To tell everyone not to buy DS any Christmas presents ?

(112 Posts)
formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 19:28:47

Firstly, I should point out that I am very very angry so please tell me if I am being a bit extreme.

DS, aged 4 had a friend round today. They trashed his toys. Expensive toys like a play mobile castle, and pirate ship that cost around £100 each and all the paraphernalia that goes with it. DS was the ringleader.

Some things were actually smashed so cant be repaired and it will take longer for me to put the castle and ship and battering ram etc back together than they spent playing with it - much longer.

After they had trashed his bedroom, they came down and started chucking Lego round the lounge. The other boys' mum and I were in there with the babies so we were able to stop them.

When it was time for the friend to go home, DS punched him in the stomach. The little boy went home in tears and I could see his mum was pissed off with DS. I was so embarrassed.

After they had gone I went with my son upstairs to his room and told him to tidy up everything and what hadn't been put away in 30 minutes would be taken away from him, along with the smashed up pirate ship and castle.

When I went up 30 minutes later he had left a lot of it on the floor still. I said more than once 'have I got this right - you would rather have your toys taken away than put them in the basket?' In various ways as I wasn't convinced he understood but he assured me 'yes, he'd picked up a few and I could take the rest'. I have already confiscated the boat and castle.

AIBU to deduce he is a spoilt brat with far too much? I have never been big on material presents anyway but he gets a lot from his GPs. Compared to friends he is about average on the amount of toys he has but it is far far more than I had growing up.

I almost took a bin bag and put all his toys in it. I am livid and so ashamed that I have raised someone with such little respect. Christmas is cancelled for him.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 20:19:40

Thanks to those of you who have provided constructive replies rather than personal criticism.

Just to make it clear: I did not threaten him with cancelling Christmas. I don't threaten my children. Not do I give a shit over smashed up Lego. I mean a play mobile castle with lots of little walls and a pirate ship - basically they pulled it all apart. It is not really designed for this so please don't tell me it is.

LadyMargolotta Sat 10-Nov-12 20:20:33

Of course he is not going to tidy up now. He is exhausted and probably very upset by the whole thing.

You have already said that the punching was due to him being overexcited and tidy - you were really not in control of the situation.

You should have stopped the playdate a lot earlier before it got to the stage when a little boy got hurt.

Smashing up a playmobil ship and castle is normal behaviour for two unattended four year old boys. It is naughty behaviour of course, and I am not excusing it totally, but it does not mean that you should overreact.

You need to calm down and accept him for what he is - a four year old boy.

valiumredhead Sat 10-Nov-12 20:22:47

You need to calm down and accept him for what he is - a four year old boy


LadyMargolotta Sat 10-Nov-12 20:23:41

Playmobil is designed to be pulled apart, and is very hard to break. If you can find all the pieces, then I am sure, with the instructions and a lot of patience, you can put it together again.

Even if vital pieces are lost, Playmobil will usually send you out replacement parts.

BeatTheClock Sat 10-Nov-12 20:24:43

I think Christmas probably seems years away in November when you are 4 so using it as punishment won't work.

I'd be cross but I'd only punish today's behaviour and that would involve much helping of tidying up. Def more supervision next time - they probably egged each other on, so not entirely their fault.

One thing though, I always found it helped to just leave just a few things out to play when friends come round and put as much away as possible. Otherwise everything gets tipped out for the sake of it and you're left with a hideous mess to clear up. The less that's out, the more they actually play with the toys available I noticed.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 20:25:23

Ok thanks. I am a cruel parent. Thanks MN. Message received loud and clear. Was just trying to do my best but don't worry about it.

jamaisjedors Sat 10-Nov-12 20:26:01

He's too young for intricate toys like that I think.

Those fiddly playmobil things are ok from about age 6 maybe I think. Do yourself a favour and keep them bagged up for a while - in 2 years you can give them to him for Christmas again - for free!

I agree you are being a little unrealistic about what he can do alone and how silly they get with friends (and yes I have 2 boys).

If he's in a smashing up phase how about some Kapla for Christmas - no fiddly little bits and nothing to break. Give the playmobil a miss for a while.

But I would be angry about the punching - NO justification for that at all and I would have come down very hard. A close friend of mine has 3 children who hit/punch/bite etc. and it's very hard for everyone - don't let this become a habit.

apostropheuse Sat 10-Nov-12 20:27:38

OP Did you post in AIBU just so that everyone would agree with you? Even if people think you're being unreasonable?

That's not how it works.

jamaisjedors Sat 10-Nov-12 20:29:22

BTW if it's any reassurance that your child is not a total spoilt brat (which is what I think you are worried about), my 5 yr old would rather I threw his toys in the bin than tidy them up himself.

His older brother (at the same age or younger) would have picked them up quick smart. Sometimes if they are stubborn and don't like being in the wrong they will deliberately not pick up stuff to gain some control spite you

midori1999 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:30:32

You come across as quite aggressive tbh, with unrealistic expectations of how 4 year olds behave.

Children Only see immediate consequences really, do faced with a choice of tidying up or losing toys, your son will only be thinking about right now, not what he'll do tomorrow or next week when he wants to play with those toys.

whatsforyou Sat 10-Nov-12 20:31:08

There is a big difference between getting carried away when playing and breaking stuff and deliberately trashing stuff. Even at 4 I would be quite strict about this, removing toys until he earns them back. Christmas is almost two months away, that's like forever when you're little to pointless using that as a punishment.
I also think it's a little bit unfair on family because they will like picking out pressies for him :-)

crazygracieuk Sat 10-Nov-12 20:31:24

Agree with CailinDaba

If bedtime is normally 15 minutes after the play date ended (why did you not end it earlier?) then I would have asked him to tidy up tomorrow and only realise the enormity of losing his toys when he felt like playing with it and it was unavailable?

If you were planning on getting Playmobil for Xmas stick to simple stuff like vehicles and leave the bigger sets until he's older and would take care of the bits. Does he even like Playmobil?

In my experience, kids have less than a handful of toys that they really care about and the rest they can give or take.

I'd take the opportunity to hide or cull his toy collection.

sparkina Sat 10-Nov-12 20:35:19

He is four, seriously, calm down and look in the mirror if you want to blame someone!

zeeboo Sat 10-Nov-12 20:37:18

I'm dying to know how a 4 year old is supposed to know or understand the value or cost of these £100 Playmobil sets!!
HE IS FOUR. No toy is worth more than another to a 4 yr old. If you want things kept pristine then put them away and only allow him to have one or two toys out at a time.
Everything that happened today could have been completely prevented by you making smarter decisions and being more in control of the situation. You chose to sit and chat and drink coffee so this is your consequence.
Sure 4 year olds can tidy up, but not alone after a friend helped them trash the room, so you should have asked them to tidy before the friend was due to leave. And most will tidy wonderfully if you can get off your backside and sit with them and offer direction and some chat to take they mind off the fact that they're being made to tidy up.
Threatening to ban Christmas, even if you've only said it here is immature in the extreme. Nearly as immature as expecting a 4 year old to behave like an 8 year old without any input from his mother.

hugoagogo Sat 10-Nov-12 20:37:38

Course you were formerly, I for one am just trying to give you the benefit of my experience.

It is maddening when dc do not look after their things <shudders at thought of dd's room>, but it's also a bit unrealistic to expect them to.

BeatTheClock Sat 10-Nov-12 20:37:56

I don't think you're a cruel parent. You sound like you've had a bit of a crappy day though and I don't blame you for feeling cheesed off about it. I clearly remember being knackered and surveying with sinking heart a trashed house after friends had come to play. It's awful and I sympathisesad See how you feel tomorrow wine

naturalbaby Sat 10-Nov-12 20:38:11

You asked us to tell you if you were/are being extreme and we all said you are.
We all get pushed beyond limits and overreact, you've had plenty of advice to help you and your ds - the main one in my book to give yourself a break!

To the outside world you are overreacting which in my situation is an indication that I am far too tired and stressed and need to do something about it.

I've been as cross as you with my ds's over the silly things they've done to their toys and each other but it's not the end of the world.

IloveJudgeJudy Sat 10-Nov-12 20:41:23

Just typed a big message, but lost it confused. The gist of it was that he's 4 yo and doesn't really know how to behave on a playdate so shouldn't have been left alone with a friend upstairs. He and his friend should have been playing in the same room as you parents. It's not his, nor your, fault. It's just that this is new territory for both.

If he can't put together the toys then he's really too young for them. I think you've been a bit harsh with him, but never mind, tomorrow is another day, a fresh start. In the big scheme of things it's nothing, really.

He doesn't know that the toy cost £100. he might know the number, but he has no concept of that.

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 20:45:59

Get rid of the Playmobil - you are far too precious about it. Get your DS toys he can actually play with.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 20:51:27

Ok sorry for the flounce.

I agree fully with those of you who think it is my fault. I should have been more assertive. The play date turned up really late and stayed late. I should have asked them to go home.

I have been quite upset by people suggesting that I just sit on my arse drinking coffee and the boys were behaving badly as a kind of cry for help. The reason they were playing upstairs is because the babies, who are both mobile btw, put things in their mouths so can absolutely not be in the same room as the toys the boys were playing with.

I'm not sure how you can get around this problem. The babies knocked the boys Lego down when they were all playing in the lounge -or tried and had to be restrained the whole time so the boys went upstairs.

We did check on them regularly of course. Noise Is to be expected. It was only later when I looked in a hidden corner that I saw the trashed toys.

But basically you all seem to think that a lack of respect for possessions and people is ok if you are 4 and tired??

Cluffyfunt Sat 10-Nov-12 20:53:08

He went ott when he had a friend round.
It happens.

I hope you wouldn't really cancell Xmas over this.
I hope you are just angry and venting.

I would speak to him tomorrow, explaining why he has had toys removed, that he made himself look like a baby (the baby one has always worked for me) and that untill he can learn how to behave nicely there will be no more play dates.

altinkum Sat 10-Nov-12 20:53:33

YABU, you can't just expect your child to look after his belongings exotically at A, is only 4, and B , their is another child involved!!!

JoInScotland Sat 10-Nov-12 20:53:59

My son is nearly 3. There is a lockable cupboard in the playroom, and most of his toys live there. I rotate them once a week or so, and they always stay "fresh" and interesting. Of course his favourite stuffed rabbit and teaset stay out all the time. The thing is, it helps to keep the amount of stuff out at any one time down to a minimum. Children can feel overwhelmed if all of their toys are out all the time. I've seen children sort of look around at their vast collections and lack inspiration of what to play with.

I put anything I don't want broken or handled roughly away before a friend comes to play. DS's best friend is more rough with toys than he is, and likes to just get tons of things out to play with. I know this, and put away things with lots of pieces (jigsaws) that will just be emptied onto the floor and not really played with.

I make space available before a playdate - I put his little fabric-covered tent in the middle of the room, clear the floor of other toys and like I said, put away breakable or "get-this-out-for-the-sake-of-getting-it-out" toys. I know what DS is capable of, and I know what his friend is going to want to play/do/is capable of. And the mother and I sit just one room away having a cup of tea, where we can hear what is going on, and the children can come into the room or go back into the playroom. He is not even three - I do not expect him to behave perfectly, out of my sight, just so I can have a little "me time" with a friend.... and I agree if you and your friend have babies that will be another factor in the mix, as will your son starting school. Has he? Mine started preschool recently and is a lot more tired in the afternoons.

Tune into his world and figure out how he feels about all these things- tired from school? Feeling a bit pushed out by new baby? Lonely from playing far away from the parents? As many others have said, he's only 4. I only get "me time" when he's asleep in the evening, or when he takes a nap in the afternoon. But I accept that, because he's not even 3.

I think you just had a bad day, and your son was tired. We try to never go to bed angry in this house, and also don't punish twice for the same "crime". I wouldn't cancel Christmas - too far away, and too big of a punishment. Next time, end the playdate at 6 so everyone has time to calm down, and go with the regular routine. Say you're sorry for shouting at him, and ask him to apologise for 1) punching his friend and 2) being so rough with his toys? And then start over with a clean slate. (Life goes on)

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 20:55:22

Did you tell him he wasn't allowed to take the Playmobil apart?

EBDTeacher Sat 10-Nov-12 21:01:37

Next time you build a playmobil structure (I am a veteran) superglue it as you go.

It is good to have high expectations of children's behaviour but I think you have to understand that they are only little and will sometimes fail. Yes, your DS failed to meet your expectations of his behaviour, but you have said yourself there were mitigating circumstances. He is not callous (unless there are lots of other 'mummy baiting' incidents you have not mentioned) and even if he were, at 4 you would have to be asking yourself why rather than blaming him.

I would just calmly explain to him why you are so disappointed by his behaviour and that it will be some time before you have a chance to rebuild his playmobil for him and move on.

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