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How to discipline young kids who lost hamster temporarily?

(9 Posts)
TimeforNIN Sun 28-Dec-14 13:57:36

My mother decided to buy the kids (5 and 7) a dwarf hamster for Christmas.
I'm not a pet lover, we had a kitten a few years ago and I gave it back to her after 3 days.

I have been a dog owner funnily enough, collie pup, and that was entirely different. She really was accepted as family. This was before I had children.

I've since been a lone parent and the thought of the extra responsibility with pets makes me panic.

Anyway, I already had discipline issues with my children, so coming down this morning to find they'd let it out by themselves whilst I was sleeping, cage contents all over the floors, and no hamster to be seen has left me so shocked I don't know how to punish this really.

It's consequently been found cowering in a corner.

They were sat down and expressly told, and fully explained why, they shouldn't touch it wothout me being there.
My style of discipline is that I'll tell them, the eldest girl sticks to the rules, amd the youngest just smirks. Today though, surprisingly, even she stepped over the line.

I often make false threats when disciplining, which is a key issue I suspect, so how, this time, do I appropriately impart the significance of what they have done this morning, to prevent a repeat?

I genuinely welcome your advice.
Thankyou

DropYourSword Sun 28-Dec-14 14:00:02

Don't make false threats. Get a cage that you can padlock closed so they can't open it without you there.

Blanketontheground Sun 28-Dec-14 14:02:24

Put the kids in the cage and give the hamster the xbox and the Christmas chocolates.

ProcrastinaRemNunc Sun 28-Dec-14 14:05:12

We have a multitude of pets. Those I don't wish to be let out, have locks on their cages/ vivariums (a boa constrictor, for example).

If your DC have had no small furries before, then they had not experienced the consequences of an escape. Now they have.

Were they afraid when their hamster seemed lost? Quite often, that in itself creates a lesson learned - no need for punishment.

Children learn a lot from having pets, responsibility being number one. It is the natural process of becoming a good owner but sometimes, they do learn the hard way.

If I felt seriously concerned for the pets wellbeing, I'd lock the cage. Otherwise, I'd give the DC room to learn.

Messygirl Sun 28-Dec-14 14:12:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

usefully Sun 28-Dec-14 14:13:41

Hide the hamster

Give them pate on toast for tea

Tell them they've eaten the hamster. As they couldn't look after it you decided you may as well make use of it in other ways.

somewheresomehow Sun 28-Dec-14 17:47:42

get a lock for the cage, and/or keep it in your room where you can keep it out of their reach
kids are curious and it may ultimately end with the poor hamster escaping and dying through the kids just wanting to play with it

judydoes Sun 28-Dec-14 17:52:09

Padlock the cage, definitely and quickly!

What breed is the hamster? A lot of dwarf hammies prefer companionship and will be miserable alone. sad

Starlightbright1 Sun 28-Dec-14 17:57:36

You know part your problem is empty threats. I follow my threats through so it means I have to be certain it is something I mean.

Were they bothered or worried they couldn't catch it. If they really haven't had pets it is a learning curve. Get a book. The library have plenty.

I agree with the lock thing too.

At 5 and 7 they should be able to make an attempt to clear up the mess they made from getting hamster out.

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