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What should I have done?

(6 Posts)
GreatDadinTraining Thu 05-Feb-09 12:30:30

2yr 9month old son, proudly showed me his lovely fantastic cardboard box creation of a train, with great decorations yesterday lunchtime, a creation with Mum that morning that took ages to make.
By Mid afternoon he was calmly pulling it apart, pulling all the decorations off, pulling all the foil off, starting to shred it. Not in a tantrum, just calmly dismantling it. A shame really as it was a great train!
I thought about the options when I saw him doing it....
1. Plead with him "don't ruin it, it took so much work to make it", Mummy will be upset etc
2. Ditto to above, but physically remove it from him, until he was in a more "constructive" mood!
3. Ask him what he was doing, make various general comments about what a nice train it was and how its a shame to pull it apart etc, but let him do it, if that's what he wanted to do.

I actually chose (3) which meant he trashed the entire train to a pulp (!), and he then helped me put the bits in the bin. I felt a bit bad about it (failure to respect property etc, being a permissive parent...), but figured that trying to instill guilt in him over the destruction would either not work, or be harmful etc etc.
Anyhow GreatDadInTraining loves nothing more than taking things apart himself given half a chance..!

Any thoughts from the assembled experts???

HSMM Thu 05-Feb-09 13:11:16

As long as he knows it's only his things he can trash, it's fine (I think). Shame though! (but were you going to keep it forever?) Maybe you could have taken a picture before he trashed it?

Hassled Thu 05-Feb-09 13:16:51

Actually I think in terms of learning that actions have consequences, you did the right thing. Maybe (unless this seems plain mean) refer to the great train he used to have, and how he doesn't have it anymore because he smashed it to a pulp - don't let him just forget all about it immedietely. I'm not saying make him feel guilty, just gently remind him that because he did X, he no longer has Y. He's at that age where they're only just starting to work out that they're actions can have quite significant effects.

Hassled Thu 05-Feb-09 13:17:07

their actions

GreatDadinTraining Thu 05-Feb-09 14:11:01

Thank you!
It is tricky isn't it, balancing the "guilt-trip" v "responsibility" thing!
I think we'll re-use the box to make a new one and see what happens!

MmeLindt Thu 05-Feb-09 14:14:40

Perhaps you could reuse the box to make something different, a rocket or a car. Teach him about recycling while you are at it

I think that you did the right thing. Some children like dismantelling things to see how they are put together.

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