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Genuine Question - DH buying so many toys for DS ?

(67 Posts)
rookiemater Mon 23-Jun-08 08:54:28

Our DS is 2. In common I guess with most parents we have a room overflowing with plastic tat and other toy related items for DS to play with. We also have several boxes in the garage of things he has grown out of or weren't great hits.

We go to NCT and church sales and buy toys through that. DH then buys a load more through Ebay. Now he has taken to buying toys from ELC & the Jennners toy department every time we are out and from Asda or Sainsburys every time he goes to the supermarket. This means that DS gets something new on average once a week. Yesterday I made the mistake of leaving DH and DS in the toy department so I could hit the Hobbs sale ( bought nothing) and came back to discover the household budget was £46.99 lighter as DH had bought an entire train set to match the one the neighbours had brought round for free that morning, along with a loud police alarm car and a set of 5 matchbox cars to go with the 90 or so (am not joking) we have already.

Now I am fairly mean, and had a 70s upbringing based on around new toys being bought at christmas time and birthdays only. DH came from a poor household and I think he is trying to make up for that so that DS doesn't go without. That I understand, but tbh DS is just as happy playing at grannys house with a box of pegs and one tricycle borrowed from their neighbours.

We can afford it as DH is a contractor, actually it all seems to have become worse since he is earning much money, but I feel that a) its giving DS the wrong message that all these toys miraculously appear for no reason b) its very environmentally unsound to buy plastic and associated packaging new when if we really wanted it we could get through 2nd hand sale or Ebay and much cheaper and c) our house is impossible to keep clean or tiday.

So AIBU or is DH ?

MrsTittleMouse Mon 23-Jun-08 08:57:47

YANBU.
There are very few children in our family, so in our case it's the doting grandparents who love to spoil DD. Even though they all agree that it was good that DH and I didn't grow up getting everything that we wanted and ending up spoiled!
The thing that I would be concerned about is why your DH is so keen to buy your DS everything.

ZoeC Mon 23-Jun-08 08:57:55

I wouldn't want so many toys, new or used, coming into the house. Most of them won't get used much if at all once the first day is over, and it just gets overwhelming. I also think it takes something away from birthdays and Christmas as presents are coming all year iyswim.

If your dh is determined to spend money, why not save it and do nice days out instead.

pooka Mon 23-Jun-08 08:59:24

Your DH is not necessarily unreasonable to want to buy so much for your ds. Buuuuutt....

I agree with you that it's shocking how much our children have compared with the 70s children.

I am pretty guilty of overspending, and then getting mildly irritated when the children don't show immense pleasure in the things they have. Wish I could turn back the clock to when dd was born, and do things differently, and with less extravagance. I think the result of me being a bit mad when she was little was that I've devalued possessions by making them so freely available. DD and DS both perfectly happy with sticks, pegs and so on but I wanted to get them every damn thing they wanted.

Am trying to curb my overindulgent tendencies.

rookiemater Mon 23-Jun-08 09:06:48

Oh I know why DH is doing it. In each family you know the way there is generally one spender and one frugal person. Can you guess the way we are ?

It drives me crazy as DH never looks at the price of anything and here I am saving up tesco vouchers and batching up stuff to sell back at the NCT sales.

We also do nice days out, and holidays, where again DH spends like there is no tomorrow. I guess its in his nature and we aren't in debt and we save as well so I don't see it as a real problem whilst he is contracting.

The toys thing gets me because as pooka says, when DS is older I think it will teach him that he can get whatever he wants just because he likes it.

I just don't know how to get DH to rein himself in.

Alambil Mon 23-Jun-08 09:17:42

Why not put the money in an account for IF the contract ever ran out?

My dad was a contractor, on a huge wage - he got 2 months notice and was out of work for 6m... because he'd spent carefully, he was able to support the family still.

Would DH work with a strict budget? Say £10 per month - if he wants to buy a big thing, save for it?

jojosmaman Mon 23-Jun-08 09:25:54

YANBU- this really irritates me, but for me it is my MIL who is the "culprit". My ds (16mths) has spent almost the whole weekend playing with a bit of plastic that has wheels on the bottom which has broke off his bag and insisted on taking it to nursery with him today. He would rather play with this than any of the expensive brand new toys his granny has bought for him. A few months ago dh actually had a word with her and asked if she could stop buying him toys (usually one or two a week) as a)he doesnt need them b) we have no room for them and c)it is teaching him all the wrong things and means he will only associate granny with her bringing him toys. So now she has stopped buying things but has to say to ds whenever she comes round "Granny hasnt got you a present as mummy and daddy won't let me buy you one, arent they mean?"

rookiemater Mon 23-Jun-08 09:27:34

Just a quick response as we have to go out.
We do have a financial buffer so if he is out of work then we should be ok.

I don't think a strict budget would work. The thing is that we can afford Dh to buy these things without it impacting us, I just don't see it as a good way to spend money and not beneficial in the long run for DS.

Alambil Mon 23-Jun-08 09:39:13

It's good that there's a buffer on top of this spending, but that sort of makes it harder to stop him because there's no "What will we do if work stops" discussion!

I have no idea how you can get him to stop. There must be something we can think of

potatolover Mon 23-Jun-08 09:39:39

I'm with you on this one. I don't think it will do your DS any favours in the longer term either - to keep getting things for no particular reason. And just think how childrens' wants and expectations can inflate as they get older - playstations, X-box, wii, iPod etc etc. Your DH may, unwittingly, only end up creating some future issues for your son is his attempts to redress what it sounds like he perceives as his own deprived upbringing.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 23-Jun-08 09:43:22

I'm like your DH, I love toy shopping and will admit to them all being new rather than off Ebay etc.

I see no harm in it, we can afford it and I love treating DS. We dont smoke or drink though so probably spend no more than other households. I pass everything on so it gets re-used rather than go to land fill.

MIL believes children should only have new toys at xmas and birthdays, which is fine as thats her belief. Not my personal belief as I wouldnt only have something new at xmas or my birthday so dont see any reason why DS shouldnt be treated the same.

A child can have lots of toys without being spoilt or expecting to get something new all the time.

Milkysallgone Mon 23-Jun-08 10:14:49

Yanbu. IMO it's not about the money at all, it's about values. We are pretty skint so don't have much choice in only buying toys at Christmas and birthdays etc; but I'd like to think that if the money was readily available, we would still restrict new toys to pretty much the same.

Can you and dh come up with some other way of dh feeling as though he's 'treating' your ds without the empahasis on material things?

Enid Mon 23-Jun-08 10:18:11

I'd be very cross if this were me. Yanbu. We are 'comfortably off' and could afford to buy the girls whatever toys they wanted tbh but I don't want the girls to grow up being grasping and materialistic. Also, kids do NOT need or want this many toys (esp at 2) so your dh is clearly doing it for himself rather than the long term happiness of your son.

Enid Mon 23-Jun-08 10:18:48

"In common I guess with most parents we have a room overflowing with plastic tat and other toy related items for DS to play with. We also have several boxes in the garage of things he has grown out of or weren't great hits."

we dont

and I have three happy children

nancy75 Mon 23-Jun-08 10:32:04

i agree with the no space in the house issue, but have to admit that both dp and i regularly buy things for dd, she does have alot of toys but she is still a well manered well behaved child who is not in anyway grasping or materialistic.

snowleopard Mon 23-Jun-08 10:33:41

I feel strongly about this too. In my view DS has a lot of toys and I feel bad about getting him new ones too often - luckily my DP is the same, but I've had problems with family showering him with toys and I know people who really go mad with toys for their DC. I so identify with you about the 70s childhood and knowing the value of things. IMO it is a cruelty to children to be giving them loads of new toys constantly, because it's depriving them of the excitement and thrill that should come with getting something new occasionally. I also marvel at how DS can sometimes have a fantastic game with no toys at all, just playing with imaginary things or making a few chairs and apples into a car or whatever - which shows toys aren't as vital as we might think (though having said that I do think some of the more creative toys are great, eg lego.)

I think all you can do is say you need to talk and really spell it out to your DH that this is not a good or nice thing to do to DS, however "generous" it may seem. I also enjoy a good toy sort-out every once in a while (we are due one now as DS had a birthday recently). I keep a selection of things out that DS currently likes playing with, put others away for him to rediscover later, and get rid of old/broken or no longer suitable ones - if possible I give a big bag to a charity shop which makes me feel better. DS never notices or objects.

snowleopard Mon 23-Jun-08 10:36:19

No we don't have a toy room either - for space reasons we have to restrict it to a few boxes in the corner of the living room and I like having that limit on it tbh. I do know friends with a playroom and it just seems to be stacked full of stuff that rarely gets played with.

OverMyDeadBody Mon 23-Jun-08 10:36:50

start implementing the one toy in one toy out rule. For every new toy that comes into the house give an old toy away to charity. No child needs that many toys. Maybe even donate them to your local nursery or mother and toddler group, or a women's refuge.

With that many toys your DS is going to grow up not even appreciating them all and simply taking them for granted.

Also, youre house will look much nicer not covered in bightly coloured plastic shrapnel.

OverMyDeadBody Mon 23-Jun-08 10:37:43

I don't have a room overflowing with plastic tat either, not sure it is common to all parents.

Enid Mon 23-Jun-08 10:38:11

all the children I know who have loads of toys bought for them for no 'reason' are a bit spoilt - constantly askign for stuff, very aware of whats out there. How can you not be if you learn that whatever you want, you get?

agree with snowleopard that it is a form of very mild cruelty in a way

nancy75 Mon 23-Jun-08 10:40:17

i am interested to know if people that only buy their kids stuff at xmas/birthdays do the same for themselves? do you buy yourself new stuff all the time or just twice a year, if you buy a new pair of shoes is it on the understanding that you will give a pair you already have to charity?

Turniphead1 Mon 23-Jun-08 10:41:36

YANBU
This is something we struggle with too. As a household we have a high income, in vast contrast to my household as a child! (well for the moment, my DH is in banking and may get the chop at amy moment, scary).

But I really really try to limit the amount of stuff my children get. Every time the 4yr old asks for something ie about 12 times a day, I say hold that thought for your birthday two presents that you want to choose. They do get stuff in between birthdays and christmas but I really try limiting it.

Maybe you should try saying this to your DH;

- your DS is two now and presumably fairly unaware about shops etc but let him try and imagine how unutterably foul it is to have a child who, evey time you set foot in a supermarket/toy shop /anywhere starts demanding toys, whining, shouting etc. My guys have learnt now that there is just no point as they won't get, but if he buys something 9 times out of 10, it is fair enough that your DS will always demand and it's just so horrible.

- the joy of giving is so much better when a child appreciates something. Say you have spent ages getting together all the bits for a lovely train track and you give it on his birthday, if he hasn't had a present a week for the preceeding year he will appreciate that so much more

- I think your DH is trying to find ways to show his beloved son how much he loves him, which is lovely. But it's a cliche that children would far rather have the gift of time than another piece of plastic and that your DS will have a much happier time if his dad takes him to the park for that two hours rather than trailing him round Toys R Us and acquiring more junk

- one of the things children nowadays (spot old woman tendancy) suffer from, particularly boys is lack of self-restraint/control of impulse. It sounds daft, but those qualities, along with empathy, are what will make a child happy and sociable and probably able to do well at school. By teaching "you want/you get IMMEDIATELY" we are losing a valuable lesson to teach restraint on a daily basis, yes, you may have ...but on your birthday/at christmas/when you save up.

I think you really need to sit down with your DH and have a very serious talk. You need to agree some groundrules together on gift buying and STICK to them. He can't unilaterally go out and buy thing after thing, as its actually a big parenting issue, right up there with food and sleep in my opinion. Try and impress on him that it is SO not about the money or even the buying of the gift. You need to get a hold on this and have a real clear out too! I have two kids and they have too much imo, but we certainly don't have a whole roomfull (and bear in mind your boy is only 2!!)

nancy75 Mon 23-Jun-08 10:41:57

ofgs, a form of child cruelty - what a load of rubbish!

Smithagain Mon 23-Jun-08 10:42:57

Does your child play well with the toys?

Because we have found that our children play most creatively during the week after we have had a major clearout. So that they can actually get to the toys and rediscover old favourites.

If you have that many, you are going to have to work out some sort of epic toy-rotation scheme, or your DS will struggle to make the most out of what he's got. Which becomes more relevant as they get older and play involves more imagination, role playing etc.

bonio Mon 23-Jun-08 10:45:12

YANBU

Has your dh never come across the concept of "spoiling" a child?

if your child has so much stuff at this young age he will not be able to appreciate gifts later on

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