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To take DS's Christmas presents away if he doesn't say thankyou for them?

(21 Posts)
puntasticusername Sat 27-Dec-14 01:40:20

DS is nearly four, NT, and generally a thoroughly lovely child. However, he's been given two opportunities since yesterday to thank his grandparents over the phone for their generous Christmas gifts to him, and he has randomly declined as "Nana and Grandad are not my friends any more".

As I say, he's generally a great kid, loves his grandparents and has a wonderful time with them when they look after him (weekly), and he is usually quite happy to speak to people on the phone. His Nana and Grandad love him to bits and gave him some lovely things this Christmas, and me and DH are mortified to think that DS can't even manage to thank them for their kind gifts.

Would we be unreasonable to put DS's Christmas presents from his grandparents away in the cupboard until he says a simple thankyou for them? One part of me is saying that this is a reasonable and appropriate punishment for such rudeness and ingratitude; the other is saying that it's a mean thing to do to a not-quite-four-year-old who doesn't have anything like an adult understanding of the situation.

Another part of me is conscious that this behaviour embarrasses me as a parent, and I don't want this to cross over unduly into the punishment meted out to the three year old child.

Over to you, MN jury, I know you'll tell me straight smile

EmbarrassedPossessed Sat 27-Dec-14 01:58:46

Can you help him to write a thank you note instead? I personally don't think that trying to force a verbal thank you is necessarily going to work or be helpful.

Your embarrassment is not relevant to how you deal with the situation. All children forget their manners sometimes, and need reminding. You can thank the grandparents on his behalf and wax lyrical about how much he is enjoying the toys. Next time he sees them in person he can be prompted to say a thank you.

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Dec-14 01:59:12

You would be unreasonable to take them away, there are better ways of edging him towards saying thank you.

My DD is just a bit older and doesn't like talking on the phone because she's shy, not even to me or her dad. If you think about it it must be a bit weird, this disembodied voice that your Mum's telling you is your beloved GP grin

If your DS gets on with his GPs all the rest of the time then it's not because he being funny with them or anything, and he can't even understand what ingratitude is at only 3 YO. What's he like on the phone with them normally?

What about playing it down and maybe doing a thank you card with him?

Definitely don't think it's a reflection of you as a parent, he's only little smile it's the 8/9/10 YO children who don't acknowledge presents that annoy me.

Darkandstormynight Sat 27-Dec-14 02:08:03

My question is why is he saying they are not his friends any more?

I'd put the toys within sight but out if reach and tell him he can have them when we thanks them, by phone note, email, whatever.

Ds is 13 and monetary gifts are only given to ds when he has called and thanked the giver. It's a definite motivator.

puntasticusername Sat 27-Dec-14 02:08:06

He's normally fine talking to them on the phone, but he does have random Moods about it, as three year olds tend to, I guess (can you tell he's our first? grin).

The thankyou note is a great idea, thanks, I'll get him to do that over breakfast. Then he's got something fun to do and something he'll be pleased and excited to give them when they get here - they're visiting us tomorrow, hence the sudden urgency on the thankyou issue!

Thanks guys, feeling happier about this now! smile

puntasticusername Sat 27-Dec-14 02:16:39

"Why is he saying they're not his friends any more" - well, yes. This concerns me too. It seems to be partly a natural thing (as at the same time, he's decided that his faithful old teddy will no longer be his sleeping companion, and he prefers instead a random stuffed toy out of the box) and partly - I dunno. It does irk me that Nana and Grandad are always quite big on demanding kisses and cuddles, when DS doesn't want to give them. Sometimes they even try and bargain for them - a kiss in exchange for a chocolate etc. I think this is all manner of wrong, but I've addressed it with them directly (and politely) a couple of times, and they just don't agree.

I'd love this to be the time that I go ballistic and instruct them not to try and buy my son's body piece by piece grin but OTOH, DS should not suffer through being in the middle of such grown up PFB conflicts.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 27-Dec-14 06:53:33

I'm fairly relaxed but I do not like the kisses and cuddles thing and winder if it is partly manifesting in the friends thing

I would be fuming about this and would make it very clear that what they at edit g is actually putting your son at risk of abuse re: not respecting his boundries and teaching him that he should do things that he feels uncomfortable with for chocolate, WTF?!

In your situation, I would do the thank you card. If you see the kisses thing arising, I would say (politely but firmly with a fixed grin), "please don't do that. It makes DS very uncomfirtable". Then remove DS from the room on the pretext of helping you to make a cup of tea or similar. It's really important that DS knows that he can say no and you will support him. If they still persist, you need to sit down and make it very clear that they are putting DS at risk of others with more dubious motives for having forced personal contact with him

CakeAndWineAreAFoodGroup Sat 27-Dec-14 06:57:02

I agree with witchescat you need to reinforce the boundaries about your son's right to not do things he feels uncomfortable with.

Iggly Sat 27-Dec-14 07:21:55

Yabu a little bit.

When I saw the thread title I though "I bet he's about 4". Mine are 5&3.

Firstly they don't have to give kisses and cuddles. Secondly they regularly say they don't like me/DH/ etc etc - for a reaction. They also don't have the ability to say that they don't want to play with x/y/z because they don't feel like it - it comes out as " I don't like....."

I wouldn't have put mine on the spot to say thank you - I would have thanked them myself and done a thank you card. In person however they do say thank you - we regularly tell them to say thanks because the other person would be happy if they did.

NowBringUsSomeFuzzpiggyPudding Sat 27-Dec-14 07:24:44

Too young to insist on that IMO.

At that age drawing a picture as a thank you is nice.

rainyevening Sat 27-Dec-14 08:48:29

Just to share the opposite perspective - ie that of the giver - I once went to visit friends and brought presents for the kids. The kids weren't allowed to have the presents at all till they had said thank you and it became a massive deal that went on all weekend. I was completely mortified and didn't really care at all about being thanked - the kids were only little. I'd much rather they'd been able to enjoy their presents and we could all have moved on.

puntasticusername Sat 27-Dec-14 09:17:31

Thankyou all for your wise and sensible advice. I know threatening to remove presents is pretty harsh, but I couldn't think what else to do and as a pp said, I really didn't want it being an issue when gp are here today. DS has happily produced a picture this morning and written his name on it etc, so all is now well. Phew!

You have stiffened my resolve about the kissing and cuddling thing. It's never sat right with me at all, but gp just won't have it. Wonderful as they are in general. Will have to tackle it more seriously and talk to DH, make sure we put up a united front.

CheeseBuster Sat 27-Dec-14 09:25:09

I think it's quite hard for them when they haven't had the presents handed over by the people they are supposed to thank.

erin99 Sat 27-Dec-14 09:55:06

I'm glad the thank you thing got resolved.

My nearly-6-year-old sometimes refuse to talk to his GPs on the phone. Luckily they don't take it to heart, he is not a talkative child in general. Both in conversation and with writing at home & school he will often hide behind "I can't remember", shrugging his shoulders, or silence. We try not to hassle him but it's a difficult balance between that, encouraging him to communicate, and getting some basic politeness out of him.

ApocalypseThen Sat 27-Dec-14 10:03:28

The mini nephews (2&3) had these moments over the Christmas. I think it's all the excitement, being out of their routines and the pressure to thank people. They are a little bit on show and expected to perform for all the family because of all the effort that gets put into making it nice for them. They feel the expectation, of course, but don't understand it so they get resistant.

It's definitely no reflection on the parents.

Italiangreyhound Sat 27-Dec-14 10:07:38

If for anm reason he doesn't write the note (can he write at not yet 4?) then I would leave it until he sees them next and let him thank them in person. He is too young to understand (IMHO) and this is more embarrassing for parents.

pudcat Sat 27-Dec-14 10:32:50

If they are coming tomorrow why can he not thank them in person, or even better why could they not have given him their presents in person. A couple of days after Christmas does not matter.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 27-Dec-14 11:28:06

He is 3? Christ on a bike.

MinceSpy Sat 27-Dec-14 11:35:24

Get him to draw a picture and post it to the GPs.

KurriKurri Sat 27-Dec-14 11:41:26

Maybe he thinks thanking them will involve having to kiss and cuddle which he doesn;t like - he may see the presents as another bribe for kisses and be nervous about what will be expected of him. He could also just be being four and randomly deciding someone is not his friend, and be perfectly happy to be 'friends' tomorrow.

I'd second the card/picture/note idea - then he can give something in return for a present that isn't a kiss, - he might feel more relaxed with that idea.

puntasticusername Sat 27-Dec-14 11:43:27

pudcat I was just trying to avoid the situation where they get here, and he still refuses to thank them - just wanted the thanking done with minimum pain all round!

Looks as if some people may have missed my later update - I wrote a note, he wrote his name at the end, put some kisses and a brilliant picture of a spouting whale. Gp will be delighted with it.

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