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Book tearing toddler - exasperated mother seeks advice!

(15 Posts)
Nonicknamesleft Sat 20-Sep-08 11:06:37

For several months now, my daughter has been tearing pages in books. It's weird because she absolutely loves books and reading, and seems to do this tearing thing quite randomly and suddenly. I've had to stop using the libary as it became too expensive to keep replacing stuff, and we can no longer leave books in her cot at night which she loves having. It's reached a stage that only board books can be left lying around.

She appears to understand that it's wrong, but won't stop. We hoped she'd grow out of it but it's been going on for a while, and can be quite upsetting because she does it to lovely things that have been given as presents, as well as more easily replaced things.

Has anyone else had to deal with this problem? How do I stop her doing it without refusing to let her have books? She's two years old and capable of conversation.

CarGirl Sat 20-Sep-08 11:10:15

My dd was like this, she has grown 99% out of it now she is just 3. I think that the love of the sound/senation of tearing paper is more tempting than the internal police of stopping herself because it is naughty?

MuffinMclay Sat 20-Sep-08 17:40:01

Ds1 went through a phase of this. We stopped using the library and I hid those of his books that I liked best and/or those which were presents (brought them out for story times).

I'm not convinced you can stop it. Can you give her other stuff to rip - old magazines etc?

Nonicknamesleft Sat 20-Sep-08 18:23:18

I'm sure you're right and that stopping it isn't possible. How long did yours last? She also has plenty of magazines etc to massacre although irritatingly, seems less interested in doing so than with books.

Sawyer64 Sat 20-Sep-08 18:26:55

My DS and DD's did this,DD2 still does.

Have to put all normal books on a high shelf, and only buy/give her Board Books for a while.They soon become more interested in the stories than ripping IME.

Nonicknamesleft Sat 20-Sep-08 18:29:20

Just spotted Muffin McLay - excellent! We've been reading about you again quite a lot recently due to aforementioned prob.

roisin Sat 20-Sep-08 18:30:56

It sounds as though she's still very young.

We have a house full of books, some of which are very valuable, and it was crucial to us that the boys grew up respecting books.

They were allowed to 'play' with board books or cloth books when they were tiny, but more vulnerable books - and certainly library books - would be for looking at together with an adult only.

If you started doing this and she tore a book whilst looking at it with you, then you should instantly put the books away and put on your disappointed voice, then she will soon get the message.

Toddlers are surrounded with unbreakable toys and it isn't fair to present her with books in with that mix, and expect her to understand that they are a different category and need to be treated differently. You need to teach that to her by example.

jimmyjammys Sun 21-Sep-08 21:29:31

DS does this, he ripped up a lovely pop up book this week. I just give him old magazines to get it out of his system - the Argos catalogue is a good one - takes a while for them to get through that.

buy some knackered looking books from the charity shop
after a while they will be unrepairable, and she will start to get the message
and I find I you might find you care less about knackered books getting ripped and sellotaped together.

theITgirl Sun 21-Sep-08 21:57:38

I had the same problem with my DD but she was a bit older when I went for the drastic treatment. I would take her to the rubbish bin so she could watch me 'throw the book away'. This would mean floods of tears, but I would cuddle her and explain that because she had ripped the story out, the book had to be thrown away. It did work and actually we did not have to throw that many books away.
BUT do make sure that the books with sentimental associations are kept well away during this phase or kept out of her bedroom to be only read with an adult, as otherewise it will be too painful for you as well.

merryandmad Sun 21-Sep-08 22:11:29

Did you have to pay for the torn libary books? At our library, if the book is taken out on the childs ticket, we don't get charged for damages (or late fines), like you would on an adult ticket. It is such a shame to stop using the library for this reason. The more contact they have with books, the better and more respect they pay them.

Lalisa Mon 22-Sep-08 19:52:39

Agree with Fabio - get cheap charity shop books and lots of sellotape. Also lots of fabric books. Save the nice books for you to read to her and not for her to have on her own. DD was just like this around 18-36mo dont remember exactly, but she did get over it!

TheDevilWearsPrimark Mon 22-Sep-08 19:55:02

Oh yes, both of mine did it.

We kept any special books, or books that are gifts out of reach and they could only have them supervised.

Then bought loads from charity shops etc for in their room. Plastic/ fabric books were good for taking to bed.

Nonicknamesleft Fri 26-Sep-08 16:10:28

Thanks for the advice! Will try charity shops and theatrical disposal of wrecked books until it passes.

WriggleJiggle Sat 27-Sep-08 19:19:36

dd went through this stage. It didn't last long - about 3 months possibly. Suddenly it started happening, then all over a sudden it stopped. No logic to it at all!

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