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To have cancelled my son's 6th birthday party

(315 Posts)
MumtoJacob Thu 26-Sep-13 16:49:28

I think I have done the right thing, but I feel truly awful. I have cancelled my son's 6th birthday party because of discraceful behaviour both at home and at school. I have had his teacher talk to me four times already this term, twice this week, about his attitude. When he is corrected for misbehaving, he is rude and disrespectful to his teachers. He has told them he doesn't care if he is in trouble and he is so defiant.

He is really out of control at the moment and has been warned many times that he will not have his party if it continues. We have never had a party for him before as they are so expensive, and had said both children could have one on their 6th birthdays. He has looked forward to it for a long time, but the threat of cancelling hasn't made a difference to his behaviour. Nor have the rewards and praise for his good behaviour on good days and his treats for earning house points or other positive achievements.

He doesn't know yet. I am waiting for his Dad to get home so we can sit him down and talk through why we have had to cancel it. AIBU to cancel the party? sad

hollyisalovelyname Thu 26-Sep-13 17:32:57

You have to follow through on threats
However could you postpone it rather than cancel it? I agree a 6 year old will understand when they are being naughty and unreasonable. I wonder why he is misbehaving. Why the negative attention seeking. Is there a new sibling in the house? Have you a new partner? Is he in a new school ? Others being mean to him? A new babysitter / minder?

Beechview Thu 26-Sep-13 17:33:31

I agree that you need to figure out why he's behaving like this. Cancelling his party may just upset him more and cause worse behaviour so you'll need to find a way to tackle this, like reinstating it if his behaviour improves.

Has he always been like this or has he recently become defiant?

OneStepCloser Thu 26-Sep-13 17:35:38

How long has his behaviour been bad? Is it an ongoing thing or has it just started?

CreatureRetorts Thu 26-Sep-13 17:37:12

He's only 6.

TBH I'm a bit confused. You've resorted to this threat and he's not listening sounds like you don't really have "control" here. Did you try anything else first?

Is he being bullied? Has something changed? Anything at home? Have you asked him why?

CreatureRetorts Thu 26-Sep-13 17:37:58

Also if you cancel it then what happens when (not if) he carries on the behaviour?

kiriwawa Thu 26-Sep-13 17:38:43

I think its too distant and probably what will happen is he'll start kicking off massively because he's so angry.

What smaller sanctions do you use? Do you have a reward system too? I use a jar of beads with DS (also 6, with ADHD). He loses a bead for bad behaviour (or more than one if he's really awful) and gets a small treat (2 quid or under toy) if he earns them all back by the end of the week. The jar is reset on Sunday

OneStepCloser Thu 26-Sep-13 17:40:31

I think its really important to get to the route of the behaviour. 6 is still really young, has something prompted this?

aintnothinbutagstring Thu 26-Sep-13 17:40:48

His behaviour won't be better for cancelling the party, though I can understand how you're feeling. It's the beginning of a new school yr, new teacher I'm assuming, I'm sure a lot of his fellow classmates are feeling out of sorts too. My dd has been playing up since starting back. Do you not feel he will settle down once hes into the routine?

Beechview Thu 26-Sep-13 17:42:15

rewards often work much better than threats at this age too.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 26-Sep-13 17:43:06

Has the teacher suggested any POSITIVE ways in which to help with your son's behaviour? I think its really shitty to cancel his party - i don't think you should do it. Give him the opportunity to earn it back? Not through, not being naughty, but give him some positive things to do? make him feel good about it??

HumphreyCobbler Thu 26-Sep-13 17:46:54

I don't think it will help his behavior. If the threat has not worked then actually cancelling will mean he has nothing left to lose. I say this because of his age, it would be different for an older child.

The questions of why his behavior is so bad and what can be done about it are the most important to answer. I think you should think about asking for some help from the school or your HV, if you have not already done so.

WhoNickedMyName Thu 26-Sep-13 17:47:38

I think it's an awful thing to do, but as you threatened it you have to go through with it.

I can't believe you're having to resort to this at 6. What does his bad behaviour consist of? What have been previous punishments? Have any of them worked?

I don't know how you proceed from here after cancelling a birthday party. What are you going to do next if/when his behaviour doesn't improve? Cancel Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas?

maddening Thu 26-Sep-13 17:47:38

I think yabu for having used the party as a punishment threat in the first place.

maddening Thu 26-Sep-13 17:47:48

I think yabu for having used the party as a punishment threat in the first place.

ExcuseTypos Thu 26-Sep-13 17:48:23

You are obviously worried about his behaviour and want to change it. You never know, cancelling his party might work as he'll be so upset he may change. It could go the other way though- he could well decide he's lost his party so what's the point of behaving?

I'd want to know what's causing his misbehaviour. Does he like his teacher? Is he being bullied? Have there been any major changes at home?

Unless you know the reasons, you can't solved his problem.

aintnothinbutagstring Thu 26-Sep-13 17:49:27

Has he moved from reception to y1? Because its a big change for them, no more playing, more formal learning. My dd has just started y1, the change has affected her quite a bit and ive seen lots of her classmates crying before and after school.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 26-Sep-13 17:50:30

Good on you and you should definitely follow through. He needs to learn consequences. A party is not an entitlement. It's not harsh at all.

Loa Thu 26-Sep-13 17:51:37

My DS is 6 and being an absolute shit at the minute - he's just on into year 2 and they no longer play half the day and I'm starting wondering if this is playing a part.

Have you tried taking away more immediate things like toys? Or other privileges ?

Problem with my DS is he could claim he wasn't bothered by something being canceled - and act out on those lines then months later come up with a grudge and kick off and get upset all again.

You could try positive reinforcement when he has a good day - some small treat that goes missing at end of day if he hasn't been good.

Do think your in a bit of a bind with the party now though having threatened. You could try and make him earn it back - if he's not listening and pretending not to care that might not work.

Crusoe Thu 26-Sep-13 17:53:25

Completely understand why you have cancelled, you have to see it through now but are you completely sure your ds has the right skills to behave? Does he need more help rather than more punishment? Not criticising your decision just throwing another thought out there.
C x

PicardyThird Thu 26-Sep-13 17:56:52

I don't agree with those who say you have to follow through now you have threatened it, OP. <commits MN heresy>

Cancelling a birthday party is a disproportionate response to what sounds like fairly standard 6yo (indeed 5yo!) start-of-term behaviour. It is likely to be ineffective too, for the reasons people have listed.

A child is helped more by a parent who can admit they have got something wrong than by one who 'follows through' at all costs and gives their child a negative memory for (possibly) life.

Take back the cancellation, have a close look at what is going on for your ds at home and school, decide on a sanction that is not draconian or drastic but one you are prepared to stick to for a long period of time, sit down with him and work out some behaviour rules into which he has input.

I grounded my DC and stopped them going to the odd after school activity.
This had a good effect on them, knowing they'd seriously over-stepped the mark.
But birthday celebrations are slightly sacrosanct here. I can't see me canceling a party I enjoy them too much myself You have to have some things to look forward to in life.

Also I don't think I'd be acting quite so strongly on issues at school. I would back them up to an extent, but possibly not with something this big.

But I'm sure he'll be fine. Maybe some small celebrations at home this year, and say if his behaviour improves over the year he can have his first birthday party next year ?

SaucyJack Thu 26-Sep-13 18:00:11

YANBU. 6 is not too young at all to learn that unpleasant behaviour has unpleasant consequences.

MrsSlocombe Thu 26-Sep-13 18:00:45

Completely agree with Picardy. I don't think a one off not carrying out a threat, explained properly, is that big an issue TBH. some kids find it harder than others to adjust to the expectations of school - obviously he needs to be encouraged to a)behave at school and b)to respond more appropriately to being told off - but I agree with amber and others about looking more into the reasons/triggers for this misbehaviour

Moetlovermuvver Thu 26-Sep-13 18:02:26

I'm with the YANBU people.

You threatened it now carry it through. Some times there is just far too much namby-pamby "oh, what it the underlying reason for the behaviour" etc. Sometimes, there is no excuse. My son can be just the same. He comes from a secure, loving family yet can sometimes be a right little shit. The OP's DS has been really naughty and rude and disrespectful to adults. OP - He'll know you mean what you say from now on.

racingheart Thu 26-Sep-13 18:03:16

I suppose if you have threatened this, then you'd better follow through, but it's unlikely to have favourable consequences, so is there anything else you could do instead? Families I know who keep using ever stronger threats to try and curb bad behaviour don't ever seem to get a good result from it. The kids just dig their heels in. I've known children from very loving families end up sleeping in bare bedrooms as all toys have been taken away, or who have had endless bans on pocket money and treats. They are the strongest willed children I know and they know it's a battle.

I'd take away the battle. Get rid of it in all your interactions with your son. Ask him how you can help him behave better. Ask him if he can imagine what life would be like if he wasn't in trouble. What would he like best about it? How does he think he could reach that state?

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