Have I just been the meanest Mum in the world? My son thinks so...

(146 Posts)
OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 16:14:27

This is very trivial. But sometimes I dont know if Im just being too harsh.

My 6 year old does somethinb very frustrating. If we were to treat him to something, he'll smile for a second then ask for the bigger one and humph when we say no. If its a toy, sweets or a lolly for example. Instead of just saying thank you, he'll ask why he cant have the bigger one/red one/one with the extra bit on it.

Its effing annoying. He's not spoilt either, he gets sweets once a week maximum, and we certainly arent buying him toys every 5 minutes we're broke!

This afternoon we go to Tesco. He goes to the toy aisle while I shop. I get to him when Im done and call for him, he holds out a £12.95 Hero Factory toy and I give him the answer I always give him. No. Put it back.

My toddler starts kicking off, Im heading to the till. DS1 asks if he can have 'a little lego man.' I say yes, he found a pound on the floor yesterday he can spend it on that.

He runs off, I start to pay with a shouting toddler and DS comes back with the flipping Hero Factory! Taking advantage of my 'yes' he does what he always does and pushes his luck. I said no, take it back we're leaving now.

He's ended up with no toy. He broke his heart on the way home saying Im hugely unfair. I said its a lesson learnt, Id said yes to a toy and he decided to push his luck and now he has nothing.

Was I being too harsh?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 20-Mar-13 16:17:38

Not too harsh, spot on. He'll learn.


HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 16:18:01

That's what I would do with my son. If you're a mean mum then so am I!

LastTangoInDevonshire Wed 20-Mar-13 16:19:36

Why are you asking? Surely you know you are not being too harsh??

Do it a few more times and he'll start to get it, honest!

AnyoneforTurps Wed 20-Mar-13 16:20:01

YANBU. Having said that, your DS' behaviour is totally normal in a 6 year old so don't read too much into it.

GiveMummyTheWhizzer Wed 20-Mar-13 16:20:04

Um...everything else aside - you left your 6 year old in the toy aisle by himself whilst you went and did the shopping?! Or am I reading that incorrectly? Or is this a wind-up thing that I never catch on to?

If true - not harsh no. They need to learn they can't have everything they want and where the boundaries are.

YABVU leaving him alone in the shop though whilst you shop, he is only 6 - anything could happen to him.

travellingwilbury Wed 20-Mar-13 16:20:15

I would have done the same so we are both mean .

Absolutely not too harsh. Actually, not as harsh as I would be blush. My reaction to him asking for a bigger treat than what's on offer would be to withdraw the offer. Otherwise, he has nothing to lose, does he? A couple of times will most likely be enough to make him think twice about pushing it.

True Meanest Mum in the World

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 16:21:29

Because he's never cried so hard and insisted I 'wasnt listening' and I was 'Sooooooo unfair.' So insistant was my usually very placid son, I began to wonder if Id been to harsh.

Because its been known. blush

MonaLotte Wed 20-Mar-13 16:21:29

No not too mean I would do it.

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 16:22:21

I was waiting for the one, GiveMummy.

What, specifically, might happen?

Smartiepants79 Wed 20-Mar-13 16:22:33

Nope, not harsh, fair!
You are correct, it is a lesson learned (hopefully).

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 16:22:44

Like what GiveMummy? My supermarket is in a town, is yours in Broadmoore?

GiveMummyTheWhizzer Wed 20-Mar-13 16:28:10

Well, there are other aisles he could wander off to for a start with items that can hurt him i.e kitchen implements or cleaning products. Small risk with protected packaging though I admit.

But also the major point that anyone could whisk him away and you wouldn't even know about it until you went looking for him. Unfortunately although most people are harmless there really are people out there that could harm him.

I would never do it, i think its a totally unecessary risk to take with your child when they could be helping with a list or something to entertain them - but each to their own.

I, too, am the Meanest Mum in the World. DD tried this for a bit - my answer was simple: if I let you have something and then you ask for 'the bigger one' or 'the nicer one' or 'the more expensive one', you lose the one I've just given you. Every time.

It was an annoying phase but it didn't last very long! wink

Arcticwaffle Wed 20-Mar-13 16:29:42

I say, "Put it on your birthday list". That's a lot easier than saying No or trying to debate it.
Or if the birthday is a long way off I would give him weekly pocket money and let him spend it or save it, but he'd have to work out whether he really wants each toy enough to save up.

manticlimactic Wed 20-Mar-13 16:32:01

YANBU. But I wouldn't leave him in the toy aisle. Not because of what could happen but because of the way he behaves when you do leave him there.

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 16:32:35

He's 6 GiveMummy.

Not 2.

Floggingmolly Wed 20-Mar-13 16:33:08

I always leave mine in the comics aisle, they've never been abducted yet, givemummy?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 20-Mar-13 16:33:44


However, I think letting him loiter in the toy aisle has probably created your problem. If he had come round the shop with you then he wouldn't have had time to assess his options and decide he wanted something.

I also think 6 is far too young to be left alone in a supermarket. What if he ended up playing with the knives, or got run over by someone pushing a trolley?

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Wed 20-Mar-13 16:37:30

Oh I really dislike the "what could happen!?" brigade, you go ahead and make the statistics then, I'd rather avoid being part of them where I sensibly can.

YABVU leaving a 6yo alone in the toy aisle of a supermarket.

I don't care that that wasn't your question.

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 16:38:17

"What if he ended up playing with the kitchen knives. Or got run over by a trolley."


He wouldnt. Because he isnt 2.

WilsonFrickett Wed 20-Mar-13 16:38:38

Of course you're not mean, but then I also let my 7 yo go to look at the toys so I'm clearly no judge hmm

Kids round here walk to school themselves at 7 givemummy, I think he's fine looking at the lego by himself for 2 minutes.

Although do take Alibaba's point that if he wasn't in the toy aisle he wouldn't want a toy.

::picks splinters out of bum::

CorrieDale Wed 20-Mar-13 16:39:13

Definitely not the meanest mummy in the world. I must be because I make my two come round the shop with me even though they would love to be allowed to wait in the toy aisle. Tell him that perhaps!

hillyhilly Wed 20-Mar-13 16:39:55

I've frequently left mine in the toy aisle while I dash to and for, checking regularly.
I think that you were exactly right and that when he calms down you could explain that if he asks again for the bigger whatever, after you have said yes to one thing then he loses that thing. Ie if you agree to buy A) then A) is what you are buying or nothing.
My dd was very like this too and it's really very annoying!

Cherriesarelovely Wed 20-Mar-13 16:40:24

Not mean at all!! You did exactly the right think imo. You made it clear to him that he was pushing his luck and that is why he didn't get either toy. Well done. It's hard though isn't it?!

KatherineKrupnik Wed 20-Mar-13 16:41:20

My 4 yo dd loves fetching thing from different aisle for me. Independence & responsibility.

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 16:42:17

For those of you who think he may 'stab himself with the supermarket knives'
Do you think I still have a stairgate on my kitchen doorway and safety catches on my knives drawer?

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 16:42:21


Honestly. He's 6. Not 2, as the OP said.

Won't someone think of the mummies? grin

AllDirections Wed 20-Mar-13 16:42:29

YANBU regarding the toy situation. It's exactly what I would have done.

YANBU regarding leaving him in the toy aisle either. Do 6 year olds really go off and play with knives? hmm

MammaTJ Wed 20-Mar-13 16:43:03

This reminds me of the thread I started about my DD being taken in to the bushes by some random man to 'wash her hands'. I was stressed and upset about the possibilities and all some people could focus on was the whistle I used to make my DC pay attention and return to where they should be. It was not about thr threat this man posed, it was all about the whistle.

The OP is asking about the toy thing, not leaving her 6 year old in the toy aisle, get over that.

Having said that, my story illustrates how a moment of inattention can cause our children to be in danger, so as you were people, as you were. grin

I would never leave one of mine alone in the toy aisle - not for anti-kidnapping reasons but because when I came to collect them they would be atop Toy Mountain, demanding to purchase all of it.

My stock phrase is 'Put it on your birthday list'. Unless we are approaching Christmas obviously.


LauraS, the Number 1 Meanest Mum in the World

TeamEdward Wed 20-Mar-13 16:43:57

YANBU to say "no toy".
YABVVU to leave a 6yo alone in a supermarket. My 7yo is allowed to visit the toy aisle while I loiter within earshot, and then he has to come with me around the store.

If your DS did that too, he'd have forgotten about the Hero Factory by the time you got to the checkout.

EverythingInMjiniature Wed 20-Mar-13 16:46:00

Got run over by a trolley???! Yep, all those 40mph trolley pushers are a menace in my local supermarket.

pootlebug Wed 20-Mar-13 16:46:39

Derailing the thread a little, but those of you who say you'd never leave a 6 year old in the toy aisle in case of abduction or finding knives etc....can I ask what age you would be comfortable with it?

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 16:47:05

OHforDUCKSsake I don't even have those things and my son is not quite 4. By quite a few months. He does have a gate on his door, but that's because he likes to wander at 3am and eat random things. It's for my sanity.

::waits for SS to stop by::

YouTheCat Wed 20-Mar-13 16:48:09

24 grin

YouTheCat Wed 20-Mar-13 16:49:07

YANBU to say no to the toy.

YABU to expect your 6 year old to amuse himself while you shop. He is 6. He is YOUR responsibility.

IvorHughJangova Wed 20-Mar-13 16:49:18

MammaTJ I remember that thread, I didn't know that was you! How odd, every time I see a whistle I think of it grin

YWNB mean. DS is only 2 (so probably would stab himself with something if I left him in the vicinity of anything stabbable) but I'd do the same with him when he's big enough. He'll soon learn I'm sure.

timidviper Wed 20-Mar-13 16:50:22

YANBU but you do have to keep repeating the reasoning until he properly gets it.

BTW I have one who is 25 who still tries that trick every now and again! grin

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 20-Mar-13 16:51:40

pootle - it would depend on the child. I can see that I would let DS2 at an earlier age than DS1 because he is less prone to bolting off.

All hypothetical though, because I wouldn't leave them there busily working out what they wanted to try and pester me about. If I need to shop and they need to come along for whatever reason then they would come round the shop with me.

I have never seen an unaccompanied child in the toy section of our supermarket, not once.

Crinkle77 Wed 20-Mar-13 16:53:59

No you were not being mean. Children need to know that when you say no you mean it. If you had let him have it next time you said no he would know that if he pushed you then you might give in and kick off even more till he got his own way

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Mar-13 16:54:13

He's 6, he has no idea of the value of money.
Of course he's going to go for the biggest, shiniest thing he can find.
Just keep saying no, mummy can't afford that and he'll understand eventually.
Or say maybe on your birthday/Christmas, and by that time he'll have forgotten about it.

EverybodysSootyEyed Wed 20-Mar-13 16:56:44

I wouldnt leave ds in the toy aisle because I have seen too many kids trashing the boxes and the toys! It's not a crèche!

As for the issue at hand - yanbu. But yoIu aren't the worst mother in the world because my ds was quite adamant that dh is the worst parent in the world ever!

Maybe this would be a good time to give him a little pocket money and introduce him to the concept of saving? Sounds like he may be amenable to learning some key life skills!!

ukatlast Wed 20-Mar-13 16:56:58

'I would never do it, i think its a totally unnecessary risk to take with your child when they could be helping with a list or something to entertain them - but each to their own.'

I agree Givemummy but even if I didn't, I am not sure the shop management would be pleased for 6 year olds to be left unattended like that.

threepiecesuite Wed 20-Mar-13 16:58:09

You're not mean OP, I'd have done the same.

I wouldn't leave my 6 yo in the toy aisle though. Def not. And I'd be concerned if I was in the toy aisle and saw a child on their own.
I've never seen a child on their own in any part of the supermarket either.

missmash Wed 20-Mar-13 16:59:35

I'd be very wary of leaving my DS in an aisle. On my FB page today there is a story 2 men in Maidstone following a child who was walking with parents round a shop and they think its an attempted abduction. You just never know and it ain't worth the risk.

landofsoapandglory Wed 20-Mar-13 17:00:19

You were not being too harsh with regards to the toy.

But I never, ever left my 2 in the toy aisle or comic aisle when I went shopping. It's a shop, not a crèche or library, the products aren't there to be read or played with, they are there to be bought.

titchy Wed 20-Mar-13 17:02:48

Totally agree you're not the meanest mummy in the world so spot on there.

Totally agree you shouldn't leave a 6 yo unsupervised in the toy aisle for half an hour or so. Not because he might get abducted or stab himself, but because he could be opening up all the packets or annoying other shoppers or generally doing stuff he shouldn't be doin and therefore needs supervising. Or he could

Floralnomad Wed 20-Mar-13 17:03:50

You were not too mean ,and the only other thing I'd say is in future do the shopping before he gets out of school then the issue wouldn't arise .

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Wed 20-Mar-13 17:08:46

Kids round here walk to school themselves at 7 givemummy, I think he's fine looking at the lego by himself for 2 minutes

Children round here hang out on the corner smoking at 10. Doesn't mean I would let my child do it.

It's not 2 minutes unless she's only going to get one thing- although OP hasn't said how long it was.

A 6 yr old is too young to be left alone, a 7 yr old is too young to walk to school alone in most circumstances.

Why do you need specifics about what the possibilities are? Does it not occur to you that children that young are your responsibility, leaving them while you wander around a supermarket (which are massive around here, definitely not within earshot) is not behaving responsibly towards them.

People do stuff like this, don't engage with their children, and then wonder why they have problems!

WeAreSix Wed 20-Mar-13 17:09:09

I don't think YABU to say no.

I agree that you shouldn't leave him unsupervised in the supermarket.

INeverSaidThat Wed 20-Mar-13 17:13:06

YANBU on both accounts..... smile

wrongsideoftheroad Wed 20-Mar-13 17:16:52

YANBU about the toy.

I'll say it, I'm not bothered by people screeching paranoid peeeedo spotter at me.

I'd be worried about something like this happening.

I don't care how rare it is..why would I put my young child in a position where it could happen when I can easily avoid it?

LeggoAcubunnyture Wed 20-Mar-13 17:17:07

Youre not being mean. My ds1 does this and really gets my goat. He is so ungreatful, tries to push the boundaries of what he can have, I say £5 he finds something for £6 etc etc etc.

Next time he might listen to you and pick what you told him to.

motheroftwoboys Wed 20-Mar-13 17:19:09

I leave my DH in the magazine aisle reading car magazines when I do the shopping. Maybe I should re-think my behaviour. grin

LeggoAcubunnyture Wed 20-Mar-13 17:19:09

Oh and btw, I'm quite surprised people have let the fact he found £1 on the ground go. I'm quite disappointed nobody has pointed out you should have told him to hand it in to the police station in case whoever lost it filed a report wink

babybythesea Wed 20-Mar-13 17:22:34

I think the world's meanest mum must be sitting in my house!

DD asked for a yoghurt yesterday morning. She's four. I got one for her. She threw a strop and said not that one, she wanted a different flavour. I know she likes the one I got out (relevant - I'm not forcing her to eat something she hates). I don't want several opened pots of yoghurt sitting round so I said no. If she wanted a yoghurt she could eat the one I got out for her, or no yoghurt at all. She stropped a bit more, declared she didn't care about me any more and refused to eat the yoghurt saying she wanted a different one.
She didn't eat any yoghurt yesterday morning. I ate it instead so it didn't go to waste. I did this without even asking her to begin with what flavour she wanted - how mean was that?

I have learnt though - when she asked today for a yoghurt she selected her own flavour. Hopefully she's learnt too -no means no means no! She is also a child who pushes her luck so this is an important concept for her to grasp!

AllDirections Wed 20-Mar-13 17:23:03

Aaah, after reading a few more posts I can see why people have different ideas about whether a 6 year old can be left in the toy aisle or not. We only have small supermarkets locally so I can leave DD3 (6) looking at things. She would never trash a box or play with the toys.

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 20-Mar-13 17:25:32

YANBU about the toy. I wouldn't have bought anything. Though I'm a mean mummy too.

I wouldn't have left 6yr ds1 in the toy aisle. Not because he couldn't be trusted just because by the time I got him he would be asking for several toys I had no intention of buying. So avoid this fight in the middle of Tescos, I send him to get the ketchup or whatever himself.

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 20-Mar-13 17:28:06

Ds1 is also one for pushing his luck, whatever he has he wants more. We have many talks shriekfests about being grateful for what we have. I fear it mostly falls on deaf ears.

LifeSavedbyLego Wed 20-Mar-13 17:31:07

Whilst you are here Lego. I've been meaning to ask do you mind me being a Lego too? I used to be duplo but then they grew up. But I'm conscious that you are the original lego and I am a poor pretender.

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 17:32:45

Well, if it was on FB it must be true! I'll rethink my entire parenting philosophy now!!! I've seen the light!!

(I'm just abusing sarcasm now, aren't I?)

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Mar-13 17:33:17

Actually, I've just remembered something.
When ds was about 5 we were on holiday in the Lake District, and the first shop we popped into was one of these crafty type places.
He found this cushion with a pocket with a tiny teddy bear inside, and wanted it, but I said no, it's too expensive and you'll be bored with it in a couple of days.
So after a day looking at cheaper stuff including lego, he still insisted he wanted it.
So like the soft mum that I am I went back and bought it for him.
And dear reader, he treasured it, and took it to his bed for years and years.
Ds is now 17 and it's in the attic. He just had his heart set on it and he didn't waver.
<sad where did those days go?>

Feminine Wed 20-Mar-13 17:49:34

lady my son (now 14) had one of those too... a very treasured thing also.

Seems a long time ago.

SpringlingSpaniel Wed 20-Mar-13 18:11:16

YANBU about the toy.

YABU to leave your 6 yo alone in Tesco.

If I saw a small child unattended in the toy aisle in Tesco I would do the following:

Look round for someone who might be a parent or carer
If none appeared, wait a few moments keeping an eye on the child until someone turns up
If no one still appeared, look for a member of staff and tell them there appeared to be a child left/lost

No way would I just leave the child there and assume that their parent or carer knew they were there and wasn't frantically scouring the store, or that the child would be fine until hopefully someone turned up to collect him/her.

Tesco is very big and very busy with long high aisles.

Tailtwister Wed 20-Mar-13 18:13:22

YANBU OP. They always try it on and if you give in then you're toast the next time. He'll remember this incident and not take the piss next time.

Admirably reasonable OP and you must always stick to your guns. No changing your mind ever because that just teaches the crafty ones that all they have to do is ask 10 times, or whine in a certain way or whatever, and that will sometimes get results. Consistency is key!

aldiwhore Wed 20-Mar-13 18:22:51

At 6 children should be getting the idea of the value of money... my 5 yr old is covering this in reception. Just the basics. We practice this in the supermarket.

"Mummy can I have this?"
"Not unless you buy it with your pocket money, how much is it"
(He can't yet read exact money but will say) "a 1, a 0, a dot, a 9 and a 9"
"How much pocket money do you have?"
"Umm... zero"
"Well if you can find a toy with a ZERO, then a ZERO, then a ZERO, then a ZERO, you can buy it can't you?"

You are not the world's meanest mum, not by a long shot.

MortifiedAdams Wed 20-Mar-13 18:25:25

You did the right thing in saying no toy at all. BUT, letting him go and look at the toys while you shop is pretty mean - "go entertain yourself looking at all the fab things you can't have"

chubbymomie2012 Wed 20-Mar-13 18:25:43

Im really worried you left him alone. Anyone could have lead him off with promises to buy toys and sweets etc. at that age they are too young to understand the consequences of these things. Especially now he knows he wont get what he wants automatically. I agree with other posters. you can avoid these tantrums by bringing him round the shop with you.
Please dont be leaving him alone he is far far too young.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Mar-13 18:26:35

grin feminine.
That's not to say I gave in all the time, but his wee face when I bought it for him..., it just made him so happy.

thegreylady Wed 20-Mar-13 18:26:35

You behaved absolutely properly.I would have done exactly the same and I am the softest grandma in the world smile

StuntGirl Wed 20-Mar-13 18:26:38

YANBU to refuse the larger toy after you have already offered him one. I would have refused both too. And I would continue doing it every time he tried it on.

If an adult left a child unattended in my shop I would inform security who would escort the child to the security office and call for the parent.

My shop is not a creche. Look after your own children.

zukiecat Wed 20-Mar-13 18:29:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 18:33:51

If I thought my 6 year old (if I had one) was old enough to look at toys without me and the store told me otherwise? I'd not shop there again.

If another parent "kept an eye" on him? I'd think you were bonkers and/or l

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 18:34:19

Sorry, phone!

And/or looking to take him.

He's my child. I'll decide.

TartyMcTart Wed 20-Mar-13 18:34:21

Good God. The OP probably left her son for 5 minutes while she whizzed round the shop getting a few bits.

I always let my two (8 & 6) look at the toys for a few minutes in the supermarket. I'd be most surprised if I came back to find some worrying woman stood with them waiting for me to return!

Inertia Wed 20-Mar-13 18:40:45

No, you are not harsh. But I think at 6 you can give a specific budget, so that he knows exactly what the limit is.

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 18:43:13

Also, where did she say she expected the store or anyone else to watch him?

I don't think you're harsh at all. My DS (hopefully) knows by now that when he is offered/given a treat asking for something else will mean that the first offer is withdrawn and he gets nothing.

titchy Wed 20-Mar-13 18:52:22

OP you're going to have to clarify - are you leaving him for half an hour in a massive tesco while you do the weekly shop? Or 2 mins in tesco metro while you pick up a pint of milk?grin

Loulybelle Wed 20-Mar-13 18:54:43

YANBU, my DD probably thinks im the wicked witch of the west at the best of times.

defineme Wed 20-Mar-13 18:55:17

My kids go off and get items for me from different aisles whilst I'm getting fruit and veg, they've been doing this for me since the age of 6-didn't realise this was odd.
I would have done the same re toy.
Mine don't want to loiter in the toy aisle...I think they realise there is no hope and I think they like to 'help' me choose the food they like.

WilsonFrickett Wed 20-Mar-13 19:29:26

Happy to clarify what I do. My Tesco has around 14 aisles, I would say it's medium size? DS7 comes round with me, often picking things up or going off looking for things for me. Unsupervised. He gets bored around aisle 7 and asks to go to the toys. Around aisle 10 (past the booze, because that's where I spend the most time, obviously, because I am so feckless) he asks to go to the toys.

I remind him what to do if anyone approaches him and asks him to leave the shop.

And I let him go.

I then nip round the cleaning aisles (obviously I don't buy much of them, because I am feckless) and then I go and get him.

Oh and Rene People do stuff like this, don't engage with their children, and then wonder why they have problems! - what utter, utter bollocks. My child gets plenty of engagement. Thanks for checking though.

SpringlingSpaniel Wed 20-Mar-13 19:30:00

"If another parent "kept an eye" on him? I'd think you were bonkers"

Well that's a bit sad that you'd feel that way, but that doesn't change my attitude. I think it's a shame that these days for whatever reason more people turn their heads and walk on by rather than keep an eye on the more vulnerable members of the community.

There's no way of knowing whether a child loitering by themselves in the toy aisle is lost/has wandered off or has been deliberately and knowingly left. In a big busy supermarket I think it's more likely that a small child alone is lost or has wandered off tbh. On that basis if my child wandered off, I wouldn't think another mother who kept a discreet eye on him until I returned was "bonkers". I'd be grateful. But the fact that you wouldn't be doesn't deter me.

defineme I wouldn't feel the same about a child who arrived in an aisle, walked purposefully towards a shelf, took something from it and walked purposefully off. I would assume he/she was doing as you say and getting something for his/her parent.

AllDirections Wed 20-Mar-13 19:36:54

If I saw a 6 year old loitering in the toy aisle I would think that the adult he was with would know where he was and the that the child knew where his adult was.

If I saw a 2 year old loitering in the toy aisle then I'd keep an eye on him.

GiveMummyTheWhizzer Wed 20-Mar-13 19:40:58

Can I just ask - those of you that leave young ones - have you told them what to do if the fire alarm goes off in said shop? Because I have been in 3 different supermarkets in abou the last 6 months or so where we have had to evacuate for the fire alarm. I don't know what school teaches them as DS is too young yet - but do school teach to leave the building as quickly and calmly as possible or something? What would you all do in this kind of situation? What would your DC do? Shop staff would be directing you out of the store and presumably not letting you wander round trying to find DC?

pamelat Wed 20-Mar-13 19:42:49


I think ideal parenting re toy but I would now tell him that he can go back and spend his £1 on x date (soon)

My dd is a responsible 5. I'd trust her an aisle away. My ds is almost 3 and I wouldn't let him out of my sight!!!

YouTheCat Wed 20-Mar-13 19:46:31

GiveMummy has a very good point. I've known fire alarms go off in the supermarket before as well.

Archetype Wed 20-Mar-13 19:49:16

I think some people forget that not every one lives in big cities and they know every one that lives where they do. smile

GiveMummyTheWhizzer Wed 20-Mar-13 19:53:14

archetype bad things don't just happen in big cities. Unfortunately the world we live in poses dangers in society as a whole. Country, tiny village, city - it makes not difference.

But as other have said its not just 'danger' type situations but annoyance to other customers, worry for others that child is lost, supermarket not a creche etc etc.

EverybodysSootyEyed Wed 20-Mar-13 20:00:29

I have left my ds in the toy aisle while I looked at the things at the aisle end - I could see him but wasn't obviously with him. He has been told to look and not touch.

Unfortunately to older boys came in with their mum and started taking toys down etc. all fine. Until one of them decided to bash ds over the head with one! The mum saw but said nothing. Ds ran to me so I didn't say anything as I wanted to deal with him.

My point being - can your ds deal with unusual situations? Be it a fire alarm, mean kid or what not.

At 7 he is old enough to learn some basic money management. Let him choose something with his pound next time. He will soon learn money can't stretch too far!

DoJo Wed 20-Mar-13 20:03:17

I wouldn't leave a six year old alone in a toy aisle because a seven year old cut her head open by running around the corner into the end of my trolley a few weeks ago and was in a terrible state about it even with her dad there. She wasn't even going particularly fast, or being particularly reckless, just happened to look over her shoulder at the wrong moment and ended up colliding right with the corner bit which gashed her forehead. Had her dad not been there, I would have been furious as she was beside herself, which made mine cry in sympathy (soft little soul) and I would have had to try and deal with them both.

StuntGirl Wed 20-Mar-13 20:06:59

That'd fine with me hippi! grin

Emilythornesbff Wed 20-Mar-13 20:09:04

Not harsh in refusing the toy. Quite clear thinking given the circumstances.

But I'm another who thinks it unwise to leave a 6yo in the toy aisle of a supermarket. Firstly because of the (I would have thought quite obvious) safety aspect and secondly because he's just going to want all they toys.

I don't know what age i'd be ok with that, maybe when they're old enough to go Luton their own (or old enough to vote? grin

Online shopping is the way to go.

Emilythornesbff Wed 20-Mar-13 20:11:12

I think it's normal to try it on though isn't it.Maybe he him choose something with the money available so he has fewer, more manageable options.

Emilythornesbff Wed 20-Mar-13 20:12:55

Sorry, "help" not "he"

And titchy how many tesco metros have a toy aisle?

Softlysoftly Wed 20-Mar-13 20:22:52

Wow this thread given me an object lesson in just how people can stretch to some apps conclusions from 1 incident!

Upthread someone meandered off into how the op doesn't engage with our look after her child? ? From one time her 6 year old stays in the toy aisle? ! shock.

I know of op I believe and she's really very engaged and lentil weavery wink. Since posters need a trip to the grip store (with their children firmly clutched to their bosoms).

MammaTJ Wed 20-Mar-13 20:35:53

<Waves at Ivor>

Yup, that was me. I hadn't been here long and was a bit baffled with the whistle obsession, but I got some great advice too, which made it worthwhile.

HippiTEEHoppoTEE Wed 20-Mar-13 20:36:45

Well, it probably wouldn't be, Stunt if I told all my friends about the over the top reaction of a shop keeper and they stopped shopping at your store. And they told their friends. And so on.

See, my friends think like I do. That's why they are my friends.

And who asked your store to be a creche? Not me.

Honestly, relax people. The world is actually safer than it's been in a long time. Look at the stats. Not the scare stories and the occasional violent happenings. I would link, but the Home Office Website is telling me it isn't available at the moment.

Look, I am not saying every 6 year old is ready to be left alone in the toy aisle while their mother shops, any more than I'd say every 12 year old can walk 10 miles to school every day. It depends on the child.

But don't look at the 6 year old and assume their parent is irresponsible. Assume the parent knows their child. Which you do not, if it's a random child in a shop.

Also, I've been shopping for about 44 years and have never heard a fire alarm in a shop. Statistically I guess I'm due. But it's not something I'm going to fret about if/when my child is ready to be left. He's not, at the moment, being not quite 4. grin

jamdonut Wed 20-Mar-13 20:38:53

Somebody upthread said they'd never seen children alone in supermarkets!

She wants to come to our local Tesco and Morrisons where there are ALWAYS children on their own, usually running up and down the aisles playing hide and seek and generally being a nuisance. or hiding in amongst the clothing rails trampling over the things that inevitably drop off the hangers!

Having said that, I usually allowed my children when they were younger to go to the toy aisle on their own. But they didn't stay for long, and would come back and find me. Maybe not as young as six...eight maybe.

AllDirections Wed 20-Mar-13 20:44:42

If my DC behaved like that jam then I would expect staff and customers to get all arsey with me.

I agree with Hippi I know my child and I know what she is capable of. Unless a child of that age is misbehaving or is upset or asks for help then you can presume that there isn't a problem.

BertieBotts Wed 20-Mar-13 20:45:41


If I was being perfect mother and I was in that situation then I'd use it as a teaching opportunity - OK, DS, you have £1 and I've said you can spend that. But this toy costs more than £1 so it's up to you, do you want to buy the lego man with the £1, or put it in your money box at home and save up to buy the big toy?

However in reality I'd probably be stressed and annoyed by his cheek and also have said no you can't have anything now, take what you're given or have nothing.

Yfronts Wed 20-Mar-13 21:08:56

For the next few weeks don't allow him anything as hew obviously thinks he is entitled. In a month's time prewarn him he can only have one small thing worth up to x amount. Help him check out costs and buy something within budget. You will need to give it your attention though.

Yfronts Wed 20-Mar-13 21:09:37

I would refuse a toy in the same situation.

Yfronts Wed 20-Mar-13 21:11:15

Mine are allowed to hold a toy but put it back on the shelves at the end. It has saved us buying endless crap.

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 21:21:24

Ok to answer some questions;

Its a smallish store in a little quiet, low crime town <rolls eyes at having to add that> with 11 aisles.

And I bought the following - baby new potatoes, snackajacks, handwash and super sized sanitary towels.

Does this make anyone feel better?

I do not expect anyone to watch my son. He will not wonder off and stab himself with a knife, nor get run over by a trolley. He doesnt stamp on the toys, steal them or demand 586219 of them. Today was just being cheeky and taking advantage of my incredibly rare 'yes'.

And I will continue to let my son go to the toy aisle (not make him like someone suggested because I cant be bothered to look after him (seriously?!) but because he asks, and hes a trustworthy child).

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 21:25:11

And arf at me being a lentil weaver!


its true

Samu2 Wed 20-Mar-13 21:32:12

I would let a 7 year old go look at the toy aisle. I can't believe that is even an issue for some people to be honest.

titchy Wed 20-Mar-13 21:33:14

I can't believe you bought snackajacks - you clearly have no idea what children need for snacks. Have you not heard of fruit? And sanitary towels? Not a mooncup. Shame on you OP.

LandofTute Wed 20-Mar-13 21:34:22

I think people are all imagining different tescos. I did balk at what you said initially as i was imagining a huge hypermarket Tesco I go to in a not particularly safe area, but then I thought that in a small shop in a safe area i would let my children (6 and 8) go to a different aisle without me. Looks like your one is a small one in a safe area!

LandofTute Wed 20-Mar-13 21:35:30

I wouldn't worry about knives and trollies in any Tesco though!

AllDirections Wed 20-Mar-13 21:36:09

Best not teach him which wine to go and get for you OP. (But if you did it would have to be a box cos those bottles are far too dangerous for him to carry grin )

OHforDUCKScake Wed 20-Mar-13 21:39:54

The towel is at the same time as the moon cup. Things have gone wrong with my uterus <sob>

I agree Samu, its all very OTT.

Catsdontcare Wed 20-Mar-13 21:44:20

My 7 year old is exactly the same, whatever you offer he always wants a little bit more and when you say no sulks. On more than one occasion he has cut his nose off to spite his face when I've said no.

"Mum can I have a biscuit"
"Yes DS you can"
"Er can I have 2?"
"No I mean three can I have three"
"No you can't"
"I won't bother then" <goes off in mega huff>

Ungrateful turd.

Catsdontcare Wed 20-Mar-13 21:46:54

Or he takes the two biscuits offered and eats them with a wee tear in his eye ffs.

MooMooSkit Wed 20-Mar-13 21:48:45

YANBU for the first issue with the toy.
YANBU for leaving your son.
YABU for buying snackajacks. They are vile.

YouTheCat Wed 20-Mar-13 21:50:51

That's kind of relevant then, OP. So it was a quick dash in and grab a few bits shop? And not a saunter round doing the weekly grocery shop?

NBU to leave him for a few minutes really.

StuntGirl Wed 20-Mar-13 21:52:47

It's an unpopular view for shop owners to have but it wouldn't actually bother me hippi. My reputation would be greater harmed by having lone children milling around - and something going wrong - than you and your friends not shopping here. Better business for me.

kim147 Wed 20-Mar-13 22:01:16

I've only skim read this thread - but there seems to be the eternal worry about a child being snatched.

Snatching of a child by a stranger is rare. Incredibly rare. I know that sounds blase but it is rare. Very very unlikely. I know people have talked about the wanting to protect because it could happen - it's the same principle behind a child getting lost and who do they approach. The chances of approaching someone who is going to kidnap them is miniscule - and I would bet the chances of that person wanting to help a lost child who approached them is very likely.

As for leaving a child in the toy aisle, I don't do it as I think he'd get bored and he would not know where to find me. I have left him glued to the I-pads in Tescos but watch him to make sure he shares.

fuckwittery Wed 20-Mar-13 22:32:59

I let my DD go to the sweet aisle and come and meet me at the tills - she is almost 6. this is a Morrisons with about 14 aisles that is so close to our house we have been in it virtually daily from when she was a toddler. The security guard knows her name. (he used to tell her the sweet aisle was closed, but she doesn't fall for that any more). We don't spend more than about 5 - 10 minutes away from each other.

YANBU to leave your son in the toy aisle if it's a relatively small shop, and he['s familiar with it, and you'r epicking up just a few items. YWBU if it was a huge supermarket and you were going to be an hour doing your weekly shop. It's all about CONTEXT people!

can't remember what the original AIBU was about but I'll go with YANBU

SomethingOnce Wed 20-Mar-13 23:20:06

He's just testing you, isn't he?

I quite admire his spirit, tbh, annoying though it must be in this kind of situation.

rhondajean Wed 20-Mar-13 23:31:16

Cannot believe this thread! I had the most overprotective mother ever in the history of the world anda even I was allowed to sneak off to the toy aisle alone.

Anyway the actual question. I had real words with dd1 last year - she was 12 but she kept pulling the same thing, oh I like that tshirt, me ok shall I buy you it? Her oh no hold on actually this four times as expensive one is better.

Did she get any of them? No. Did she get bollocked eventually? Yes.

But she isn't six - she can get prices. My eight year old still isn't quite there on teh price differential between a pocket money toy and a proper toy.

YANBU though op, stick to your guns and teach him!

out2lunch Wed 20-Mar-13 23:32:00

i had this a lot with my dcs
at 6 is he old enough to understand a budget/read prices? eg you can have this toy as the price is below say 2 pounds or let him look for one the same price

rhondajean Wed 20-Mar-13 23:32:51

Oh and yes snack a jacks are vile.

DPotter Thu 21-Mar-13 01:34:05

I think you're spot on as well and I don't think you're mean either.

Dancergirl Thu 21-Mar-13 17:13:09

ladybeagle I LOVE that story smile

I'm not suggesting in any way that we should spoil out children or that the OP was in the wrong, but sometimes it's good to remember that our dc are small for such a short time and the time when they get so much pleasure from toys is also very short.

My 10 year old dd realised recently that she feels she doesn't enjoy playing with toys any more sad it came as a bit of a shock to HER that she was growing up.

I feel like buying my 6 year old all the toys she wants while I still can

bangwhizz Thu 21-Mar-13 19:27:51

I would have said the lego man or nothing , you only have a pound and let him run back and change it.If he made a fuss then I would at that point have said 'no toy'. I don't think there ius any right or wrong on matters like this, it's just down to individual opinion on where 'the line' lies!

LittleEdie Thu 21-Mar-13 19:45:56

YANBU re the toy.
YANBU re leaving him in another aisle.

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Thu 21-Mar-13 23:40:49

wilson I wasn't checking, it was a statement

It is not a responsible way to behave and is also a missed opportunity to engage with your child

You can wriggle and squirm and twist the words all you like, but you leave your young child alone in a public place, you are not doing your job as a parent.

Plenty of that going on in the world though, and plenty of much worse things you can do as a parent so I guess that makes it ok, yes? hmm

Dancergirl Fri 22-Mar-13 11:19:40

PMSL at 'engage with your child' grin

AllDirections Fri 22-Mar-13 11:24:29

PMSL at 'leaving your child alone in a public place' grin

ReneandGeorgetteMagritte Fri 22-Mar-13 11:31:05

PMSL at ignorance of folk

WilsonFrickett Fri 22-Mar-13 12:18:26

PMSL generally (in-between the wiggling and squirming and twisting, obvs) grin

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Fri 22-Mar-13 12:26:58

Yanbu and ywnbu to let him.go and look at the toy aisle.

I think giving children bits of freedom like this IS actually responsible, you have to gradually teach them and allow them some independence.

Lol at missed opportunity to engage, sure the child in question gets plenty of engagement with his mum and this missed five mins isnt going to harm.him!

SanityClause Fri 22-Mar-13 12:57:17

I am jaw droppingly amazed that people think it's not okay to let a child of 6 go to the toy aisle of a supermarket, alone.

Surely it's a really safe environment - there's loads of the kind people around that you would tell them to ask for help if needed (ie people in supermarket uniform, parents with young children).

And opportunity to engage? She was concentrating on whether it was worth buying BOGOF yoghurts, not on her children!

SanityClause Fri 22-Mar-13 13:01:06

Oh, BTW, OP, fair enough about the toy. Can you have everything you ever want? Of course not, so it's a useful life lesson for him to learn as well.

If he really wants the toy, he can save up for it, and learn that people have to make choices about how to spend their money (sweets every week, or a toy once every few months?). Another useful life lesson.

If you are the meanest mummy, I have to share your honours, I think.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 22-Mar-13 13:25:10

Why 'PMSL at leaving alone in a public place'?

It is leaving them alone in a public place confused Which, IMO, is not something that you should do with a 6 year old child.

I am really, really stunned that so many people leave their children alone in the supermarket. I have never seen it, even in the Asda on the rough estate wink

AllDirections Fri 22-Mar-13 17:44:25

I think giving children bits of freedom like this IS actually responsible, you have to gradually teach them and allow them some independence.

^ This ^

I am jaw droppingly amazed that people think it's not okay to let a child of 6 go to the toy aisle of a supermarket, alone.

^ And this ^

I am really, really stunned that so many people leave their children alone in the supermarket That's not what the OP did though is it? Or anyone else who has said they have done the same thing as the OP?

WeAreSix Tue 26-Mar-13 16:23:29

So after reading this thread (and being on the don't leave children unattended side of the fence) I allowed DD aged 7 to go off on her own to get some buns for after school as a treat.

We live in a 'safe' area, low crime. We were in a small Co-op, only 5 aisles. I thought that the advice given about giving your DCs a little independence, giving her a job etc would be good. I trust her to say in the shop, do as she was told.

She came running back to me in tears. She had bumped into a man in a hoodie with his face covered. He was shoplifting and she witnessed it.

I know this was just bad luck and coincidental that the first time I let her go off to get me something that this happened. However, I won't let her do it again because the risk isn't worth it.

I wish I had the confidence in today's society that our children are safe... but it just doesn't feel that way.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 26-Mar-13 17:15:14

WeAreSix sad Your poor DD, is she ok?

WeAreSix Tue 26-Mar-13 17:43:37

She's a bit shaken but ok thank you alibaba

Lueji Tue 26-Mar-13 19:54:04

What if a meteor strikes the shop and hits you, but as your DCs were on another aisle they manage to survive???

What if you were taken hostage, but your child manages to escape because he/she was not with you?


Lueji Tue 26-Mar-13 19:59:01


I have had the same. grin

Can I have 7 Pringles?
No, only 4.
Oh, I don't want it then! <goes in a huff>


WeAreSix Tue 26-Mar-13 20:45:23

Exactly Leuji. You can't predict the what ifs in life.

It comes down to choice and your own personal judgement of what you feel is safe for you and your child.

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