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Urgent advice on how to discipline 5yo for damaging furniture please

(13 Posts)
Pavlovthecat Fri 12-Aug-11 11:38:04

DD aged 5 (just, in july) has been watching 101 dalmations in my bedroom, DS and I have been watching too, and I have been popping in and out to sort laundry etc. DS has been put down for a nap and has been crying, and I hoovered. So DD moved to in front of the TV to hear it better as I hoovered the hallway.

I returned to find her absentmindedly stabbing a sharp pronged fork into the solid oak chest of drawers on which the TV is rested (yes I know the fork should not have been within her reach, i had used it earlier with the sharp prong to try to reset my wifi hub and had not moved it). There are now around 30-40 tiny quite deep holes on the top of the chest of drawers.

I said 'what do you think you are doing?' 'sorry!' she said and stopped immediately, she seemed genuinely distracted and realised immediately she had done wrong. I did not shout, i simply said 'go to your room now' and she did without fuss, while i turned the tv off. Again a sign she knew she had done wrong as she normally protests.

So, she is in her room. How do I deal with this, absentmindedly or not, whether I should have have left the fork in my bedroom or not, I feel this needs to be addressed somehow but am not sure how.

My complication for how to discipline is this: We have spent the last 10 days, just me, DD and DS (20m) while DH has been abroad. I am normally at work in the day and DH is main carer. I am on leave for last two weeks. DH returns tomorrow, we are driving from Devon to Heathrow to collect him. Today, we have been tidying up, she has cleaned some of her room, and we have made banners to put up, and are going to decorate the front room with bunting etc (DDs idea as she has missed him so much). We are off out this afternoon to buy some flowers for the front room and some food for a picnic tomorrow after we collect him. In addition to this, she and DS have been exceptionally well behaved these last two weeks, an absolute jot to be around and nothing more than the odd need to tell her off, over-all her bahaviour has been fab and I have really enjoyed my time.

So I am reluctant to punish her severely as today is our last day together just us, she has been great, and we have a day of decorating the house planned before an early night.

Any ideas on how I can punish her so she knows her behaviour was very wrong (which I think she knows already) without upsetting her for the day? Or, should I just talk to her and then leave it? the damage (which is significant but only material in the grand scheme of things) is already done.

WhereDidAllThePuffinsGo Fri 12-Aug-11 11:43:58

I'd just talk to her. I doubt she consciously thought "I think I'll damage the furniture now". She was just fiddling while watch telly.

She didn't get to watch the rest of her programme, she's been sent to her room. She knows she shouldn't have done it.

Talk to her about how the furniture can't be fixed, and you liked it the way it was, and this has made you sad. Talk about how it is important to think about what we're doing. Tell her you are sorry for leaving the fork lying around, and that you shouldn't have done that. Tell her that if she does find cutlery lying around again, it is important that she gives it to you.

And then have a nice time preparing for dh to come home!

Pavlovthecat Fri 12-Aug-11 11:53:15

yes you know what, I think I will handle it like that. She is such a good girl mostly. I don't want to be cross with her. in fact, I am not actually cross with her, even though I feel i should be!

Octaviapink Fri 12-Aug-11 12:25:03

I think she's been punished, to be honest. She knew she'd done something wrong immediately, apologised, missed the rest of her movie and was sent to her room. I think that's enough. Agree with Puffins that next time she finds a fork or cutlery where it shouldn't be, she takes it into the kitchen and doesn't play with it.

JarethTheGoblinKing Fri 12-Aug-11 12:27:10

Agree with PPs - just go and get her, explain why you were cross and she got sent to her room, then leave it at that.

Pavlovthecat Fri 12-Aug-11 17:35:37

i did just that. went to her room wheere she immediately apologised again without me asking her to.

I asked her to come and sit with me on her bed and she sat on my lap and we cuddled. I asked her if she knew why I was cross and she said 'yes, because I hurt your things' and I said yes, I was sad about that but she has said sorry and I am happy with her saying this, and said thank you for saying sorry. She said, all sad 'i didn't mean to mummy, i did not know you would be cross'. I said that i should not have left the fork there and asked her what she should do if she finds something like that again 'leave it alone' or...<prompting> 'give it to you' I gave her a big cuddle and told her I was not cross any more (i wasn't either!) and that I loved her. Asked her what colour balloons we should get for daddy.

She has been great all day, although a bit bouncing off the walls due to being excited about daddy coming home (you would think he has been away for months!), so I am glad I did not make it any more than that. And I shall not tell DH grin

Pavlovthecat Fri 12-Aug-11 17:37:13

octavia in reality she did not miss her film as it only had 3 mins left when i turned it off grin

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 12-Aug-11 17:51:30

You handled it very well, the only thing I'd do differently is not apportion blame to yourself. you should be able to leave a fork around a 5 year old with out it being turned into a tool of destruction. By confessing your part in it, it removed some of the blame from her in her mind and actually it is ok that she feels sad about what she did.

nannyl Fri 12-Aug-11 17:56:17

wow

sounds like it couldnt have been handled better. smile

Doesnt seem like it was malicious, more absent mindedness, and she realised she had done wrong.

happygilmore Fri 12-Aug-11 19:09:49

Sounds like you handled it brilliantly.

Pavlovthecat Fri 12-Aug-11 20:49:34

OYBK - I don't think she felt any less sad as she knows those deep marks will stay there forever and that upset her. But I do get your point about not proportioning blame, normally I would never admit liability ! grin

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 13-Aug-11 10:05:19

grin

It is hard watching kids learn lessons sometimes I think.

oldmum42 Sat 13-Aug-11 17:06:47

Countless teeth marks, fork stabbing etc in our furniture and piano (thats the teeth marks!), all of it done in absent minded haze at the age of sub 6 or 7 - I think they don't know that this is damage, or that it's permanent at that age.

As it's "real" furniture, ie made of wood, it's fairly easy to sort the fork marks.
You can buy coloured wax or wood filler in large diy stores that will fill them, but a good tip is not to match the colour of the wood, go several shades darker - the colour of the darkest grain on the wood. This makes it blend in a lot better.
Try wax first, as filler may involve stripping the whole surface back to the bare wood.

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