To accept the money? More of a wwyd?(50 Posts)
DS (10) plays out with quite a few local children. He has some attachment issues as I've mentioned before and struggles sometimes socially so I'm desperate for him to learn to socialise which is why I allow him out despite some of the things I'm about to mention.
Usually things are good when playing out but there are some older children who will pick on DS and say things for being a little bit 'different' (he's a lovely lad but can be a bit young for his age and is a bit of an old man at times!) I usually just tell him to ignore these boys which he is getting much better at doing now. He used to come in crying regularly but I have worked on his resilience, equipped him with dismissive but assertive 'come backs' (like 'I don't mind what you think, I like it' if they say something he has is stupid for example).
Recently was his 10th birthday. He wanted a full face bike helmet (we were going dirt biking but he wanted one anyway). These older boys kept telling him he'd look stupid and they wouldn't hang around with him if he got one etc etc etc. He had had his heart set on this but then kept saying he didn't want one after all because these boys (one in particular) would laugh at him. I told him not to be daft and we didn't care about anyone else remember and I was so pleased that he said he still wanted it.
When he got it, I was worried he wouldn't go out in it but he did and I was really impressed. About 10 mins later he came in crying, saying this boy had refused to play with him now because he had the helmet on. I reassured him again and told him to get back out there and he did! Again I was really impressed with him and next time I looked, this boy was asking to try it on!
Fast forward to today. He was out playing again with this group and was sitting chatting. His bike was nearby with his helmet on the handlebars. Next thing, this same boy said 'let's make chips out of X's helmet' and began throwing stones at it. DS came in and showed me-the back of the helmet is all chipped.
I went out and spoke to the boy. I have never done this before preferring to let him deal with things himself but I was so cross. I asked him how he was going to put this right and he said 'not do it again'. I told him this wasn't good enough and that we had to go to his house and speak to his mum. The mum was devastated and kept apologising. She then turned to the son and said 'So how can we replace this? You know we have no money. Where can I get this from?' He said 'you can't'. She apologised again, told the lad he had to go straight to his room and told me she will bring the money round when she has it.
So here's my dilemma. I feel so sorry for this woman-she clearly doesn't have the money and my son when I told him was really upset saying 'please don't make her pay mum. She has no money'. I feel the same so what do I do? Say it doesn't matter? It was £50 and is damaged significantly. I want the lad to realise what he's done but what's the best way to go about this?
Help, you wise MNers!
Tell the boy he can work off the debt? Wash your car? Mow your lawn? Check with the mum first.
That's a conundrum. How old is this lad that did this? Could the boy do something around the house (gardening etc) to kind of pay off the debt.
I once accidentally smashed a window when I was 16. My mum paid for the repairs (even though she couldn't afford it) but I had to get a part time job and pay it all back
I wouldn't make them pay the full amount but I would accept a contribution, eg pocket money from the lad or something from the mum. It's great that the mum was supportive - hopefully her boy will be kinder to your DS in future.
I think NickNacks has the answer. Get the boy to do chores for you to work it off, that way he does not get off scot free, his mum will not be under so much stress and you get something out of it too.
Great idea to get the lad to work to help pay it off!
That's the thing. He's 14 and my DS is just gone 10. There is a long list of things he's done to my lad and the other younger ones some of which I did mention to the mum, but this is the worst by far.
I was glad the mum was so supportive too. I came away really feeling bad for her.
I instantly thought chores too. He's presumably 12+ so can wash a car, clean the Windows, do some weeding etc.
14? Old enough to know better and not be so mean but also old enough to cut grass / wash cars / paint fences etc and pay off his debt to you.
So sorry your DS has been on the receiving end of his shitty behaviour.
I wouldn't want him doing chores for me. I'd accept the woman's apology as sincere, reassure her you don't want the item replaced but ask to discuss how to manage her sons behaviour.
If he has to do chores, he will probably feel resentful towards Ops son, as well as probably deliberately messing up whatever he's been asked to do.
Go talk to his mum again, without the boys. Tell her you would rather the boys got on rather than have the £50. See if she will agree to let her son work off his debt, then turn a blind eye when your son gives him a hand!
Make a deal with the mother - let the boy think that she has paid you back, but really you don't have to accept the money from her.
I think doing some kind of work would be a possible option, but it's still got difficulties. It's ok if you actually need anything done, but what if you don't, or what if the jobs you want doing need a higher level of care than the boy can give? I don't think there's an easy answer on this. I do think OP shouldn't be significantly out of pocket. If this boy gets any kind of pocket money maybe that's another option though the pa payback period would obviously be longer.
Reminds me of when DC were young and broke one of our dining chairs by messing about
I sent them to a neighbour who was a cabinet maker and told them they would have to pay his bill out of their pocket money
He sent them a very official looking invoice to be paid in car washes and cake (he knew they liked baking)
Years later the chair is still going strong, he sadly died a few years ago
OurBlanche I generally really admire and agree with your posts, but I'm really not sure about this situation. We don't know OP's financial situation - not everyone can write off £50. And I am uneasy about her DS ending up feeling bad for, and helping out, someone who has been doing stuff to him that heads towards bullying.
OP I get that you wanted the social benefits of this for your son, but if a lot of this sort of behaviour has gone on, is it worth it? Could the other kids who've copped for it too be persuaded to band together with your son and play as a group of their own?
I'm struggling at the moment to want to even see the child again to be honest, let alone have him here doing any chores, although I may feel differently in a while I guess! It all feels so deliberate, right from the beginning saying horrible things through to actually going so far as to damage it on purpose! I'm still simmering I guess and upset that he has dared to do this (when he asked him to stop he said 'what are you going to do about it?' ) but like I said hopefully I will calm down soon. Aaargh!
Tendonqueen I know just what you mean, but because this boy is much older, they all think he's 'cool' and want to hang round with him (my son does too, annoyingly!). If he stays away then he has nobody to play with. Gosh it's so hard!
Oooh I was relying on the last bit about OPs son not wanting them to pay and OP feeling sympathy for his mum.
But your last post, Bocolate, makes all of that meaningless.
If you can't like the boy for what he has done your your son then any suggestion that you let him further into your son's 'safe space' - your home - is not going to work.
All you can do is keep a close eye on the situation and rely on the other mum's good parenting to help keep her son's behaviour in check.
Could you make more contact with her, not as in make friends, but more in passing?
I'm glad the mother is mortified..hopefully she will stop his bullying. He needs to be apologising to your son
The boy needs to realise that he is at the age where he will be held accountable for his actions...if he had stolen from a shop or damaged a car, window or any other kind of vandalism he could be looking at police involvement
I actually think that given what you've posted, OP, getting him to do chores is a non starter. If he 'accidentally' damaged any more of your property, things would get even worse, for you and his mum. I think too that while it's understandable that you feel bad about his mum's situation, that should necessarily mean letting the money go. Many people in her position would feel they wanted to pay it off however hard it was, because they'd feel worse not to.
That shouldn't necessarily mean letting the money go, I meant to type.
The boy should write your son an apology and pay £1 (or more) a week. He probably gets some money for soft drinks, snacks which he can do without even though his mother can't put her hands on £50 just like that.
Maybe he'll appear less cool to the others. You've been so supportive and your DS so brave and sensible.
I dont mean to be negative but i cant understand why you let him hang around with kids that are horrible.
I know you say well he will have no one to play with otherwise but arent you teaching him that having these horrible kids as friends is better than no friends at all?
What about friends from school?
What about getting him involved in hobbies so he meets people he has an interest with?
Im going to be teaching dd that if people are horrible then you keep your distance from them and avoid them. No way will i be encouraging her to play with people who are bullying her.
How about accepting £25 - it's not quite so much but enough to be compensation. This is only ok if your son is happy to wear the damaged helmet. Otherwise I think I'd accept the money . The boy is 14 and knew what he was doing.
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