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.

rainbowinthesky Sat 10-Nov-12 19:31:50

Err, yes, of course Yabu. Where were you when he was doing all the trashing?

DangerousMouse Sat 10-Nov-12 19:32:03

Has he behaved like this before? 4 is quite young to be left unattended with a friend over in the bedroom, I remember when my DD was that age I would check on them every half hr or so, I also had the baby alarm plugged in..

GrimAndHumourless Sat 10-Nov-12 19:35:10

actually bag it up and pop in garage because you MUST follow through, bring back out bit by bit over the next few weeks

don't cancel christmas however, the linear time difference between now and then is far far too long and to cancel is disproportionate in the extreme

you need to think about downstairs play only when he has mates over, four year olds are notoriously impulsive and easily egged-on

TulisaLover Sat 10-Nov-12 19:36:08

I think YANBU. This gift giving malarkey is getting out of hand. I'm hearing so many mum's saying 'but so and so is getting her DC's an iPad/Moshi/Tiffany Bracelet' and stressing out over it, and there DC's are not even 5 years old. It's absolutely ridiculous and sums up the consumer driven madhouse this world is becoming.

Then you'll get a shill saying 'But we need economic growth!'. The hell we do. Compost your own faeces, have your kids play with cardboard boxes and read Oscar Wilde. And grow your own veg.

ginmakesitallok Sat 10-Nov-12 19:36:25

yabu - he's only 4 for God's sake! There is no point in cancelling Christmas - its too far away and he won't be able to make the connection. You should have been supervising him. Surely the point of playmobile stuff is to take it apart and put it back together??

GrimAndHumourless Sat 10-Nov-12 19:40:14

(anyone else see the irony of being upset that Pirate Ship and Battering Ram busted, presumably the kid has no toys that encourage gentle hands and kindness [meanie])

Yika Sat 10-Nov-12 19:40:40

YABU. That is much too extreme. He is only little. You are right to discipline him in the moment, but Christmas is a separate occasion. What is more, everyone else will still celebrate Christmas - you wouldnt just be withdrawing a specific privilege of his; you'd be excluding him from a celebration that the whole of society joins in. He is much too young to take full responsibility for his actions. It would be truly cruel to deny him Christmas presents.

PurplePidjin Sat 10-Nov-12 19:42:35

Consequence needs to be immediate, so bagging and removing all toys would be a good start for behaviour that appalling.

Nothing for Christmas would have absolutely no effect, it's too far away. He needs to know that his socks need to be well and truly pulled up before Santa will put him back on the Nice list though, would a Portable North Pole message work? Or get a mate to ring up and pretend? Needs to be tonight/tomorrow to have an impact...

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 19:42:53

Ginmakesitallok - I take it you don't actually own any play mobile? The castle took me 1 day to put together and the pirate ship took dp a whole morning. Definitely not designed to be smashed up. More for imaginary play I'd say than wrecking.

Ok, point taken - I should have supervised them more. I never really know and take the lead from the other mum who in this case is ultra laid back.

But it is the fact that he would rather his toys are taken away than bother to chuck them in a box that has upset me so much. It was late and he was really fucking tired (to the point that I nearly cancelled the play date as he was so tired but could manage to have a nap after lunch). But his hard is it to pick some toys up from the floor?!!

TulisaLover Sat 10-Nov-12 19:43:32

An apple, a satsuma and a box of raisins is all I ever got. It never did me any harm and nor will it do your DS if you follow the holy trinity of gifts I've outlined.

I love your last suggestions Tulisa (being serious!) smile

Give him some token presents at Christmas and still make a lovely atmosphere, but YANBU to want to pare it down a lot. It's not a punishment, it's just the way things should be.

btw, why are you going to put the toys back together? he should. Maybe you could sell them and put half the money towards his Xmas presents and half towards charity. It's not a big deal if this Christmas isn't the best ever. I'm sure he's a sweet thoughtful kid most of the time but this is when you have to nip it in the bud. Because, sorry OP, he doesn't sound like he treasures his toys, I do think he sounds a bit spoilt. I don't know why children need toys- entertaining machines/objects- anyway. Stuffed animals, yes, and dolls houses and dolls. Bright flashy kidcentric thing from the TV- noooo.

Oh and also, a friend and I absolutely trashed something very special my mum had made for me when I was 3- no bad intentions, I was trying to make a bed (I remember it very clearly!) and squashed my poor mum's effort in the process, quite knowingly. I didn't turn out to be too much of a brat (I hope....)! But my mum and dad came down so harshly on me and I think it must have done me good. I have a v. good relationship with them now.

wonderingsoul Sat 10-Nov-12 19:45:18

hes 4.

how long where they left alone upstairs for.

could you not hear what was going on? id be slightly more worried if all this was done with n o noiuse at all tbh.

i would punish him by bagging it all up and giving it back bit by bit.

i also think you are bu for telling him to tidy then just leaving him to it. you should have stayed in the room and supervised. coached him with what to todo. hes FOUR!


formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 19:47:27

Grimandhumourless - You obviously don't have any boys do you? I'm not going to bother to list the wonderful fluffy toys he has and the hours of tree hugging we do.

MsFlippingHeck Sat 10-Nov-12 19:48:08

Don't cancel Christmas, but I'd punish today's behaviour. Four is old enough to know not to behave like that.

Serious talk tomorrow with threats that will 'hurt' ( removal of sweets/trips/tv whatever his favourite thing is because hes obviously not bothered about toys being confiscated) if that behaviour is seen again.

Get gps onboard with reminding him that his behaviour was wrong and there will be serious consequences next time so he sees a united front.

Viviennemary Sat 10-Nov-12 19:49:24

Four is quite young to behave well unsupervised. I agree that you were partly to blame for not stopping this sooner. It does sound like he has too many toys out at once. Somebody told me to put some toys away in the loft or similar and then change them every so often. Four year olds can't tidy without being supervised. Most wouldn't know where to start. Sorry to all Mums with exceptionally organised and tidy DC's of four years old!

midseasonsale Sat 10-Nov-12 19:50:51

I would bag it up and hide it. He can earn it back through good behavior here and there.

About Xmas. What about asking for money instead and use it towards some clubs where respect/burning up energy/taking instruction is key - cubs, swimming etc.

Also with the gifts, spread them out over a couple of weeks and give them daily if he is good.

He is 4 and should know better. He will calm down I'm sure.

wonderingsoul Sat 10-Nov-12 19:51:38

last wasnt meant to be in shouty caps..

i felt rarther bad after i saw it.. i didnt mean to shout. eekk

midseasonsale Sat 10-Nov-12 19:52:37

ps. My 4.4 year old can tidy his room perfectly and play gently unsupervised. He is still far from perfect though!

WildWorld2004 Sat 10-Nov-12 19:53:30

YANBU to not want him getting any more toys for christmas. The way he is acting is a bit spoilt and not appreciative.

My 4yr old was quite capable of tidying up her toys when left to it.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 19:53:36

What? Of course a 4 year old can tidy their toys away. One box for the train set, one for the Lego etc. that's all he had to do. He could do this at 18 months (I'm not joking - he made a better job if it then too).

naturalbaby Sat 10-Nov-12 19:54:46

YABU, he is 4 not 14!

I have a 4yr old who had a playdate on Friday and his behaviour was out of control - he was a horrible, mean child and I have never seen behaviour like that from him before. He was exhausted and unsupervised for a minute too long, once he'd lost the plot there was no way he could control himself so his friend went home.

If a child does something wrong, even as bad as your DS, you deal with it and move on and work out how to prevent it happening again. To keep going on and on and on punishing him is pointless and mean and will not help him at all.

valiumredhead Sat 10-Nov-12 19:55:30

Hang on - so you are actually saying that the Playmobile got broken up NOT smashed into smithereens?


That's the whole point of Play mobile and Lego - break it up and start again.

They are very young to be left for long periods of time and there is usually high jinx when 4 year olds get together.

The punch is not on but again, sounds like over excitement - an apology and move on.

Cancel Christmas? It's miles off and won't make the connection. Save huge punishments for things that actually matter, not a pair of over excited kids who need a bit of reigning in and some broken up Playmobile.

apostropheuse Sat 10-Nov-12 19:57:59

I can understand that you're frustrated and probably mentally exhausted too.

However, YABU.

He is only four years old. You did the right thing by telling him off and attempting to get him to tidy it all away. He knew why you were angry and that you followed through by removing the toys you said you would - if he didnt pick them up.

Christmas is six weeks away, which to adults isn't a long time. To a four year old it is ages away and he won't understand why he is being punished at that point.

I get the impression (though I may be wrong of course) that he is your oldest child. It can be the case that we expect too much of the oldest.

To me it sounds as if he was over excited and tired out and his behaviour certainly wasn't the best - particularly when he punched his friend. It was probably a bit much too tell him to clear up and not to supervise him. I think at the age of 4 many children still require guided step by step instructions.

I think it would be a disproportionate response to cancel Christmas because of this, and I think once you calm down and think put things into perspective then you will realise this too.

lovebunny Sat 10-Nov-12 19:59:10

he is four and you left him alone with another four year old to do whatever they liked.
more fool you.
don't blame the child.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 20:00:14

But this is just it natural baby - when do you stop making excuses/giving reasons for their behaviour and put some of the responsibility on them?
He was exhausted and I was downstairs but dies that really make it ok?

Personally I think not! A 4 yo should surely have some responsibility for his/her actions?

wonderingsoul Sat 10-Nov-12 20:02:27

no four year olds can play unsupervised nicely. but they obviousely wasnt, which should have been heard.. and if you cant hear them them you need to check on them to make sure their playing nicely.

four is still young and are still learning how to play socially and nicely.

valiumredhead Sat 10-Nov-12 20:02:35

Oh please! Get a grip, it's some broken up Lego and he hit out - perfectly normal things in a small child.

LadyMargolotta Sat 10-Nov-12 20:03:36

Given the chance, most children will disassemble their toys at this age, and chuck them around the floor. The point is, not to give them a chance, and to stop them as soon as they start doing it.

I am more concerned about the punching in the stomach. In what context was it? Was it rough play or was it done out of aggression?

puds11 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:04:32

I don't think it should be accepted as 'normal' for a 4 year old to punch their friend in the stomach!

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 20:05:01

Valium red head: in our house it is not normal to throw toys, smash things up or hit. Obviously. Even when you are 4.

squishyotter Sat 10-Nov-12 20:05:33


Punish him, educate him, love him.

squeakytoy Sat 10-Nov-12 20:06:03

they are four, you should have been supervising.. yabvu

GrimAndHumourless Sat 10-Nov-12 20:08:15

oh yes I do indeed have a shedload of boy offspring, no girls just boys

I do think you have over reacted, but I'm not you, and you have a small baby to boot.

Is your boy tall for his age? Very easy to have higher expectations if they LOOK older, iyswim. Also the thing about being embarrassed in front of another Mum, BTDT (am projecting here, you might not be feeling that Burn of Shame that starts in yer boots and reddens your chest before flushing neck and cheeks hotly)

valiumredhead Sat 10-Nov-12 20:09:15

It's not 'normal' in my house either but kids aren't born with social skills, er educated them, that doesn't mean over the top punishments. You sound bonkers and clearly have no idea about small children.

waits for OP to say she is a teacher/Nursery nurse

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 20:11:01

He was tired and you knew that. The behaviour of all children goes out the window when they're tired. Yet you left him in the room on his own with his friend which is the perfect situation for things to get out of control. And that's what happened, naturally. Things then blew up, he hit his friend and got dirty looks and shouting (difficult and stressful for anyone) and got sent to his room to tidy up, whereupon he just gave up. It was too much for him. And you let it get that way.

You're his mother, not his jailer. You're supposed to look out for him. In your shoes I'd be annoyed and have words but I'd recognise that I didn't read the signals right, and didn't supervise enough and that it was all just a fraught situation that got way out of hand. Flying off the handle at a small boy and threatening something extremely nasty like "cancelling Christmas" is a massive overreaction, massive. He did this not because he's some nasty creature who needs to be beaten into submission but because he couldn't control the situation, did the wrong thing and made some pretty big mistakes. Like everyone does from time to time. You are there to teach him not to make him feel like shit.

BTW why on earth did you buy him toys that you and your DP had to make - surely the idea is for him to make them? It sounds like you're annoyed because he "broke" your toys rather than his own. He didn't break them - he did what you're supposed to do with Lego, which is take it apart.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 10-Nov-12 20:11:22

About the hitting (someone asked): it was probably attention seeking/out of control tiredness (they stayed a bit longer than we would have liked and didn't leave til 6.45 - my kids are normally in bed by 7 as they are early walkers).

Tomorrow he has to draw a picture and we will write an apology together and post it. I am not as concerned about that as I feel I've dealt with it ok.

But for my child to leave his toys on the floor to be taken away as he is too lazy/tired/spoilt/only 4 (delete as appropriate), really concerns me.

valiumredhead Sat 10-Nov-12 20:12:21

Good Lord hmm

Violet77 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:12:45

Should be supervised at that age. ( don't leave mine alone)

Let him win stuff back with positive reward, stickers, beads etc.

LadyMargolotta Sat 10-Nov-12 20:13:48

I'm surprised that you are more worried about him not tidying up the mess then you are about him making another child cry.

MrsGhastlyCrumb Sat 10-Nov-12 20:14:51

So, two four year old boys were playing alone and unsupervised upstairs while their mothers were downstairs with their new siblings? Added to the mix, your son was tired and cranky already.

Um. Have you considered that they may have been acting out for a reason? Maybe they both need a little re-assurance from their mothers- the saying he didn't care about his toys smacks of a cry for help to me- maybe he needs a little time with you rather than flash toys. I can't think of anything more likely to make things worse than to cancel Christmas, to be honest- although it sounds like you would do well to tone it down if you're going to get upset about expensive things getting broken.

By all means, remove some toys for now, but honestly, I think you need to do a little listening and observation too, and take this as an early warning.

wonderingsoul Sat 10-Nov-12 20:15:00

But for my child to leave his toys on the floor to be taken away as he is too lazy/tired/spoilt/only 4 (delete as appropriate), really concerns me.

it shouldnt concern you.
he was over whlemed by everything thing.

im am sure had you supervised his tidying and even said" this isnt much fun having to tidying all this on your own is it? this is why you shouldnt take every thing out/ throw things around" he would have done it.

naturalbaby Sat 10-Nov-12 20:15:14

You need to calm down and get some perspective, and give yourselves a break. Show him some love and be kind to him and see how he responds. Look at it as a cry for help. You know he's capable of tidying his toys but what is he trying to tell you by not doing it? He's not doing it to be naughty, he's not lazy - you said he's tired, you can't think straight when you're tired so how can you expect him to?

apostropheuse Sat 10-Nov-12 20:15:17

I can't believe how seriously you're taking the fact that he struggled to put his toys away.

Give the child a break.

It's over and done with. He's been punished. Move on.

valiumredhead Sat 10-Nov-12 20:16:03

If my ds had had a playmate until 6.45pm I would expect the mother of all meltdowns and would place the blame squarely on my own shoulders tbh.

cornflowers Sat 10-Nov-12 20:16:08

For what it's worth, we have the Playmobil castle and it comes apart very easily - absolutely no 'smashing' required. If you want it kept intact as an ornament, I'd suggest supergluing the parts during reassembly.

MrsGhastlyCrumb Sat 10-Nov-12 20:16:19

(Oh, and LadyMargolotta is right, too- punching his friend was by far his worst offence.)

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 20:16:56

I agree with MrsGhastly. You're expecting him to care about his toys. He doesn't. That tells you a lot. Perhaps he cares more about the fact that his mother is being so nasty to him? Perhaps he feels so backed into a corner that he just doesn't see the point in tidying up?

You've said a few times he was tired - you recognise that he wasn't in a fit state to deal with this situation - yet you are still expecting perfect behaviour. Why?

Send him to bed and talk about it in the morning. Getting into a lather over things like this is so utterly pointless.

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

A tired 4 yo left unsupervised. Hmm. Can't imagine how that wasn't going to go tits up.

Are you really that annoyed with him, or yourself?

Belting the other kid v not gd, but again tired and utterly overexcited, you can surely see how it got to that point.

I think taking the toys away and having to demonstrate good behaviour was a fine approach. Cancelling Christmas, definitely OTT.

hugoagogo Sat 10-Nov-12 20:18:43

He is 4-has he recently started school then?

If I remember correctly (and my ds is 14) the first few months of school boys revert to 2 year olds at home and push a lot of boundaries.

If you expect children's behaviour to improve in a linear fashion, you will be in for a shock.

Punishing him weeks and weeks after the event is pointless and cruel.


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.

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

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 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.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sun 11-Nov-12 20:28:41

Thank you married in white. Your wise words are valued. I am so very very tired. My baby is a very poor sleeper and is a nocturnal milk guzzler (yes I co-sleep before anyone suggests this but it does not help at all). It is clouding my judgement on everything.

Ds and i had a much better day today. We were out and about which we all much prefer.

Please everyone, don't take the last sentence of my op too seriously. It was meant to be read like a child stamping his foot. Although I do think my Ds has too many toys, we are Muslim so don't do Christmas in a big way (or really at all, except stuff at school and things we encounter in daily life - it is everywhere!). Also we are off to Pakistan to see family this December.

valiumredhead Sun 11-Nov-12 20:33:19

OP, I was hard on you yesterday, tiredness is a killer, sorry. Pick your battles though or you'll wear yourself out.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sun 11-Nov-12 21:21:29

Thanks valiumredhead. My glass is really half empty ATM and you were certainly harsh but I needed it and I am really beginning to see how my baby's sleep issues are affecting our whole family in so many ways sad maybe I will post about it when I have some energy. Anyway thanks for your input.

valiumredhead Sun 11-Nov-12 22:51:17

I wasn't really harsh, I wasn't even in full flow wink

McChristmasPants2012 Sun 11-Nov-12 22:55:19

He should of been better supervised.

I am sorry but you and the other parent are to blame here, the first instance of misbehaving it could of been stopped.

McChristmasPants2012 Sun 11-Nov-12 22:56:45

Also I don't think any parent would cancel Christmas, so I always take it with a huge pinch salt

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Sun 11-Nov-12 22:59:10

Yabu, You are expecting a 4 year old to be more rational than yourself!

You let really young children go on a rampage unsupervised. How do you know your ds was the ringleader if you were not there?

noviceoftheday Mon 12-Nov-12 07:20:22

I have learned the hard way that dd can be a bit of a sheep when she has friends over for a playdate. Our playroom is big and stuffed with toys. As our dcs are used to it, they tend to rotate the toys themselves and go through different phases of what's their favourite. It's an entirely different thing though when friends come over, because for them its a bit like being in a toyshop. She has two different friends, who, after either of them has been for a playdate, it has taken the best part of 2 hours to restore the playroom back to normal. We don't let the kids upstairs alone, although other dcs are obsessed with it. We stay right with them (including mobile babies) and supervise. Yes, its hard to watch as toys are opened, dumped on the floor after 2 mins and then a new one got out while dd just passively watches. However, it's not the norm so we grit our teeth, and we just get on with it because its not very often. What I am trying to say is that in my (limited!) experience, dcs might behave differently on playdates and that's all part of the hell fun.

We had a summer party this year for about 100 people at home, it took a lot of preparation and we knew we were going to be shattered at the end of the day. I locked up half the toys (eg jigsaw puzzles, toys with small parts) that would just be painful to clear up afterwards and it just made life so much easier. In addition to supervising afterwards, you might want to think about that if there are any toys you feel (for want of a better word) precious about. Live and learn, eh? grin

ll31 Mon 12-Nov-12 08:03:13

surely point of playmobile is that you pkay with it..dont see problem here tbh... its not a law that once kit is made it is not allowed to be broken and used in diff ways... the punching i'd deal with..

lottiegarbanzo Mon 12-Nov-12 08:09:13

My baby isn't four, so no comment on he behaviour but, on the materialism I think you have a point. I had play mobile people as a child, with little bits of equipment but no massive houses or ships. I can still remember making a whole 'sea' of my bedroom floor, with islands of towels, a ship of a cardboard box and trees and other things made of Lego. It seemed vast, brilliant, flexible and of my and friend's own making.

I was really disappointed when those large 'sets' for play mobile people came onto the market, as it seemed really limiting and dictatorial. What if I didn't want my castle that shape, or wanted to redesign the layout? You can do that with some cardboard and crayons!

nokidshere Mon 12-Nov-12 08:42:25

I have to agree with the others that this was partly your own making. leaving 2 four year olds unsupervised with playmobile or any other toy is really just asking for trouble! I have spent half my life (or so it seems grin) building flipping playmobile!

Christmas is ages away. punish him by all means but at least keep it in proportion to the "crime" and age.

oohlaalaa Mon 12-Nov-12 08:59:14

I don't have a 4 yo, so can't comment on your DS's behaviour or your parenting.

My mum was always strict, and we never had expensive toys, or made a big deal our of Christmas. I don't think your suggestions were so awful. My mum would have hidden our toys in the loft, until we'd apologised, and shown we could look after our toys. As long as your DS knows that he is loved, I don't see the problem .

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