AIBU to make others suffer for my sons behavior!(51 Posts)
My 5 year old DS was supposed to be having a big Xmas party on Saturday with some of his classmates at our house. His behavior has been terrible the last few weeks. I said to him last week if you don't improve im going to cancel your party. His reply was "see if i care " . Now i don't want to let down his friends who are all looking forward to the party. But i cant really let it go as an empty threat as he wont have learned anything.
Rule one is never make behavioural punishments ones that you would hesitate to follow through on.
Personally I wouldn't cancel the party but I wouldn't have used that as a threat either
Your five year old has called your bluff. Do you have the nerve to carry through? I think you need to cancel and take control.
He sounds bloody cheeky at 5yo. I would cancel it. You needing to follow through is more important than his friends being let down.
You made a ridiculous empty threat and your 5 year old saw right through it.
Now you have no choice but to cancel or confirm to him that you don't follow through and have an even harder time with his behavior.
You could still have the party with him having to miss it banished to his room.
Or make him write notes explaining ti thus mates. why cancelled
At 5 though, I guess that's a bit harsh
Ooh lots of cross posts- looks like its not to harsh
We've all done it, so don't beat yourself up over it or get worked up - but next time don't use a threat you can't follow through on!! Your son has worked out that you don't follow through and is pushing those boundaries.
Sadly I think that if you really want him to change his behaviour, you will have to cancel the party. I would apologise to all the other children (and their mums), but I really think they will understand, I mean we've all been there!! Then he will see what you say will be followed through, and he will begin to oblige (but it won't cure-all... maybe come up with a list of sanctions that you can use as a go-to so that you don't need to threaten something so huge in future?)
Good luck to you, I hope that once all this is over and done with you have a lovely, Merry Christmas xxx
You have to see this through.
If I were you I'd make party bags for all the invitees and present them in the school playground explaining that the party is now cancelled. I'd offer an apology and an explanation of why the party was been cancelled.
I'd ensure that DS saw the look of disappointment on his friends faces caused by his actions.
You'd probably be surprised by the admiration that other mums had in your actions.
As an adult if you threaten a consequence you have to see it through.
Having just read "How to talk so kids will listen" I would talk to him calmly.
Say you've thought about it and it would be unfair on his friends to cancel the party but you are disappointed in his behaviour (give a factual not blaming example) and want to find a way for you and him to solve these unacceptable problems.
Then make a list with him of ideas he and you have for solving the problem and come to agreement on which ones you'll pursue.
(Or better read the book)
Now you've made the threat you have to follow through if he is still being naughty - but don't worry too much about the other children - they will all have forgotten all about it in a few days so won't be too traumatised by the lack of party (but it will help their parents immeasurably as it will be a cautionary tale of what can happen if you are naughty.
Alternatively you could keep the party going but say that DS can't go - possibly a worse punishment but it means no-one else is disappointed.
Are you giving him positive opportunities for being good - he needs correct behaviour modelled and praised as well as bad behaviour sanctioned? If your attention and reaction for positive behaviour is enthusiastic it makes a huge difference.
how about - 2 jam-jars on the mantle-piece, one with a sad face on, and one with a happy face. because of recent poor behaviour start off with 10 marbles in the sad face jar and 5 in the happy face jar. Every time he is disobedient, violent or whatever a marble goes from happy jar into sad jar. every time he is helpful, obedient or does something nice that you want to encourage a marble goes from sad jar to happy jar. he can earn back his party if it gets to 12 marbles in the happy jar, but also have small attainable treats at 6, 8 and 10 marbles so that he can see the system works.
Thanks everyone, i know i really should never had threatened this to him. He is normally such a nice polite boy that i truly thought it would it scare him being his usual self. I like the idea of the party bags to the kids who were invited.
Aw, he's 5. A party days away is too far away, too big and too abstract for him to comprehend in terms of punishment.
Instead of threatening and punishing, could you give him a target behaviour for a morning/afternoon which earns him something. 30mins on the ipad, money towards a treat, time with you baking, a favourite video?
Telling him to 'improve' won't mean an awful lot either. What does 'improve' mean? How is it defined? By how much should it improve? Is hitting instead of kicking an improvement? What if he shouted at you when he really wanted to smash a window? How do you measure this improvement?
You need to work on one or two very concrete things at a time and just seek an improvement in those.
I hope you figure it all out and find a way to still enjoy the party. He is young but still probably old enough for you to say 'I'm sorry. I got it wrong. I don't want to cancel your party and I don't want your friends to be let down. However I do want your behaviour to improve so here's what we are going to do..............'?
When I did a stupid punishment before with dd1 that i could never follow up on because it would have been a punishment for everyone I pretended to follow through by apparently texting everyone to cancel. I then let dd1 earn back through a lot of hard work the original plan although it was never guaranteed until she clearly understood the error of her way and I has put an alternative consequence in place. It was not perfect I won't lie since as others have said ideally you don't threaten what you can't follow through on but she did see the error of her behaviour and the value of hard work earning her favour.
Make him earn it back with good behaviour?
Positive reinforcement is usually more effective.
I don't like the idea of gift bags given out to invitees at the playground, because the classmates who were not invited will be publicly left out.
You have only two options now, go hard line and cancel, or do as anothernumberone suggests, and allow him to 'earn' it back. But the latter will only work if a) you think he will actually believe you have cancelled, and b) if he is in fact capable of behaving in such a way and for so long as to actually achieve said reward, and c) you are prepared to still cancel if he can't or doesn't do b.
Next time, think about what you threaten
Thank you MostHighly thats a great post. Given me lots to think about. Funny thing is i never say if you are bad Santa wont bring you presents as i would never ever go through with it . Im just going to have to sit him down and say i should never had said he couldn't have his party.That even adults can say silly things they don't mean. But he must start tidying up after himself, eating his vegetables etc etc.
Thanks everyone again. You are right i never thought about the leaving people out with party bags. He has invited all the boys in the class so i dont think the girls would be too happy. I was just worried that he wont have time to earn it back IYSWIM where as if i cancel tomorrow its giving the parents of the children time to plan something else. Glad im not the only one silly enough to have done this.
He's 5. He has a birthday and Christmas in one month. I feel your pain re behaviour but a lot of parents experience this in December.
Please don't cancel his party. It feels too harsh. Explain that you expect his behaviour to change and maybe start a reward chart for behaviour.
I've been there too, as a matter of fact - my advice above stems from experience, shall we say !
Funnily enough, sitting them down and apologising often takes the wind out of their sails and they do often seem to rise to the challenge of being grown up about it. Hope it works out for you both!
Sorry just realised its not a birthday party but still think he should earn it back.
I think cancelling a party would be for something more major than a 5 year old being a big cheeky, not eating his vegetables and not being tidy enough!
It is the end of term, the children are knackered, he's tiny, for goodness sake, I bet if you asked most of the parents, they would say their 5 year olds are being badly behaved right now. He'll be back to normal after a short rest.
Cancelling a party is a really mean thing to do, given the nature of his misdemeanours. I would find a way to get back the party without losing face, it is you that stuffed up by threatening such a thing.
I also think it is too late to cancel a Sat event in a few days, parents may have rearranged classes/travel to attend.
We all say things we regret sometimes, you have to know when to have the grace to back down and really tackle the problem- his tiredness and cheekiness, cancelling his party won't solve these things anyway, but he will remember that time for all the wrong reasons.
I think cancelling the party is too harsh a punishment for a five year old and I think it's unfair on the other children and is messing the other parents around. I generally think that you should follow through on punishments but only if they're reasonable which I don't think this is (but I think going straight for the nuclear option is something all parent's do from time to time). I agree that cancelling the party won't address his recent behaviour but that he will remember that punishment for ever (and I think you will too). I'd do what others have suggested let him earn back the party with good behaviour and think up me meaningful and immediate sanctions if he continues to behave badly.
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