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 21:02:54

Sure he knows not to take the play mobile apart. He plays with it LOADS. With me or his dad or other friends. Properly. Fantastically. It's just when he is with this boy things seem to go a bit pest shaped by the look of things. It's not the other boys fault at all. He just seems to bring out the worst in DS and vice versa. I have been wondering whether we should stop seeing them as I am not overly keen on the mum tbh but DS likes the boy a lot so I have kept at it.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 21:07:24

And to the people who have judgy pants hoiked high, of course I did not let my son know how ashamed of him I was. He knew I was upset and cross and I told him so. But I still put him to bed with a kiss and a cuddle and told him I love him. Then I came downstairs and vented on MN. I think that is what it's for.

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 21:10:30

So not only was he tired he was with a boy that brings out the worst in him. It just sounds like a big mixture of bad circumstances. I would have a quiet calm word with him tomorrow and let it go.

naturalbaby Sat 10-Nov-12 21:13:29

well he doesn't usually smash up his Playmobil and leave stuff all over the floor does he? So it's clearly not o.k but not totally unexpected considering the circumstances.
If I let my ds's out of my sight and they play up my parenting stance on it is it's my fault - I wasn't there to stop them or redirect them or help them. I do have very high expectations of behaviour but I can't expect them to do the right thing all the time, especially not if I wasn't there.

My oldest is 4 1/2 but he has 2 little brothers so he's not as mature as he could be. He is very considerate and responsible but when he sees his little brothers being silly and trashing stuff then it's not fair to expect him to be the grown up. When his youngest brother is 4 1/2 he will get away with a lot more because he will still be the 'baby'.

ThalianotFailure Sat 10-Nov-12 21:14:56

it sounds like your DS isn't the only one whose knackered smile.

I would keep the friendship up if they like each other but perhaps keep the more precious toys out of the way next time (and explain why to your DS). Keep playdates short if you know he's tired to begin with. Expecting him to tidy up nicely when you know he's shattered is a bit U, but not the end of the world to have taken the toys away. Maybe when he gets it back you can involve him with putting it back together so he learns what a faff it is and why you don't want it smashed up. Don't cancel Christmas.

I would, however, make more of a deal about punching his friend - tiredness is the reason, no doubt, but it's not an excuse and he needs to understand that. Smashing up toys is one (minor) thing, physical violence is quite another.

Have a big glass of wine and watch some telly. I have been indulging in season 4 of True Blood today, I thoroughly recommend; that many buff torsos will surely restore you . . .

Snog Sat 10-Nov-12 21:17:06

YABVU
Your expectations of a four year old are way beyond reasonable and your suggested punishment is disproportionate, too remote in time and inappropriate. It is not your child's fault that you spent £100 on his toy and it took you hours to build yourself.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 21:19:21

I think I took it all badly because I am knackered due to the worst sleeping baby ever in the history of the world. So, now you all have given me some good advice and I've calmed down I think the best thing I can do for my little boy is get myself off to bed in case the baby is up from 3-6 like last night. But that would need a whole other thread. So, thanks guys and night.

Snog Sat 10-Nov-12 21:25:51

Sleep well and uninterrupted my friend x

Marzipanface Sat 10-Nov-12 21:28:48

Isn't Playmobil designed to be taken apart?? So he didn't break the items, just took them apart.

I think Christmas is cancelled is a totally disproportionate response. I think you are angry with his behaviour and clearly tired as you have a lot on.

Sleep on it.

BeatTheClock Sat 10-Nov-12 21:31:22

Hmm well no I don't think a lack of respect for possessions and people is ok if you are 4 and tired. I bet your ds would say he knows it's not ok either if you ask him when all is calm and rational.

He'll understand the concept, but 4 is too young to always remember the right way to behave in the heat of the moment. And that's the trick isn't it? To remember and know how to police yourself even when mum isn't looking and maybe someone else is temptingly saying go on lets do it. It's a big thing to learn.

He'll have learned a little bit more today and next time or the time after might stop and think a little bit ahead of consequences. But it's a way off yet, maybe a couple of years I imagine before he's going to remember every time cos that comes with growing up and being mature. He'll learn it by seeing a few more episodes of people after the event going 'Aargh! angry' and feeling very sorry about it. I had many many of those Aargh look at this! Why did you do that??confused moments myself.

I totally sympathise with babies and older siblings and babies getting hold of the wrong toys. It's exhausting trying to keep an eye on them when they have such different needs and babies put every thing in their mouth. How my dts didn't swallow mountains of Polly Pocket when dd was 4 I'll never know. Actually probably they didblush You feel you can't turn your back for a second. Its hard. Actually forget the glass of wine...have the bottlewink

PoppyWearer Sat 10-Nov-12 22:10:21

OP, I hope you are reading this after a good night's sleep. I wanted to reply earlier but was busy wrestling my refuses-to-sleep 15mo whilst trying to read this thread.

FWIW, I understand your anger. I've been there. My then-3yo DD and her cousin wrecked her room and lots of toys earlier in the year. It was a family gathering, I assumed someone else was watching them, he wasn't, I assumed they couldn't open the stair gate, they could. They got upstairs and wrecked her room.

I was very, very cross afterwards. As it was family, I couldn't properly vent, nor could I ban the cousin in question from visiting again. DD was suitably punished, nothing physical, Christmas wasn't cancelled, we cancelled some other treat instead (for what it was worth, she didn't care), some toys were thrown out, my FIL kindly helped with some repairs to the room.

Since then I have allowed a couple of play dates and I have allowed them into her room, and there has been a bit of mess but nothing so bad.

When her cousin visits now, they are supervised closely, toys not suitable for the babies are shut away, and a very strong stair gate now guards upstairs. I now also know that the two of them together is an explosive combination and try to read the signals.

I still don't have a sense of humour about the episode in question, but the passing of time has helped!

We've had a few other toys wrecked with friends coming over when DD was younger and yes, it upsets me, especially when they are things chosen with love or that DD has loved. These days I allow far fewer friends over to play, we meet friends at neutral places where possible.

Poppylovescheese Sat 10-Nov-12 22:22:09

TBH I would be much much more concerned about him hitting another child than wrecking toys and not putting them away. That said at 4 I think your expectations were way way too high. They should have been closely supervised. IMO you are at fault here NOT your ds.

LingDiLong Sat 10-Nov-12 22:31:06

Oh dear, playdates at that age can be a bit fraught. It sounds like it got a bit out of control...I definitely think there should be a consequence for breaking toys at that age (and hitting - but I think you're right, you've got that sorted). Cancelling Christmas is way too harsh though. I'd simply take the toys away. He may not be bothered now but he may well be tomorrow. When he asks for them you can have a proper talk when he's not so tired and wound up about what happened and why the toys have been removed. Give him a chance to show you he can be careful with his toys and tidy up well so you can give them back again. And yes, next playdate don't let him play alone - and tell him why you've made that decision.

LadyMargolotta Sun 11-Nov-12 09:14:23

TBH all our best toys are locked away. And I mean locked - with a key. Certain toys can be played with all the time, but expensive Lego sets and some playmobil are locked away and only taken out when I know I can trust my children with them. That way they are taught to look after and respect toys.

I think you may have overreacted last night becuase you were frustrated with yourself for not being strong enough to ask the playdate to go home at a reasonable time.

I hope you had a good night's sleep. I have been up half the night with my four year old ds. Eight years of near constant sleepless nights! Lack of sleep does destroy your judgement.

Lack of sleep is torture (I average 3 hours a night), but your reaction is totally disproportionate. My DS1 has friends over and at 6, they do trash things if left alone for periods of time. Its time for mayhem and excitement, but today don't mention it again, just help him to tidy up and move on and learn a lesson.

I do remove toys that are a PITA to rebuild when there are others coming over, I've learnt my lesson.

thegreylady Sun 11-Nov-12 09:54:41

You cannot do that. By Christmas he will have forgotten this incident. He will have lived through the build up,listened to others talking about wishes etc. Does he believe in Santa? If you "cancel Christmas" for him I honestly believe you will do immeasurable harm to your child's perception of you. Cruelty is never acceptable. Punish him now then love him and forget it.
Some posts make me sick to my stomach and this was one.

izzywizzyisbizzy Sun 11-Nov-12 10:01:48

He is 4, this happened here when my friend brought her little girl over, they totally trashed his bedroom, it is NOT how he plays, clearly the excitement got to them, them emptied every toy box, took apart the playmobil castle etc.

No way could he have sorted it all out, I nearly cried and it took me and DH together hours to sort it.

Lesson learned, for ME, not to let him in his room with that child again, as for the punching in stomach, my guess is they had been rough playing and he was getting the last shot in.

You are being totally OTT, and your expectations are way too high.

Mrsjay Sun 11-Nov-12 10:14:23

He is 4 his friend is 4 they were unsupervised I do think you are a little to blame I would be livid though and would take toys away too I have black bagged many a toy over the years , 'things' dont make children spoiled imo it is the attitude to their things that spoils them you cant cancel christmas he is 4 he will forget by next week what happened discipline him by taking his toys away but dont cancel christmas , yabu and Yanbu he is 4

gotthemoononastick Sun 11-Nov-12 12:54:47

Four is so little...my boys used to throw toys and lego pieces away in bin,when they were older and overwhelmed with room tidying.All professionals now,and they like to hear about it all.
More than 50 years ago I wanted to show my boy cousins a new umbrella.We accidentally hooked a huge box of grapes off a cupboard and proceeded to 'make wine' on a pale sage green carpet.Family legend.Still don't know why I went along with it.We were 6!!
He will be fine...

gotthemoononastick Sun 11-Nov-12 13:04:51

Would have loved Joinscotland for a Mummy,Daughter,Daughter in law!!!

milkymocha Sun 11-Nov-12 13:05:43

I wouldnt worry about breaking a few toys whilst being over excited in his little play mates company... Punching a friend in the stomache is unacceptable! My son is 2.7 and i would be outraged angry

LadyMargolotta Sun 11-Nov-12 13:05:44

I would say four is too young for regular Lego if you have a lively child (and most four year olds, boys and girls, are lively). Stick with Duplo. The Lego can wait until they are old enough to appreciate it.

valiumredhead Sun 11-Nov-12 13:06:37

4 is fine for a 4 year old but expect it to be broken up because that's what happens with Lego.

marriedinwhite Sun 11-Nov-12 13:35:52

I hope you are having a better day OP. FWIW my children are almost 18 (ds) and 14.5 now.

When DS was 3 and 4 and 5 and super fun game was wreck the bedroom and it happened when I was least expecting it and the boys that tended to do it were the ones from the pristine, immaculate homes where all toys were lovingly returned to the right box. It's tidyable. At that age they need supervision; they need to be told to bring one or two toys down or in from the playroom and they some structure for play that is to last longer than 5 minutes and not end in tears. Tiredness always leads to disaster.

Even with DD we once had a sweet five year old round who jollied up a bit of indelible marker penning on an expensive dolls house and the bedroom walls and then decided she would hunt the Xmas present stash and chuck the presents down the stairs and DD joined in.

Oh I have been so furious over the years. But the bigger one's own children get the more you realise they are so very young and vulnerable to the charms of others at 3 and 4 and 5 and 6. One's expectations for one's eldest are usually ridiculous but it doesn't make it easier when those expectations aren't met.

I do think the boys were too tired, I do think they needed more supervision, I do think the attention should not just have been reserved for the baby siblings, I do think that the toys coudl have been brought down and the two mummies could have watched the babies to make sure they didn't mouthe tiny toy pieces or only bigger toys could have come downstairs. I also think that if the playmobil models are too complex for a child to make, the child is too young for the model. Your son didn't make the model; he has no real idea of its complexity - we had one big playmobile model when ds was about 8 and it took hours and was never much played with. OTH the lego farm with extra animals and the addition of a cardboard box here and there and grass from the garden for animal feeding was worth its weight in gold because it was age appropriate.

I think your ds deserves a lovely Christmas and some lovely presents but presents that are age appropriate and that he can put together and have fun with. I think he should write a letter of apology to the boy he punched and should deliver it by hand.

There are lots of mitigating factors around his "crimes" and infants cannot understand an impact in six weeks time for something they did yesterday.

Many will criticise this but mine always had a sweetie ration. Every day they could choose four sweeties from the jar (6 if they were little ones). That was a little treat that was very easy to withdraw when they were naughty and the impact of that was far greater than any possible sugar damage. And they have no fillings!!

Good luck OP. just wait until you are screaming at the top of your lungs because he has wandered in after the milk and you have been awake all night worried sick

LadyMargolotta Sun 11-Nov-12 13:44:35

Good post marriedinwhite. I dread the day (or most likely night) when my girls want to go out on their own.

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