on your own terms however that the strong-willed child doesn’t think about…the punishment will be worse.

See in my mind after confessing the stick candy theft since so much time had passed it would just be something we would laugh about. Let’s just say my parents made very clear that wasn’t the case.

The stick candy experience was used by God to teach me the importance of taking whatever punishment is necessary (even if it’s not on my terms) because consequences will just grow.

In a world where children are surrounded by the idea of confession leads to no consequences [4] it’s important for parents and authority figures to explain not only are there consequences, but they get bigger.

So admit taking the candy, pay for a new box, and say your sorry

Trust me you don’t want to know what happens two-weeks later.


  1. This is second only to the time I remembered I didn’t have my wallet until after we had just ordered at a McDonalds drive thru  ↩
  2. eating the candy, and lying about it  ↩
  3. It Hadn’t!  ↩
  4. for more thought aobut this read my recent post http://australianmissionary.org/culture-teaches-children-no-consequences-actions/  ↩

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