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My ds is spoiled - is it too late?(20 Posts)
Ds is 5, he has 2 homes and splits his time between me and his fathers house, my exh.
He has a large family on both sides, plus both me and ex h are with other people now, and ds has contact with dps family and ex h gf family.
I've realized today how spoiled he has become. He had a ridiculous amount of presents for Xmas, 3 days worth, which he only showed minimal interest in.
Today he has woken up and demanded new toys. When I told him no and that he only had a lot of new toys last week, he said he doesn't like them because they are old now and he only plays with new toys.
I admit I struggle with this side of parenting which is probably how we've got to this point so I'm asking for advice, wwyd?
Is he old enough to get pocket money? So he can start to learn about having his own money and how quickly it goes if you just start buying what you want without thinking?
I would put at least half of his toys away and then rotate them. He has obviously got too much to appreciate and play with. I would also talks to him about how lucky he is to have so much.
You should lock a large portion of presents away and give sporadically.
I'm afraid I am quite a dramatic person so I would deal with that very swiftly by stating that that was marvellous, all of his new/old toys were taking up lots of space anyway and I know of lots and lots of children that would love playing with them. They would then get bundled into a bag and taken away.
Obviously I would then do as stated above and rotate them etc but I find a short sharp shock works really well when little kids are acting up. Particularly if they are saying they don't want something or won't do something, if you agree with them as take the thing away etc it's amazing how quickly they realise they didn't mean that.
In the future buy him fewer gifts and pop the solved money in a savings account for him.
I have a 5 year old. I would tell my DD in that scenario that there aren't any new toys coming until her birthday, but if she doesn't want the old toys any more that is great because there are lots of children whose families can't afford to buy lots of presents, and those children would love these nearly brand new 'old' toys. So maybe he should go and choose any he might actually still want to keep and you will package the rest up. He will probably find he actually wants to keep them which you allow on the proviso that he plays with them. There may be a few things you actually can give to charity which is a good lesson for him, he might enjoy taking them to the shop with you. Then I would send round an email or message thanking everyone for their kindness and generosity and adding that you have been reflecting how ds' situation has led to so many gifts he us in danger of losing his appreciation for each one, and asking respectfully that people scale back in future.
That's what I would do anyway!
I don't think he's 'spoiled' as much as confused about all the getting of presents. It's too much for him to make sense of. Each new thing has now become a sugar rush that fades quickly until the next fix...he hasn't had the opportunity to appreciate each item and pick favourites...it has just been an excess of stuff.
Why not take some of them away for now? Like just put them in a cupboard or something. Limit the choices. Quality not quantity and all that. Be blunt that Christmas is finished so that's his lot. Don't get into a debate.
Buy less next year.
Agree with everyone here, especially pictish - DS did this last year. Because we have extended family, who liked him to open presents when he visited, plus an August birthday, he'd pretty much been getting presents from summer through to January every few weeks, and it was just a bit of a shock for it all to stop!
This year he's a bit older, and we've asked people to go easy on the presents, and we've managed to keep it a bit more structured, so he's not gone present crazy.
Hide 1/2-3/4 of the presents (even now) and dribble them out over the year. Toy cycling is such a great tool to keep kids interested in what they already have.
This is partly why we told people to only get our DD 1 or 2 gifts.
We don't want her getting tons of 'stuff' as I feel it diminished the value of that 'stuff'.
This year she got 15 gifts of us and about 10 more from other family members. 25 gifts was more than enough for her and she loved each one.
Also, given the circumstances and his age, I think it's important to remember not to expect an adult evaluation from him...he's only 5. Genuine appreciation is quite a complex notion for a five year old being bombarded with gifts to grasp. What he knows is that he has been showered with gifts, what is rather more complicated to process is how he should feel about it. He has no context to go on, he's just a baby.
Ours had a horrendous amount at age 1 and 2. It was gross. I just stopped there are then. Dh and I get them one main present. They have lots of little bits from extended family. You've seen it now, so that's fine. Next year you won't do it.
I think all children are very spoilt these days and show little appreciation generally. What you can do, other than reigning it in, I have no idea.
He's only 5.
He's had a lot of toys over a few days, so I think it's natural to keep expecting more if he doesn't realise that it was a special occasion.
I'd just explain about Christmas and presents and that those toys are for the rest of the year. Maybe put them in different boxes for different weeks? And he could help sort out the toys.
Eventually, or now, think of giving some away.
He's only little and there is plenty of time to change this.
My strong advice would be not to swoop in and start being incredibly tough. He hasn't done anything wrong, he is just complacent because he knows no different. Just stop buying gratuitous stuff, start saying no calmly and consistently.
Consistent and rational nearly always work where good intentions and massive sudden change don't.
My DS is 4. My standard response to demands for new stuff is 'is it your birthday? Is it Christmas? Then what's your answer?' ;)
He is only little and this time of year makes the loveliest of children into grabby ungrateful goblins. Luckily for us, my dad's recently retired and so there was less spoiling from grandparents. No easy answers I'm afraid, a regular clear-out of toys to keep 'stuff' to a minimum and strictly no presents other than on birthday and Christmas would be my only suggestions.
'Simplicity Parenting', by Kim John Payne, is a lovely down to earth book with lots of practical advice for dealing with this sort of 'consumerism overload'.
I could have written your post word for word! I actually really worry about it, often. He is spoiled and ungrateful at times and I feel a bit at a loss as what to do about it.
I was so frustrated at Christmas. I got married earlier this year, and my new partners very lovey and generous family sent brilliant and expensive gifts- so generous that they outshone Santa's presents in fact . DS was so blasé about the whole thing that I promptly announced to him and my side of the family that next year, gifts will be strictly limited to one each- one from us, one from Santa, one from grandad etc. To my surprise, DS just shrugged and said 'OK, I got too many anyway'. Bless him. His birthday is in July and I intend to enforce the one gift rule then, too. It's a start! I'll re-emphasise to all that it's not a money/materialistic competition either, as his number one top pressie this Christmas has been a replacement Olaf outfit, £9!
He has got much better over the past three months, since I taught him about money. We opened a bank account at Metrobank, and once a month he takes his various pocketgmoneys (pounds here or there from us, bits and bobs from grandma etc) to the bank to pay it in with their fun machines. He has his own bank card and enjoys watching his balance grow. We've agreed I only buy him things on Sunday's- (sneaky of me cos we're often having family based days at home/grandparents) and if he wants something another time, he buys it. This has worked better than expected- he's taken wel to saying no to himself, because he doesn't want his balance to go under £100 etc, also because he wants to save up to buy a mermaid suit which costs £150! (He won't, don't flame me, I know they're dangerous and I know he will be over it by the time summer comes around).
Thanks for this thread, so nice to know I'm not alone.
Also, about 18 months ago I read 'Simplicity Parenting' and LOVED it. I try to live and buy very mindfully. We got rid of about 75% of his toys, and try to only keep things that stimulate him creatively. It encourages you to be ruthless!
The week before Christmas and birthdays we fill black bag after black bag up with unwanted toys though and take him to a local hospice to give them away- he does this happily, knowing some children have less than him (and safe in the knowledge new things will be coming his way). The fact we have so much to give away shows how easy it is to accumulate things though!
I also panicked a lot in the summer after he became super complacent about, imo, what should have been big days out- we got Merlin passes and so he would say 'I don't want to go to legoland AGAAAAIN' or while we were there insist on buying things and it always cost us a bomb. In September, after advice from mumsnetters, we declared Sunday's to be no-spend days (he is with his dad on Saturdays) and this has worked out a thousand times better than I'd hoped- we stay home, visit grandparents, go to the park, feed the ducks, go out for a long scoot, do crafts etc. It's really made me feel like a proper family instead of relying on expensive and over stimulating commercial things to entertain us. Two weeks ago my partner took him swimming on a Sunday as a treat, and for probably the first time, it felt like a TREAT! He actually got excited and savoured it instead of being totally blasé about it all.
I'm finding ATM that it's really hard to reign it in when the other family is so giving it just makes you look mean in comparison. If you and your ex are on the same page you have a real fighting chance to lower he's expectations.
I would say when my ds asks for something "next time it's time for a special present I will remember you love that toy" the following week he's dad/ granny would have bought him it. Fucks me off completely when he took the news well that a present is for a special occasion.
That sounds really stressful Rabbit. You're just going to have to keep persevering with the communication with them, maybe suggest doing one big shared present that everyone chips into?
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