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4yo has damaged a book of sentimental value to me - how to discipline?

(24 Posts)
Honesttodog Thu 18-Oct-12 22:12:12

I have already made it clear to her in life that we do not damage books, have taken books away for a while if she tears them, and she very rarely tears book pages or defaces them.

Just been upstairs and found she has pulled the pages out of a book that I had as a kid, and that my mum;s brother also had as a kid. I have checked online, it is replaceable but I am very sad that she has done this, and also pretty annoyed. Fortunately none of the pages are torn - it's just that it's one of those books that were stitched together rather than glued, so it will look very ugly if I try to tape it back together again.

What is the best way to discipline/teach a lesson? Obv I also need to get over my issues and just put away the books that are special to me, i realise my error in letting her get to it in the first place!

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 22:14:35

the same as you would discipline her if she did it to a book that wasn't sentimental to you

discipline should be delivered calmly and consistantly

so you should do exactly what you've done when she's torn other books, no more just because YOU are upset

Honesttodog Thu 18-Oct-12 22:18:25

well taking it away won't make any odds to her, it's not a particular favourite, it just has nice pictures (it's a bit advanced for her and too long as a bedtime story) so i just want to emphasise that she has damaged something and that is not acceptable.

Take away something else favourite?

Rosebud05 Thu 18-Oct-12 22:22:06

Tell her how sad you are and why, and reiterate that we don't tear books.

Say that it looks like you won't be able to trust her with other valuable things for a while.

To be fair to your dd, the book was a few years old and those stitched books don't last forever. But it is annoying and upsetting when something you value gets damaged.

Keep anything valuable high up, and get it down when your children can be supervised.

straighttohellymelly Thu 18-Oct-12 22:24:19

She is only 4. I would just talk to her about how it has made you feel, that is was your special thing, and that she would be sad if you damaged a special toy of hers, and ask her to be more careful.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 18-Oct-12 22:24:22

No. You can't expect a 4yo to tell the difference between a 'normal' book and one that has sentimental value to YOU.

You do EXACTLY as you would do if it were any other book.

And any books that have sentimental value to you you keep well out of her reach until she is older.

I have books that were mine and my parents, and even a couple from my grandparents childhoods, that I have read to my young children, but they are put away out of sight and reach afterwards.

I would not punish a 4yo more severely for damaging a book that has sentimental value to me any way differently to the way I would punish them for damaging a book without the sentimental value.

A 4yo is not able to differentiate between the two. Maybe by 7yo, but not 4yo.

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 22:24:31

but the behaviour is the same as when she damaged the other books that you took away, so if you're going to change the book damaging punishment will you continue that punishment from now on even for books you aren't attatched to?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 18-Oct-12 22:27:19

I would explain the difference, but I wouldn't expect them to fully understand the difference until 5/6/7yo, depending on the child.

And I WOULD expect to have to reiterate that message time and time again if I continued to leave books with sentimental value where they could access them unsupervised.

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 22:29:43

essentially at 4 you don't want to give the message that its less bad to damage some books than it is to damage your favourites, which might be the way a 4 year old interprets a punishment that is based on it being THAT book. the message should be just don't damage books, any books. That's it really.

Honesttodog Thu 18-Oct-12 22:34:47

ok putting aside the books value to me - best way to make it abundantly clear that damaging books is wrong? Because it's one of those things that irrationally upsets me anyway, i just think books are precious.

Honesttodog Thu 18-Oct-12 22:35:20

gah, "book's"

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 22:56:04

It's no different from damaging anything else, behaviour wise, not at this age, an older child doing it BECAUSE its special to you would be, but at this stage it sounds like its just breaking stuff, so concentrate on that

RillaBlythe Thu 18-Oct-12 22:59:07

Err, 'books' IS the plural!

I would just talk to her about the incident.

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 23:00:33

Rilla I think the OP was talking about a particular book's value

SundaeGirl Thu 18-Oct-12 23:03:34

Go mental. It usually sticks in the mind providing you're otherwise quite calm. Don't major on the sentimentality stuff though. If it was that precious you should have had it out of reach.

SundaeGirl Thu 18-Oct-12 23:04:00

Is she your DD or someone else's?

RillaBlythe Thu 18-Oct-12 23:04:09

But she said 'I just think books are precious' - then posted to correct. had she put 'book's are precious' it would be wrong.

I wouldn't have commented if she hadn't corrected to the incorrect smile

RillaBlythe Thu 18-Oct-12 23:05:22

Oh! But she was correcting her first line! As you were!

leeloo1 Thu 18-Oct-12 23:44:45

You should be able to get the book rebound by a professional if the pages aren't damaged, although it might be expensive - and need to come out of pocket money/money that would otherwise be spent on 'treats' for DD.

It depends on the 4yo, but my (only just turned 4yo) DS knows darn well that we don't damage books, so I would expect him to understand (to an extent) the consequences and repercussions and I'd be very upset if he did something like this.

I'd start by making it very clear how 'sad' I was, linking it to his favourite toy/book and how would he feel, telling him how long I'd had it etc etc. I'd expect a decent apology and then explain why x/y/z would be removed until I could trust him with them again and that a/b/c wouldn't be happening because the money would need to go to replace/repair the damage. I also might ask him to try to help repair the damage if it was a ripped book that needed taping (although in your case I'd go to a professional). I might remind him of it briefly over a few days -e.g. if he asked to do something that was banned because of the incident and after that it wouldn't be mentioned again.

That probably makes me sound horribly strict and over the top, but I think there are moments when kids really cross the line that you need to clamp down hard and make an impression, then most of the time they toe the line and you can be light-handed with them discipline-wise.

mrsmplus3 Thu 18-Oct-12 23:54:20

How to discipline? Presuming it happened hours ago you should've dealt with it there and then and it should no longer be an issue?? She's 4! And you left her with your precious book! So...
I would just say we don't rip books. End of. Next time naughty step.

GoldPlatedNineDoors Fri 19-Oct-12 00:02:04

At 4yo you could maybe go down the route of "if you arent being grown up enough to look after paper books then I will have to get out all the hard card baby books, as only babies rip and tear books up" - may work. She may then want to show you how 'grown up' she can be when you supervise her with paper page books and not rip them.

helpyourself Fri 19-Oct-12 00:09:12

It's still the same book, and now it's linked to you, your brother and her. Can you honestly imagine in your nursing home being upset that a 4yo damaged a book?

If you mind about things being damaged keep them out of her way. I can imagine being upset about something being rendered useless, but I can honestly say I own nothing that I would be upset at being damaged by my child.

Mollydoggerson Fri 19-Oct-12 00:13:29

I think you should blame yourself for not putting it in the attic.

She is only 4, it wasn't done out of spite.

Maybe just re-inforce the message that books are valuable and should be treated with care. Tell her it has made you sad.

izzywizzyisbizzy Fri 19-Oct-12 00:20:12

It's a book - she is 4, talk about being dad but it should be immediate.

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