to have cancelled this trip for the whole family?

(45 Posts)
idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 11:59:34

So one of my DC is exhibiting very challenging behaviour. It is their birthday soon and we had planned family trip out to celebrate. A couple of days ago I was at my wits end and said that if the behaviour continued I would cancel some of the birthday plan.

As I should have anticipated it has continued and this morning I told DC that the trip was cancelled. DC thinks I will change my mind but the others are pretty sure I won't and are upset. They were looking forward to the trip too and are cross.

So - WIBU to have done this? Should I relent?

I don't want to seem to be a pushover but it would have been a nice thing to do. (although I am happy not to have to spend the money!)

NB logistics mean that it is impossible for DC to be left out of the trip. If we go we all have to go.

Relenting now wouldn't send a very good message to the DC that's been misbehaving, so I think you need to stick to your guns. It does seems a shame that the others are being effectively punished as well though.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 23-Oct-13 12:01:52

Do not back down. It might not have been the wisest threat, but now you have made it, you have to stick to it. Maybe the peer pressure of their siblings being upset will help behavior?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 23-Oct-13 12:02:57

I think I would have tried to choose something that would only impact on the child who was being badly behaved.

However now that you've done it you need to stick to your guns.

lottieandmia Wed 23-Oct-13 12:03:58

YABU to cancel any child's birthday imo. You should find some other way to address the behaviour but birthdays should always be left out of it.

idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 12:04:07

I'd thought as much. Curse the idle threat it will come back to bite you on the bottom.

idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 12:04:40

lottie just out of interest why are birthdays separate?

notwoo Wed 23-Oct-13 12:05:10

I think you need to stick to your word now. But can you reschedule the trip for another week / month as an incentive for better behaviour?

idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 12:05:11

And I haven't cancelled all the plans. Just the trip out.

GhostsInSnow Wed 23-Oct-13 12:05:13

I do feel a bit sorry for the other DC's not their fault yet they are being punished for their siblings behaviour.

lottieandmia Wed 23-Oct-13 12:06:42

Because to punish any child on their birthday is quite cruel imo. None of us are perfect but we all have the right to celebrate our birthdays. How old is the child btw?

lottieandmia Wed 23-Oct-13 12:07:51

Oh I see. In that case I think I agree you can't go back on it now, except perhaps to say that he/she can earn it back with good behaviour in time?

pictish Wed 23-Oct-13 12:10:02

Never threaten something you won't want to follow through on.
Never threaten something that will impact on other innocent people to their detriment.
Never take away a birthday treat. Far from being a big birthday fuss maker myself, I still think that birthdays have to be seperate.

There is nothing wrong in taking your time to decide what your leverage is going to be. Kneejerk threats are difficult to avoid - we have all done it - but if possible think it through first.

In your shoes I'd give the dc concerned an opportunity to earn it back, then draw a line under it.

See, I don't think you do have to stick rigidly to whatever punishment you threatened in the heat of the moment.

Now you have time to think about it, you have Realised that it is not an appropriate punishment because it impacts the whole family. So, why can't you just say that to children?

It doesn't undermine your authority IME to say look you know what, I said x in the heat of the moment but it was the wrong thing to say.

I don't get this insistence of following through even when you know it's unsuitable.

It's ok for your children to know that parents make mistakes as well.
Think about a suitable punishment, explain the situation, move on
It's not "backing down" or being a pushover.

I agree with tantrums on this one. I do believe in following through for the most part and my DC's have learnt that when i make a threat of a punishment I normally carry it out, but there has been an odd occasion where I got a bit carried away blush and have withdrawn the punishment but with an explanation and a different punishment.

baskingseals Wed 23-Oct-13 12:18:43

Agree with tantrums.

You can turn this into a positive lesson, we all say things in the heat of the moment which we can later regret, you can now show your dc that there is a way forward from that, what you say in anger does not have to be set in stone.

If you sit down and explain the situation to your dc, ultimately you will gain more, not less respect.

idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 12:20:02

so I think I will go with the depending on good behaviour punishment will be commuted because I don't want to hurt others.

Parenting is a veritable minefield. sad

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 23-Oct-13 12:22:54

Is it possible to delay the treat? (i.e. "You can't go this week because you did X, but if you behave properly for the whole of the following week then we'll go on Y date.")

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 23-Oct-13 12:23:20

It doesn't undermine your authority IME to say look you know what, I said x in the heat of the moment but it was the wrong thing to say.

I agree with this. We've all done it. The question is what you do next.

I think it's worth taking DS aside to have a long but calm chat with him about his behaviour, and see what he agree to if the chance of the trip is back on the table. He might well suggest that he'll try a fraction harder before you even suggest it.

The difficulty with birthdays is (in my opinion) not the fact that birthdays are special and sacrosanct, but because they regularly wind children up into little monsters. It's not unusual for them to start acting brattishly because they simply can't cope with the build up and the excitement.

zippey Wed 23-Oct-13 12:24:06

If you want to go back on it, what aboutt asking the child what he thinks is suitable punishment instead. If you are happy with it you could swap punishments. Maybe get the other kids involved too.

You are not hurting the others. Your child who misbehaved after being told the outcome is hurting your other children.

I would no way back down on this one and would explain tithe others that it is not your fault your birthday child chose to carry on misbehaving.

kali110 Wed 23-Oct-13 12:26:37

Think maybe bu for how it would impact the others.
Dont think its bu at all for cancelling a birthday trip or something because of bad behaviour.

FlapJackOLantern Wed 23-Oct-13 12:50:39

* lottie - YABU to cancel any child's birthday imo. You should find some other way to address the behaviour but birthdays should always be left out of it.*


Reprint Wed 23-Oct-13 12:56:09

You have to follow through, or you teach that you don't really mean what you say.
The other DC will cope - and I would expect them to also start exerting a bit of peer pressure on the dodgy behaviours front.

Sometimes being a parent is tough flowers

LittleBairn Wed 23-Oct-13 12:59:16

YABU to punish the others too. Leave the badly behave child at home with a babysitter and take the others.

Agree with Tantrums.
How old is kid in question?

Talkinpeace Wed 23-Oct-13 13:05:09

I came from a big family. Peer pressure is amazing stuff.

Stick to your guns.

be willing to reinstate the trip at a later date - when that DC will not be able to call it a birthday treat
on condition everybody in the family - including the other DC agrees that the behaviour has improved permanently

idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 13:20:06

I think I like the idea of DC (who is 6 BTW) negotiating with siblings as to an appropriate punishment. It was after all them who were being hurt/upset by the original behaviour (DC hitting and breaking toys belonging to others)

IHaveA Wed 23-Oct-13 13:26:17

I wouldn't back down but I would., possibly, let him 'earn' back a smaller birthday treat but only if he behaves exceptionally well.

Your kids need to know that you will follow through with punishments and that you won't enter into negotiations . Everyone needs to know where they stand

MokuMoku Wed 23-Oct-13 13:37:34

I think canceling a trip is too far ahead for a 6 year old who can be quite impulsive. I think you need a more consistent approach such as time out, crossing off points on a reward chart, something like that.

AuntyEntropy Wed 23-Oct-13 13:40:31

I'd consult to decide on an alternative punishment that won't hurt the innocent parties.

Tiggles Wed 23-Oct-13 13:44:05

I have recently done the same and cancelled a birthday treat trip for poor behaviour. Partly because I know with my DSs if they are going through a not behaving trend it would continue on the day out and be miserable for all.
However, I fully intend if/when behaviour improves to reinstate the trip (they don't know that)

MaryZombie Wed 23-Oct-13 13:50:57

I spent my life as a child putting up with cancelled trips out because of my brother's behaviour. Trips to the beach/zoo/park were regularly cancelled, as were parties.

I remember once when my mum lost her temper and cancelled the zoo him muttering "ha, ha, I won, there's only one of me upset but there are four of you" or words to that effect.

I vowed I would never do it, so I have always been very, very careful never to threaten anything as a punishment that I wouldn't follow through, and never threaten anything that would affect my younger children. I have managed to prevent them hating and resenting him, which is a bonus.

MrsOakenshield Wed 23-Oct-13 13:54:38

I do agree with Tantrums, but you must remember - you haven't punished the other DC. They are losing their trip because their sibling behaved in a manner that he knew would result in the trip being cancelled for everyone. I'm not suggesting 'blame your sibling, not me' but I think it's worth quietly explaining to the others that that is why they aren't getting the treat - but acknowledge that in retrospect it wasn't a great consequence to threaten. It may help with the challenging DC's behaviour?

I think you could say you will reinstate the trip should their behaviour improve - I bet the other DC will do their damndest to ensure their pesky little sibling doesn't act up again!

Sympathies. I am expert in using the spur-of-the-moment consequence that I am certain will work, but invariably doesn't. It is, as you say, a minefield. Sigh.

But she is punishing the siblings, not the bad behaving one. It's not a natural consequence - its one picked by the OP.

Do not, whatever you do, either indirectly or by implication try and turn the siblings against each other. That's horrible.

MaryZombie Wed 23-Oct-13 14:24:15

If he is tantrumming as attention-seeking behaviour, punishing his siblings and letting them blame him will only make it worse.

Tantrums is right. Find another punishment for him (or even better, a more structured reward system for good behaviour) and explain to them all that you aren't willing to punish all of them when they haven't all behaved badly.

Andro Wed 23-Oct-13 16:55:22

Deffer the trip based on improved behaviour over an extended period and don't threaten a punishment which will punish the others in future.

I wouldn't ever back down on a would be a chink in my authority to be ruthlessly exploited by my 2.

I would stick to my guns as you have said it, next time I would try to avoid threatening any punishment that I would not want to follow through on. His siblings will no doubt have enough to say on the issue without you laboring the point any more. I would be inclined to rearrange an outing with your DCs at another date, in the not too distant future. I don;t see why any threat should not involve a birthday treat either.

mummytime Wed 23-Oct-13 18:25:04

I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with cancelling a Birthday treat.

BUT I do think you should choose as a punishment something which only impacts on the person at fault (as far as possible).

Also I really think if he is only 6 you may be asking more from him than is developmentally appropriate.

I would rethink your strategy. Not ask for "good behaviour" and give out punishments which are in the future.
Start by praising and noticing good behaviour. You could use a star chart and ensure you give him 10 stars a day, to teach you to spot the good behaviour.
Then start to keep notes on the bad behaviour: when does it happen, are there any triggers, can he control the behaviour, does he even know it is not acceptable?

Then you can move on to trying to correct the behaviour, rather than punishment.

idiuntno57 Wed 23-Oct-13 19:01:54

i really try to praise any good behaviour but it is hard when there isn't much.

Interestingly enough DC has been angelic this pm and the others have not mentioned the lost trip again.

Feel for you. It's a minefield and you can only do the best you can. You know your DCs and maybe an alternative punishment might be the way forward, or just to stick with the current punishment. I like the idea of earning the treat back or indeed earning a small, alternative treat instead.

We've done the earning the treat back thing a few times. It works quite well as DD knows she's being punished and that I will follow through with it. But it promotes a change in her behaviour too which is beneficial all round grin

Strumpetron Wed 23-Oct-13 21:06:50

As others have already said it's not fair on the other two, and it does build sibling resentment which obviously you don't want.

Hope you manage to get it sorted

PolterGoose Wed 23-Oct-13 21:13:33

As it's pretty clear that even the threat of losing out on a big treat didn't work to modify his behaviour can I suggest you read this article about what to do when consequences don't work and perhaps why they don't work.

Have you thought about why his behaviour is challenging?

letsgomaths Wed 23-Oct-13 21:34:13

I still bear grudges towards my brother for similar injustices. At the age of 8, I was always seething and frothing when punished for someone else's crime, and often left the adults (parents and teachers) in no doubt what I thought about this. I used to write letters to my parents explaining what I perceived to be injustices; sometimes lying around for them to find.

butterflyexperience Thu 24-Oct-13 10:52:54


Birthdays are a wonderful celebration, but parties and days out are a Treat even for a birthday.

You can still celebrate said dc's birthday at home with a cake and gifts.

If I was you and depending how bad behaviour is I'd cancel birthday gifts from parents as well and I would use this punishment as a constant reminder through out the year as a consequence of said child's bad behaviour.

My dc broke our tv earlier this year and they did not get their birthday presents however we had to go through with parties as we ha already paid for them

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