Bloody selfish and horrible teenagers, WWYD? Beware - very long!

(61 Posts)
lilibet Wed 05-Dec-12 16:50:33

This is a lot of writing for a problem that would never have occurred if I had done things differently in the past, but as I can't change how I acted then, here goes ...

I have three dc's who last Christmas were 23, 18 and 15. The youngest two are boys. Since they have been born they have had a stocking hung on their bedroom door and it has become tradition that they pile onto our bed on Christmas morning to open their stockings (yes even at those ages!) and it's a really lovely part of Christmas for me, all five of us and three cats on the bed. They don?t each have their 'own' stocking, we have two snowmen and a reindeer and they each have always wanted the reindeer but I have always tried to rotate it. (Yes I know, you?re looking at their ages again to make sure you've read it right!).

Last Christmas Eve Dh and I had the news that Bil's fiancée, age 31 was terminal; we had met her about a dozen times, the children less than that but it was still an awful shock. That evening the boys 18 and 15 fought like two people possessed over the fucking reindeer stocking. I said that dd should have it but still it went on, they both said that it wasn't her turn, I ended up sobbing, dh was shouting that people were dying and did it really matter and it was all dreadful. We went to bed with dd having the reindeer on her door and duly filled the stockings. During the night ds1, changed all the contents so that he had the fucking reindeer, he thought this was bloody hilarious. In the morning I said that this year the boys would not get stockings.

So what do I do? If they don't have stockings they won't come onto our bed and a lovely bit of Christmas will be gone forever. I am reluctant to get new ones as these have been going for years and were bought by their grandmother who is now dead. If I just get the boys new ones, one of the little buggers will swap it in the night and why should dd suffer, it's probably her last Christmas at home as she is moving to Aus in January.

Fuck - what a lot of typing for such a crap and insignificant problem!!

If you've stuck with it so far - thanks

onyx72 Wed 05-Dec-12 16:55:07

Get rid of the stockings. Your sons don't deserve them if that's how they behaved.

CabbageLooking Wed 05-Dec-12 16:56:38

Maybe it's time to accept that the tradition needs to finish as they have now grown up. Sad, but it sounds like it's run its course if it's only causing problems.

FireOverBethlehem Wed 05-Dec-12 16:57:48

get all three of them new stockings with their names on them, and bloody reindeers under the names if you can get them. If you can't, don't do stockings - tell them on Christmas Eve that you can't go through the hassle that the reindeer stocking caused last Christmas so all presents will be under the tree.

No, you won't have everyone piled into bed together, but you and DH may get a cuppa in peace whilst they open presents downstairs. At their ages, they should realise that actions have consequences and your DS' behaviour last year means that stockings change for this year.

HuevosRancheros Wed 05-Dec-12 17:01:34

Yes, it's sad that the "piling on the bed to open stockings" tradition will come to an end. But at the same time, you won't be feeling angry, on what should be such a happy morning, that your children are behaving in such a way.
But I would warn them the night before, so you don't have strops on Christmas morning!

Pancakeflipper Wed 05-Dec-12 17:01:46

I like the idea of new stockings.

In fact you use the old ones for yourself and give them an orange each and stuff yours full of treats

procrastinor Wed 05-Dec-12 17:04:49

I'd actually talk to them about it. Basically if it happens again and they act like bloody adults then that's it. If I got any sort of idea that they intended to mess about again I'd just say forget it.

LaCiccolina Wed 05-Dec-12 17:05:41

Do u really need to bring up last years arguments this year? Does it really matter in the scheme of things?

Seems odd that ur brooding over it still so much. Wouldn't let the troublemaker have the reindeer one but see no reason to stop things this year. Has nothing else happened this year?!

RubbishCrackerPuller Wed 05-Dec-12 17:06:20

I would ditch the stockings at that age personally. However as a possible compromise how about marking each persons (I won't say childs!) presents with a label, marker or sticky dot and then mix them up in all the stockings. Then hang them somewhere neutral?

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 05-Dec-12 17:08:06

New stocking and hide the reindeer one, and hide it well!

I can see why you want to keep the tradition and it's not fair for you to lose it because of their bad behaviour. Keep the old stockings, they are a lovely reminder but it's time to change things around a bit. Maybe get smaller ones so the tradition is more symbolic, but you can't carry on as you have been- it's not fair on anyone

I have six and they all have identical stockings but personalised with thier names on to prevent this kind of situation wink

WineOhWhy Wed 05-Dec-12 17:15:20

If my DDs did that, their stocking the next year would be one found in DH's sock drawer. (Actually, when I was a girl we had my dad's socks as stockings.) You still get your tradition, and they get manky stockings which are no doubt smaller than they are used to.

HullyEastergully Wed 05-Dec-12 17:20:22

Oh that is so funny and awful...

Last year was last year. They didn't mean to be horrible about the situation, its just that as long as the child traditions continue, the child feelings will surface (I'm looking at me, my dsis and 2 dbros - all past 40...).

Say that you will only do stockings if lots are drawn for the reindeer and then the decision is adhered to. And mean it.

GreatUncleEddie Wed 05-Dec-12 17:24:34

I'd talk to them now about how awful last year was and what can be done differently this year. They are adults and you should discuss it with them, not little children as their behaviour suggests for you to come up with a solution. Probably draw lots is one good solution, I expect there are others.

AmberLeaf Wed 05-Dec-12 17:29:03

Let bygones be bygones.

Last christmas eve was a difficult one, but it should'nt carry over to this year.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 05-Dec-12 17:30:00

No, don't ditch the stockings! I like the idea of new ones with their names on so its no arguing.
Tell them your putting the reindeer one away for grand kids (that's gonna be a whole other argument!!)

Rwep Wed 05-Dec-12 17:31:51

Hmm, there's a large part of me that says well you said no stockings, so no stockings it has to be.

How are they generally? I mean is this kind of behaviour a regular thing? Could it work to make a "joke" of it and let them put an ordinary sock out this year, but no flippi'n reindeers?

New ones with their names on and I would be tempted to give DD the reindeer one when she moves to Aus

ledkr Wed 05-Dec-12 17:33:53

Give them all stockings with nuts an orange and a wooden toy. I have 3 older ds and can't say I want their hairy arses piling into my bed any more they make tea and we open ours stuff downstairs they just naturally did that as they reached around 15 tbh.

Jojobells1986 Wed 05-Dec-12 17:40:23

I'd say stick to it for this year, maybe bring them back next year if they promise to behave. Even if you stop the stockings for now, the whole tradition can always be re-introduced when grandchildren arrive so it doesn't have to be gone forever! smile

Lesbeadiva Wed 05-Dec-12 17:48:19

I don't get why you didn't just get three of the same stocking? ESP if they have fought over it for years. I get that you don't want to stop the tradition so why not let last year go? Tell them to act like grown ups, get new stockings. Otherwise tell them you are not doing it at all, if that's the way you feel it ought to be.

I`m sorry but I did sort of laugh at your DS, sounds like my brothers when they were younger, my poor mother.

No, carry on with the tradition, last year happened but dont let it spoil this years christmas, however, I think I would try and think of an evil payback for DS1 though grin

SHoHoHodan Wed 05-Dec-12 18:07:47

Tell them that since they behaved so awfully they can all have the reindeer- they must share the one stocking between the three of them. So significantly fewer gifts for each.

Unless, of course, two of them will do the 'grown up thing' and nominate one person to have it...

twinklesparkles Wed 05-Dec-12 18:14:09

I'd give the stocking to your dd and leave the boys out ...

Bit harsh but thatll teach em to behave this christmas if they want a go of the stocking next year..

Greensleeves Wed 05-Dec-12 18:22:23

Do exactly what Hully said and all will be well.

Don't drop the tradition just because they are grown up! I would be heartbroken if dh didn't want us to do stockings for each other after the kids grow up, never mind not doing them for the kids shock

OhTinky Wed 05-Dec-12 18:27:48

Could you use the much favoured reindeer stocking as a xmas decoration for the house? Could it be the pet's stocking?! Seems a shame not to use it, but I think the tradition is clearly a bit fraught and needs to be adapted a bit.

schilke Wed 05-Dec-12 18:32:50

I thought it was quite funny that one of them changed the stockings round in the night blush I really don't think you should be worrying about something a year later. Get new stockings for them all.

mayihaveaboxofchoculaits Wed 05-Dec-12 18:58:27

Familt traditions are lovely and its great that your children want to uphold them BUT the two youngest are adult men and they are behaving like indulged tits. I know families have to deal in give and take, but really chocolate
figures?still atn their age? anfd thats how they behave?
I would stick something age appropriate into their stockings instead, ie scratch card/shaving kit/..

lilibet Wed 05-Dec-12 18:59:21

Wow, so many replies, thank you.

I haven't worried about it for a year, I've just bought stuff for stockings and then realised ...

Dh and I also have a stocking, this is a tradition that you never get too old for grin

Glad some of you relate with your brothers, I was an only child, I hate the sibling fighting.

What do you think to getting ones from the pound shop and then filling the real ones on which I have sewn their names, (dd getting theonly reindeer as she's the only girl) so they will be happy when they wake up but won't think of doing the swapping in the night?

lilibet Wed 05-Dec-12 19:00:03

Where did I say they got chocolate figures in their stockings?

HullyEastergully Wed 05-Dec-12 19:00:16

a cunning plan

HullyEastergully Wed 05-Dec-12 19:01:00

siblings enjoy fighting you know, it makes us feel young agian

GreatUncleEddie Wed 05-Dec-12 19:12:31

I think that is what i would do if they were still children, but they aren't!

sounds like a great idea.

I think I would having enjoyed the "banter" of brothers and sisters for years play a trick on DS1 - in the stocking - because he was one that caused you most grief last year. A cold cooked sprout that he unwraps and has to eat. Then you can fine anyone else in future for "unfamily" like behaviour on Christmas day. I may have spent too much time with rugby players

Thing is your kids are adults now and "punishing" them like I do my 11-8 YOs just isn't going to work.

FredWorms Wed 05-Dec-12 20:24:56

DP is an only and he cannot believe how our 3 fight, he thinks no other children fight like this but, being one of four close in age, I can tell him that they do.We are all in our 40s now and although we no longer fight we do revert to our child-selves when we're all with our parents. It's atrocious really.

Back to the stockings thing, tell them how much it means to you. Tell them how important to you it is that they do this thing without ridiculous squabbles. They're old enough to respect that, surely?

On the other hand I think your pound shop idea is good, go with that if you feel you have to.

Oh dear. I'm sorry about sil, really I am but children (and young adults and even old adults tbh) do stupid things and of course in times of great stress, those stupid things will seem evil and horrible and ungrateful, rather than just stupid.

I actually thought that creeping out and swapping things around was funny, and I do think it's sort of sweet that they still get excited/silly about whether they get a reindeer or a snowman. And tbh dd is hardly 'suffering' by having her presesnts taken out of one stocking and put into another one overnight, is she?

I'd be inclined to say something along the lines of, 'Ok my lovely children. Here's the deal. You will draw lots for who gets the bloody reindeer and beyond that, so long as everybody is polite to each other I don't give a fig which stocking your gifts end up in. I do however give a fig about listening to you moaning, so if anybody moans, you won't get a bloody stocking. The end and merry Christmas.' It really isn't worth such a lot of angst, you know. smile

DewDr0p Wed 05-Dec-12 20:32:40

I'd sit them all down for a team talk, say how disappointed you were by last year's behaviour and how much it upset you and then tell them to come up with a plan that everyone is happy with or there will be no stockings.

I am grin at ledkr and her ds's hairy arses, mine are still little but this will be me in 10 years or so shock oh no that is never going to happen to my little cherubs

Oh isn't it all part of the tradition!they will tell their children about these you remember the christmas that we......just let it go over your's the pecking order I,m afraid.i,ve just been told that my girl was not allowed to go in their room ,ever and never allowed to touch anything or even breathe she was just grateful to be allowed in the room.She misses them like crazy now they are all gone smile

QuickLookBusy Wed 05-Dec-12 22:17:38

I wouldn't drop the tradition this year. They will always remember the year their mum didn't do stockings and they will remind you of it for years to come. Also you sound as if you don't want to end it really.

I would do what Hully said.

MorrisZapp Wed 05-Dec-12 22:26:51

Trappist monastery. Each year, one monk is allowed to say one thing.

The day comes. Chosen monk says 'the soup is too salty'.

One year later it's the next monk's turn. He says 'the soup tastes fine to me'.

A year goes by. The next monk to speak says 'oh can you just stop arguing!'.

I couldn't think how to include a reindeer.

AngelOne Wed 05-Dec-12 22:31:01

Ahhhhh sibling rivalry at it's best grin

I'm one of four. We had 4 stockings with 4 different characters on and like you they didn't belong to anyone in particular, but we ALL like the gingerbread man one best.

My mum tried her best to rotate the gingerbread man stocking so we all had a turn, but bless her she just couldn't remember from one year to the next whos turn it was. We could of course grin

My littlest sister got the gingerbread man 2 years in a row. And she told told us all first thing on xmas morning before the parents were up, that mum had told her she could have gingerbread man stocking again because she loved her best shock Oh my god hell broke out that year grin

We're still the same (we're all in our 30s) grin

Oblomov Wed 05-Dec-12 22:31:43

Agreed. You clearly don't WANT to stop the stocking tradition, so it just needs to be adapted.

amck5700 Wed 05-Dec-12 22:36:09

I'd get a cheap pair of football socks and a marker pen and write the boys names on one each and get a nice new stocking for your daughter to use and take to Oz with her for next year. Use the others as decorations round the house or put them away as a memory.

QuickLookBusy Wed 05-Dec-12 22:38:21

I bought my DDs the same stockings. However that didn't stop dd1 writing her name on one of them when she was 5. She said she preferred that one, even though they were exactly the same.confused

AngelOne Wed 05-Dec-12 22:41:21

We also had 4 hot water bottles, all with a different Mr Men on which we fought over too.

NOTE TO PARENTS: if you plan on having more than one child ALWAYS buy identical EVERYTHING or there will be arguments.

Although it looks like quicklookbusy's DD has ruined that plan as well. Ah well.

Brycie Wed 05-Dec-12 22:45:38


that's all I have to offer

amck5700 Wed 05-Dec-12 22:49:46

I have two boys and they have never fought over stuff like that. We just bought two different things and told them who's was who's. Not quite sure what we have done wrong or right, presume it is just their nature.

AngelOne Wed 05-Dec-12 22:51:32

Are they competitive in other ways amck5700 ?

amck5700 Wed 05-Dec-12 23:00:25

the elder is a bit competitive - he always wanted to have competitions that he knew he could win (best drawing etc), mainly cos his brother is younger - younger is not competitive though did have a bit of a chip on his shoulder for a while. Don't get me wrong, they do have the odd spat but nothing serious.....and most of the time they choose to share a bedroom even though they have their own.

The Scout leader says it's the first set of brothers she has had that actually want to be together and that will share a tent quite happily - usually brothers don't want their sibling anywhere near. Think it's probably because they are only 13 months apart and they tend to share friends etc. One just gone to High school and youngest desperate to go and interestingly, the eldest is happy to introduce his brother to his new friends and let him join in on their on line gaming sessions etc.

I hope it lasts and they stay friends as adults.

handsandknees Thu 06-Dec-12 01:06:30

Nothing helpful to add but agree that it will become a family story over time. I am an only child and struggle with my own dcs' squabbling but DH is one of 4 and has many tales of this kind. I watch with amazement at family occasions where the 4 of them revert back to 10 year olds.

In my own family we've already had a few of this kind of incident and it looks like we have a few more years of it left! The best one was when we lived in Holland where they do the Sinterklaas tradition of a sweet left in your shoe every night for a week. DS was about 4 at the time - he was so excited that he kept getting up in the night to check his shoe. After a few days of this we were all knackered and DH warned him that if he went downstairs in the night again, he wouldn't get a sweet in his shoe. He did go down, so DH put him back to bed and removed the sweet. We then heard DS sneak down again and realising he had no sweet, stole the one from his sister's shoe, took it back to bed and scoffed it, "hiding" the wrapper down the side of his bed. In the morning DH quickly put another one in DD's shoe - the look on DS's face was priceless, but of course he couldn't say anything!

janeyjampot Thu 06-Dec-12 05:27:44

I think in your position I might ask the children to take over the stockings this year - now that everyone's growing up perhaps we'll take turns to be Santa now etc.

The stockings are a lovely tradition for you, it sounds like for your children that ARGUING over the stocking is their tradition. Let them fight it out and tell you the decision.

lljkk Thu 06-Dec-12 10:27:40

I feel your pain but it is hilarious to hear about as an outsider.

YOU get the reindeer stocking for now on, and the offspring can have
Identical pillow cases with names marker penned on to be used as their stockings henceforth.

sugarandspite Thu 06-Dec-12 10:40:45

I'd buy cheap plain stockings and a pack of fabric paints, on Christmas eve everyone gets to decorate their own new stocking with whatever they fancy - as many reindeers as they want.

Then use the originals for lovely decoration

Banana1997 Thu 06-Dec-12 10:40:53

Don't give up this lovely tradition. It sounds like Christmas was more fraught for you last year because of the bad news you received which made the situation 10 times worse. My two sisters and I always used to pile on to our parents bed (hungover) on Christmas morning and the memories of this are precious as we lost our Mum when she was only 45, we were only in our teens and twenties. We also lost our DD this May, she was 14 and I would have big regrets if we didn't do our stockings last year. I know they are older now, but cherish the time whilst they are still at home with you xx

AndiMac Thu 06-Dec-12 11:11:17

I understand it upsets you, but the kids will probably spend the next decades telling everyone about how they used to fight over the precious reindeer stocking and tell the story with smiles on their faces at the memories. Take comfort in the fact that for them, this is a tradition, not an issue.

I think a whole year is a long time to wait for the consequences of one's actions, even at their age, so I'd still do the stockings, just making certain that DD gets it this year. Fill the stockings at 6am, or move the reindeer one onto DD's bed so there's no chance for the stockings to be rearranged.

ethelb Thu 06-Dec-12 11:18:10

I'm one of three (25 my sisters are 17 and 22) and I'm sorry but I am horrified that you have three children and had two stocking in one design and another in another design. Asking for trouble grin

ethelb Thu 06-Dec-12 11:23:35

Plus, its just the kidn of 'joke' I would have made at the same age. And I didn't have a social filter in 'sad' situations.

girlywhirly Thu 06-Dec-12 11:24:18

I think you should have the talk that you will not tolerate the behaviour of last year, tell them that they should know that naughty children don't get stockings and you will be monitoring behaviour accordingly. You could use this to your advantage so that if they really want stockings, they will be better behaved and more considerate of others, and also more helpful in the run up to Christmas.

I think you could hand out the empty poundland stockings on Christmas eve, and then swap them over for their filled posh stockings next day. Then if they want to keep the contents they have to be helpful all day.

Sorry about your DD, Banana. This will be a hard Christmas for you.

Themumsnotroastingonanopenfire Thu 06-Dec-12 11:26:55

I think as a couple of others have said that as all your children are adults or nearly adults you need to resolve this by having a discussion about it. At the moment your own reaction is one of the biggest parts of the problem. They don't know how you feel and you propose to punish them, as you would younger children, without allowing them to deal with the issue in a grown up way and come to a solution. You need to get this out there, explain how the argument made you feel last year and get them to take responsibility for behaving like the grown ups they almost are.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Thu 06-Dec-12 12:59:55

I would tell them that the old stockings are out of circulation, anyone who wants stocking presents can organise themselves to go and buy (and name) their own stockings and put them outside on Christmas Eve, otherwise it will just be a pile of presents with their name on the top.

Your dd will probably buy a suitable alternative, your boys will either go to poundland or just not bother. then sneak the reindeer into your dd's luggage or post it to her next year and she will have one for her and one for her dp when she gets that far They are old enough to sort it out themselves.

I'm so sorry Banana utterly heartbreaking.

Just to reinforce what Andi says I'm in my 40s and me and my brother and sister still fight about who is going to have to sit at the place with the fish recipes placemat when we go to my parents' house. It is tradition to us.

And my Mum has bless her has kept that one individual placemat from the set very carefully over the years so we can still keep up our family tradition - started at the age of 6-8 when going to my Granny's for Sunday dinner. We have unfortunately involved our kids and partners too now so there are 14 of us trying desperately to avoid it in the first instance and then off load it during dinner.

We all have a laugh about it now we're older - I'm sure it was irritating when sitting down for dinner in our teen years. we might have cried and sulked about it

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