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Spoilt Children

(79 Posts)
YesAnastasia Sat 10-Aug-13 16:43:47

It was DS1 4th birthday and he got lots of presents including a wooden playhouse for the garden and various other toys he was very pleased with.

Today the windows on the playhouse are scratched and smashed and other toys are lost and/or broken by either DS1 or DS2 (2.7).

I've flipped today and went on about children with no mummies or daddies, no nice clothes, treats for dinner etc. It means nothing to them, I'm handling it all wrong and will have spoilt brat children who have no respect for their belongings (or other peoples). I can't believe I have raised them to be this way. How has this happened?

Anyone know an effective way of teaching children to be grateful and respectful?

lljkk Sat 10-Aug-13 17:19:19

He's only 4. You can't in our rich western society teach him the value of things easily. Of course he only knows what he knows. Kids from very poor countries only value those things because they are so incredibly bizarre & outside anything they ever knew.

How closely do you supervise them? I wouldn't expect them to have a clue about looking after things, they need to be constantly reminded and limited (nicely but firmly).

YesAnastasia Sat 10-Aug-13 17:33:17

You're right, they have so much stuff it's unbelievable. Too much. I know that's part of the problem but there must be a way to be 'privileged' but respectful and grateful.

They play unsupervised (with me in hearing/watching distance) and supervised in equal measures I guess. What do you mean by limited? How do I go about that?

I'm a SAHM & invest so much of my time thinking about how to raise these children - I don't know how it's all going so wrong. Of course they are not horrible children, they have many, many good attributes.

Andro Sat 10-Aug-13 18:36:49

Does the eldest have anything in particular that he values? Can you use that as a teaching tool - how would he feel if it were broken/unavailable etc? Limit access to expensive/high (to him) personal value toys to when you can supervise - until he earns your trust in how careful he'll be.

Be prepared to limit/remove the 2.7yo's access to some of DS1's toys and explain this to DS1 - it wouldn't be right if DS1 was being punished/told off for his brother's actions/lack of care (DS2 is still very little).

I suspect you'll find it easier to teach respect than gratitude; respect is a behaviour, gratitude is an emotional response and from what I've seen with my 2 it requires far more maturity to be able to grasp the concept.

Andro Sat 10-Aug-13 18:38:20

^that should have said 'respect for belongings/how to look after them is a behaviour'

Cheeseatmidnight Sat 10-Aug-13 18:41:13

Maybe get them to sort out some things for charity, explaining they will go to children with few toys etc

YesAnastasia Wed 14-Aug-13 14:24:20

That's a good point. Respect for their toys/belongings is an easier thing to teach. They do understand that they're lucky to have a loving family (The Rescuers) but I don't want them to grow up to be dissatisfied, bored easily and ungrateful.

YesAnastasia Wed 14-Aug-13 14:27:33

That's a good point. Respect for their toys/belongings is an easier thing to teach. They do understand that they're lucky to have a loving family (The Rescuers) but I don't want them to grow up to be dissatisfied, bored easily and ungrateful.

CreatureRetorts Wed 14-Aug-13 14:33:53

They are young. You should keep an eye on them - how do they smash a window up for example without you noticing?

My nearly 4 year old is quite boisterous so we spend a lot of time teaching him how to play with toys etc. he doesn't actually play with that many things so I'm planning a big clear out but alot of the time he needs to get his energy out and the toys get it. He doesn't get everything he asks for - so definitely not spoilt. We talk about saving and he's just starting to get the hang of waiting.

I'd start putting toys away, and get him interested in non materialistic things.

YesAnastasia Thu 15-Aug-13 09:27:57

Haha, yes it does sound bad. They both had new plastic lightsabers and the windows were smashed in the time it took DH to get from one side of the garden to the other. I think it was a team effort hmm

It's interesting that you say that because I feel like that is my daily battle with DC & DH. DH's family buy so much STUFF that it overwhelms me (and them) They live 200 miles away so they save it all up for when they see them AND send packages in the post. DH is into technology so they have apps & computer games, films etc! I actually don't mind Lego (and dress up) - I think it's creative and helps with concentration but the rest could just go in the bin for all I care!

I'm a SAHM and have them drawing, doing puzzles, reading and playing the garden as much as I can bit they want their stuff!

CreatureRetorts Thu 15-Aug-13 09:55:20

Maybe persuade them to put money in a savings account instead, so they provide a cushion eg for uni fees?

Nothing is "going wrong" at all. They are 4 and 2. The time will come to teach all those things, but right now you just need to supervise.

Think you are overreacting.

YesAnastasia Thu 15-Aug-13 21:52:56

Good, I hope I am.

ReallyTired Fri 16-Aug-13 16:45:38

Not all is lost, and they are still little enough to learn good behaviour.

"Today the windows on the playhouse are scratched and smashed and other toys are lost and/or broken by either DS1 or DS2 (2.7). "

I am surprised that they have managed to do so much damage in so short a time. What did you do to punish them? Lectures about children with no mummies or daddies or toys mean nothing to them because they have never met children who live in poverty. They are simply too young to understand.

Sometimes toys do get broken, but diliberate breaking of a toy is something different. Both boys are old enough to be punished with time out or withdraw of privilages. (Ie. watching TV or going on the computer or in the case of the four year old being sent to his room.) If they behave like this at a friends' house they will lose friends. it is vital that you punish them hard enough so that they are uttely sobbing. (I disagree with smacking or any kind of violence, but they need to know that there is hell to pay for such behaviour.)

I find it helps to keep toys in boxes and only allow a child to play with one at time. If they get out a toy without putting the first toy away then they should be punished. (Ie. naughty step for one minute of age) It is easier to prevent extreme bad behaviour if you clamp down on minor things. Putting away toys helps to prevent accidental breakages.

Rules have to be fairly enforced whatever your mood. A child should not be punished extra in anger or allowed to misbehave because you are too tired to carry out the sanction. The rules and what punishment will follow needs to be very clear so it does not come as a shock to the child when they lose TV/ Computer. Also it is vital that a child understand why they are punished.

CreatureRetorts Fri 16-Aug-13 18:59:47

it is vital that you punish them hard enough so that they are uttely sobbing


working9while5 Fri 16-Aug-13 19:08:37

Wtf!!!! They are 4 and 2. You need to supervise them more closely and lead by example. All the talking in the world will do nothing. Why do they need to be severely punished for not being supervised well? If you don't want them to destroy stuff while playing unsupervised or out of arms reach, give them sticks and cardboard boxes and straws and old junk to play with!

colditz Fri 16-Aug-13 19:11:28

Where were you? Where were you while a toddler and a preschooler ruined their toys? Where were you and what were you doing that was so important that you left two very small children so poorly supervised?

They aren't spoilt, they aren't properly watched. You should have been there to stop that happening.

My god ReallyTired. One toy at a time and punished until sobbing? Seriously?

ReallyTired Fri 16-Aug-13 20:56:58

"My god ReallyTired. One toy at a time and punished until sobbing? Seriously?"

Yup! There are times when it is necessary to enforce boundaries. Soppy parenting where parents aren't prepared to be parents leads to spoilt children who are distructive. In my experience passive parents often turn incredibly harsh when they try to get control back.

Not being prepared to listen to your child cry when life isn't as they want it leads to spoilt brats who have no consideration for others feelings or posessions.

The type of children whose parents will do anything to avoid a tantrum/ their child crying end up spoilt and ultimately unhappy. Happy children have boundaries and those boundaries gives them security. Sadly those boundaries have to enforced at times. Children who have never experienced any boundaries have a hard time at school.

If you want to avoid toys being broken, pieces going missing or your house looking like a bomb site then it is better for a child to play with one toy at a time. What is wrong with putting way toys when you are finished with them? It is teaching children to take care of their belongings and to be tidy.

CreatureRetorts Fri 16-Aug-13 21:08:14

Sorry ReallyTired but you sound a horrible parent.

My son knows not to do certain things - I didn't achieve that by putting the fear of god into him. Parenting isn't one of two extremes ffs.

PinkBiscuits Fri 16-Aug-13 21:15:24

I think that the overuse of punishment for little things is a recipe for anxiety and depression later in life.
Little children make mistakes, are boisterous and rough. Bit by bit they learn how to respect property etc (and get better co-ordinated) -at 4 they would be too young for the abstract concept.
Could they help you mend the shed or any other broken toys? Get involved with putting things away and being tidy? Could you help them learn to handle fragile things gently by, I don't know, playing egg and spoon races??! This way they absorb the ideas and the skills they need.
BTW, I don't think you are a terrible mother for not supervising them constantly, and I'm sure they are lovely, normal overactive boys!

Barbarashop Fri 16-Aug-13 21:15:35

That's a bit harsh creature. The op is doing her best and asking for advice.
Op, I think it's pretty normal behaviour for small children but I do understand your concerns. You mention The Rescuers - perhaps there are some other age-appropriate films/tv shows/ books you could look at with them which teach the values you want to instil.
Don't be too down-hearted - my boys have all gone through similar phases but they are lovely, thoughtful and appreciative as they have got older (7 and 11 now)
You are doing a good job. :-)

working9while5 Fri 16-Aug-13 21:15:47

Well hello Gradgrind. You are aware RT that this is a 4 and 2 year old? Get thee to the Victorian workhouse eh. Boundaries don't require cruelty or Dickensian wielding of the rod, be it physically or emotionally.

CreatureRetorts Fri 16-Aug-13 21:28:16

Barbarashop I wasn't talking to the OP.

TheCrackFox Fri 16-Aug-13 21:29:19

Do you have a garage or an attic? Maybe take half (or more) of their toys away and rotate them every month.

Please remember they are only little. If you punish them so much that they are sobbing it will be one of those things that you think about in 20yrs time and go white hot with shame.

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