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Have I been too hard on 5yo DD1, it's breaking my heart seeing her so upset.

(86 Posts)
sweetkitty Fri 11-Sep-09 11:10:43

DD1 is 5yo just started school a few weeks back.

Anyway she has always had this habit of biting and chewing things, in the past it was books, paper, pencil, chalk, crayons, Barbie's fingers you get the drift. She will put anything non food in her mouth and eat it, the day before yesterday she was doing her homework and bit the end of the rubber off and was eating it.

On top of this I feel she does not take care of her toys, she breaks and wrecks things and shows no remorse, probably as she has loads of other toys.

Anyway she gets £1 a week pocket money which she saves up for what she wants, she has been going on about this little Bratz baby for ages so I got it off the internet for her. So yesterday it arrived and she was delighted. Then I looked out the window and she is throwing this new doll and her other ones down the street so I called her in and took teh dolls off her then realised the hair bit at the tops of them both was all chewed off (she had had it for about an hour). I was livid with her so I got all her other Bratz and put them in a black bag and put them in the wheelie bin, I told her that if she cannot look after her toys she won't have any toys and that Santa was watching and wouldn't br bringing her any toys for Christmas.

She was distraught at the time and in bed last night, ths morning when she got up she was crying a lot saying she wanted her Bratz back and I could see her eyes filling up all the time.

Now I feel totally crap, I have retrieved the Bratz from the bin and hidden them and I am not going to give her them back for a month at least but I feel like crap Mum now.

Was I too hard on her, I am so fed up with buying things and her chewing them.

kormachameleon Fri 11-Sep-09 11:16:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donnaw25 Fri 11-Sep-09 11:18:24

Firstly you are not a crap Mum! I think perhaps if I had have been in your position, I would have taken the new one off her only and then seen how she was with her remaining ones before taking them away also. However, you are her Mum and therefore you set the rules. Stick to your guns and see how things pan out. It may be that you don't need to keep them hidden for a month ... try just 5 days (a day for each year of her age), then give them back. If she chews them, take them away for 10 days, then 15 and so on.

Remember our little ones like to test us on a daily basis. It's all a part of them learning the boundaries. She won't hold it against you for long and will in the longterm thank you for what you did when she has toys that are nice to hold and not all chewed!!

Oooh frustrating when they do stuff like this, my personal bugbear is when they knacker expensive clothes, but it's entirely my fault for puting them in them.

You have to learn to bite your tounge I'm afraid whilst gently trying to teach good habits.

I think you need to return them and apologize.

Tortington Fri 11-Sep-09 11:20:40

yes you are and it was a really shitty thing to do.

what was she doing down the street aged 5 - did i read that right?

mrsruffallo Fri 11-Sep-09 11:24:10

I think you have overreacted. I know it is frustrating when dc have a habit like this but the outcome is that her dolls will have teeth marks. If she complains about this then that is the time to explain why you ask her not to put things in her mouth.

Apart from that I don't see what there is to get so angry about. She saved up for her doll, so she is learning about the value of things. I think you should have the dolls back in the bedroom when she gets home from school and explain her to her that father christmas will be coming.

pasturesnew Fri 11-Sep-09 11:29:49

See what happens, I think - you've done it now and it might actually work so don't go back on yourself too quickly!

DB and I vividly remember our mum getting cross along similar lines when we were throwing our felt tips out of our window, she felt terrible due to our reactions but it worked and we stopped doing it! And we still love her so no harm done, surely?

etchasketch Fri 11-Sep-09 11:37:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donnaw25 Fri 11-Sep-09 11:37:24

Pasturesnew, that's exactly what I think.

What is done is done and if you go back on it, you are giving off conflicting signals and she won't know if what she did is acceptable or not. I don't think the dolls should be kept away for a month though. But that's just my opinion, she is your child and you know how she reacted to the situation x

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 11-Sep-09 11:37:57

Yes, you went way way over the top - no warning, no discussion before hand and then taking away everything, telling her Santa is involved now too???? By golly you must have been angry at her - no wonder she is upset! Add to that the fact that, everytime she does anything ever again she is going to be terrified that hurricane mummy is going to hit shock

Parents get things wrong - and children need to know that, you got this wrong and she should know that. Sit her down and explain to her why you were angry, let her know that it makes you sad and cross that she breaks things but also tell her that you should never have behaved the way you did and that you are sorry. Tell her you are going to let her earn the toys back by not chewing so every day where she manages not to chew and break something you will give her back one of the bratz or set of bratz bits.

Also assure her that you will do your best never to blow up like that again - I should imagine her trust in you has taken a serious knock right now and she is as much upset about that as anything else - you need to earn that back.

BEAUTlFUL Fri 11-Sep-09 11:42:00

I think you were too harsh, as you gave her 4 different punishments for one offense:
1. Taking toys off her;
2. Throwing them away (in her eyes at least);
3. Telling her she wouldn't have any more toys, and then:
4. Telling her the bit about Father Christmas.

sad I'd give her the older toys back tonight and tell her that if she can refrain from chewing them over the weekend, she can have the Bratz one back on Monday.

OR... approach this in a different way. Give her the toys back then help her make clothes for them, together. When looking at the dolls say something like, "Oh, it's sad that this doll has chewed hair when her new clothes look so smart," etc. Make her feel ride towards how her toys look, so she'll be less likely to gnaw on them.

I realise it must be frustrating to see her eating the World, but these are her toys and at the end of the day, she's the one who is wrecking them. My DS1 is destructive towards his toys sometimes but I don't punish him, if he breaks one, it's broken and I don't replace it. The crime then becomes its own punishment, if you see what I mean.

Tortington Fri 11-Sep-09 11:44:36

i remember that i used to lay out my sindy stuff [gimmer emoticon] under the coffee table which had lik a cross shaped foot at the bottom iykwim. i explain becuase this was in my head 4 rooms. and was better than playing in my bedroom.

as my mother was a widow she never spent ny money on anything useless - and my sindy stuff was got from a jumble sale from my nan and i loved it so much becuase my friend had a sindy.

one day i came home from school - and my mum binned the lot and screamed at me for leaving it under the talbe in the living room.

i was very upset. toys retrieved from bin, my sindy wardrobe was broken sad

but an explaination that this shit stays with you

and if you take nothing else from this thread - remember - everything you do creates memories for those kids and when they are older it will kick you in the teeth

pellmell Fri 11-Sep-09 11:47:19

So many saints on one forum wink

Sweetkitty, you lost the plot a bit and I'm sure you have done the warnings thing over and over.......
A calm talk to her about how to value things and each other will make both of you feel better.
I wonder if anyone can give any advice about the chewing?

sweetkitty Fri 11-Sep-09 11:47:50

Now I feel evern more shitty.

In my defence this happens a lot, once or twice a week, we have been through it all before that Daddy has to go out to work to buy us nice things and that he works really hard and if things get broken we cnanot replace them. I have sat with her and "played" Bratz with her, told her I had Barbies when I was little and shown her that I looked after mine, combed their hair dressed them nice etc.

She has had many warnings time and time again and she will actually come and say I have chewed this Barbie's hand, I don't want it play with it anymore, can I put it in the bin?

If I had simply taken the new one off her she would have gone inside and got another one.

custardo - my rubbish explanation, she was playing in front on our house ,a very quiet cul de sac and was in my full view all the time, as I was sitting on the front step watching her.

I think I am just out of ideas, we have tried everything yet she still chews things probably daily. I was using the Santa thing as an example of children who break toys do not get more toys to break.

BEAUTlFUL Fri 11-Sep-09 11:50:38

I hope I don't sound like I think I'm a loftily perfect mother. I'm not. I have kicked off like this before.

mrsruffallo Fri 11-Sep-09 11:51:56

I don't think that anyone is claiming to be a saint, pellmell. SweetKitty has been rather harsh I feel and the responses reflect that

pellmell Fri 11-Sep-09 11:52:21

but custy, isn't it also the case that many Mumsnetters recount examples of over the top punishments with humour and reason that it had done the trick?

mrsruffallo Fri 11-Sep-09 11:54:53

SweetKitty- I think if she does say that she doesn't want tp lay with the Barbie because it has a chewed hand then take it from her and don't replace it. Explain why.
I am sorry you feel shitty. I am sure this was a one off

morningpaper Fri 11-Sep-09 11:55:01

Hmm, annoying habit. I don't blame you for losing your rag AT ALL.

I would say to her, look, I lost my patience and I'm sorry about that but you need to stop wrecking your nice things.

What about some new rules: No toys outside. Any toys you see her chewing, put some of that clear, vile-tasting anti-nail-biting paint on and confiscate it for an hour while it dries properly.

I would also say that if she is breaking stuff regularly then just don't buy new toys at all.

haggisaggis Fri 11-Sep-09 11:55:17

I've got to say that I don't worry too much if they break toys - after all they are THEIR toys - particularly in this case since she had actually paid for it herself! However, that doesn't mean that I then immedietely replace thebroken toys - they need to wait until another toy buying occasion (Christmas, birthday etc) comes about.
I do bin toys left lying around though (after several warnings).

PortAndLemon Fri 11-Sep-09 11:56:07

The chewing is possibly a compulsive habit, like hair-sucking or nail-biting, which she finds very difficult to break. I would probably institute a "no new dolls until you can show that you've stopped chewing the ones you've got" rule and ensure that future toys were of the impervious-to-chewing type until she'd got past this phase.

As an off-the-wall suggestion, how do you feel about chewing gum? I really don't like it at all (have what borders on a chewing gum phobia) but if you are less neurotic than me it occurs to me that if your DD had something like that to chew on while playing then it might reduce the chances of her unthinkingly chewing on other objects.

largeginandtonic Fri 11-Sep-09 11:59:59

I would probably have taken them all away too. Maybe thrown very broken one's in the bin.

I routinely say to mine 'clean up your rooms, if you don't i will be in there with a bin bag'

I have done it before and no doubt will do it again.

It drives me insane that they have all these lovely toys and don't look after them!

Don't feel too bad. I would probably say to her she can have them back if she behaves and looks after her other toys for a while.

saintmaybe Fri 11-Sep-09 12:00:31

It's a habit, though, it's not naughtiness. Habits are really hard to break, and they're often stress related, so I think putting the fear into her's likely to be counterproductive.

Have you ever found yourself doing something you wanted to stop but really struggled with? What would have helped you?

Things are getting damaged but they're just things (her things too). There's already a consequence; her things are chewed, and you're not rushing to replace them. I think she's likely to grow out of it much faster if she's not scared/ hating herself/ doubting the love of you and Father Christmas.

You don't understand her reason for chewing, doesn't mean she hasn't got a reason.

And be gentle on yourself too. Try not to stress about her toys being less than perfect, let her deal with that and you just take care of her and yourself.

RumourOfAHurricane Fri 11-Sep-09 12:02:39

Message withdrawn

sweetkitty Fri 11-Sep-09 12:05:01

I suppose it is just frustration on my part as I have done everything I can think of to stop this chewing/biting/eating thing, she chews her clothes, she chews her sisters toys, she eats the cardboard inners from the toilet roll. I find bites of half eaten paper and things down the side of her bed. She refuses to eat a lot of food but will chew on chalk, I have told her practically every day that only food and drink goes in your mouth and if you eat anything that is not food and drink you could make yourself ill. We have talked about chewed toys and that she is sad when they are all chewed and doesn't want to play with them. She also bites her nails and chews her fingers.

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