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Why does my family buy my children sort of dangerous presents?

(63 Posts)
Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:38:36

I'm not complaining as such. I love my family, and they are brilliant and very kind.

I just don't quite understand it and am wondering if it's an effort to give them something they feel I don't provide iyswim.

But I do feel a bit odd about it.

It started when ds1 was about 2 and my sister bought him a very fragile, thin glass lightbulb thing that you plug into the mains and touch it and it shoots little lightning sparks towards your fingers on the bulb.

Lovely - but lethal for a 2yo. I did let him use it very carefully with supervision, and then put it safely in a cupboard till it got smashed into tiny bits one day (not safety glass)

I mean it was beautiful but.

Then there was a proper penknife last year (he was 9) which was Ok and lovely but he is quite reckless and needed to be supervised with it, which I don't have a lot of time for.

Now my parents have given him a survival tool, sort of a Ray Mears type thing I guess - they did ring me from the shop to ask if it was Ok, but said it is a survival tool with a firestarting device, like a spark maker thing.

I hummed and harred and said Ok. They had kind of underdescribed it though - the firestarter is a mASSIVE spark, really unsafe in the house, and it also has on the other edge (credit card type size thing) a knife edge which is described as 'razor sharp'.

I keep thinking about it going hmm

I mean they adore ds. It's just - I have to keep it, because he cannot be trusted with something like that. He is a little boy. It says on it 'not a toy, very dangerous' etc etc.

Maybe they think I need to spend more time with him? Probably I do - but there are other ways of enabling this surely.

He does love it but hmm..and then there were the super strength magnets that have a massive warning on about not letting them near your electronic equipment.

He has never had those in his possession because it would be costly to replace the computer, TV and DVD player I think. He was about 4 when he was given those.

There have been other things as well but I can't remember them all.

What are they trying to do here?

BaronessBomburst Thu 02-Jan-14 13:42:12

Not the reaction you were looking for, but I'm nearly crying with laughter at their choice of gifts. grin

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:43:46

Oh no that is fine - I wasn't sure if I was overreacting! grin

QuietNinjaTardis Thu 02-Jan-14 13:45:09

I'm worried bil is starting off like this, he got ds who's 4 an iron man gauntlet which shoots out rubber discs and a nerf gun which has for ages 8+ on the box. I'm not really impressed. Bil was so pleased with himself. The plum.

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:46:03

Oh God the nerf guns. Tell me about it. Though at least they are intended for children iyswim

The rest of the stuff seems to be aimed at maiming someone.

PedlarsSpanner Thu 02-Jan-14 13:47:53


get him into scouts, they teach how to handle knives, how to whittle, woods-lore stuff, firestarting safely, make a bivvy from boughs blah blah

tis marv

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:47:54

Though thinking about it they perhaps just are picking up on ds being 'that sort of boy' and they think it is cute that he is half hound, half samurai, and half barbarian, and they want to encourage a healthy sense of self esteem in him.

Meanwhile I spend my days trying to crush it. Oh God.

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:48:28

Scouts would be EPIC. Thankyou. He would adore all that.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 02-Jan-14 13:49:07

Why oh why did you think a firestarter would be ok?! It didn't matter how big you imagined the spark to be, when would it ever be ok for a 9yr old to be starting fires? Is he massively into Scouting or wilderness survival?

PedlarsSpanner Thu 02-Jan-14 13:49:39

and the BEST thing is: you don't have to watch, with fingers laced over eyes, biting lip. Brill for nervous mamas, being one mysen, y'see grin

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-Jan-14 13:51:00

It all sounds like they're choosing stuff based on some kind of bizarre 'Boys Own', 'Swallows and Amazons', 'Huckleberry Finn' fantasy where small kids plunge into the woods with lashings of ginger beer and a quarter of bullseyes.

RhondaJean Thu 02-Jan-14 13:51:08

Have you never read swallows and amazons?

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:51:20

Shatners I agreed to it because they said they would help him with it, understated how lethal it was (not for children bit not mentioned) and I'd already said no to the laser pointer for my 6yo, so felt pressured.

They already think I am overprotective.
I have confiscated it.

vestandknickers Thu 02-Jan-14 13:51:35

I'm sorry, but grin

Your family sound lovely if slightly bonkers. Maybe next year he could have some sort of venomous snake?

LynetteScavo Thu 02-Jan-14 13:53:43

So they haven't given the giant kite which will carry your child off into the distance yet...or roller skates for the 2yo? Or the catapult?

I promise you, these gift are yet to come.

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:53:51

yy Cog that's it. They get the romanticised version. I get the mud all over him, mud all over the kitchen, injured ds2, fingers cut off, 'Oh sorry mmu I may have broken your rotary hoist while playing last week.

And by the way I have burned down the chicken shed but it's Ok.'

AskBasil Thu 02-Jan-14 13:54:37


Are you a single parent? Maybe this is their way of over-compensating for him not having his dad live in the house?

Or do they think your DP is a wimp and won't provide the role model they think right?

Or maybe they're just mental?


Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:54:51

He's like molesworth. Ds2 is fotherington Thomas. Ds3 is a purple minion.

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 13:55:27

Think it's a bit of both, Ask grin

I am sure some compensation is going on tbh.

meerschweinchen Thu 02-Jan-14 13:59:35

I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh...but I can't help it! And I thought my family was bad enough for buying all the 'noisy' toys. Yours have taken it to a whole new level! grin

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 14:02:01

Also, get this, they came to see us last weekend and my Dad went out to the end of the garden with ds to test it out.

They could not make it set fire to anything as it was all wet from the rain. They tried to start the bonfire with it. It wouldn't.

I wandered up there after about an hour and reluctantly suggested, in the spirit of the adventure, that they try adding a teeny amount of say, paraffin or lamp oil, to a bundle of leaves etc and then using the spark very carefully.

Dad disappeared to my cellar and reappeared about 20 minutes later carrying a bottle of camping gaz hmmhmm and some spray on silicon lubricant. hmm

I took the camping gaz from him immediately.
He then proceeded to dance around the (now lit, using something known as matches) fire spraying at it in the manner of someone rather enjoying himself, until I took that away too.

I conclude they're just a bit mental.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-Jan-14 14:02:52

Surname Addams?.....

ShatnersBassoon Thu 02-Jan-14 14:03:37

It must be part of your parents' zombie apocalypse plan. It will be an axe apiece for birthdays, tinned goods for Easter and mini off-roaders for next Christmas.

legoplayingmumsunite Thu 02-Jan-14 14:10:57

Oh the unsuitable gift. The ILs are great ones for that and SIL in particular lives abroad and comes home with presents for the kids that would not be allowed to be sold in the UK because of the risks of strangulation, cuts and maiming. They are all very delicate as well so we let the kids play with them until they break and then we put them in the bin.

MadameBigToes Thu 02-Jan-14 14:15:38

My family do this, though not so much deliberately dangerous as just daft and inappropriate. My mum always gets things from Greek markets on holiday, or dodgy market stalls, which she thinks must be lovely and wonderful because "the man was so nice" hmm

Things like little wooden automaton toys that jiggle about until they fall apart revealing a lethal metal spike. Or the beautiful, handmade from real (probably illegal) bird feathers, little clockwork bird in an incredibly delicate bamboo cage that dances and tweets when you wind it up. For DS when he was, yes, 2yo. Yes, it's amazing, but a 2yo will want to grab it OBVIOUSLY whereupon it will splinter into a thousand tiny sharp bamboo and steel parts. And many other toys that are either dangerous because they've been made in a completely unregulated way, or are so breakable they can't be played with, or are just so shit they lead to tears (yes huge star wars spaceship of dodgy provenance from my sister that doesn't fit together properly and has nasty sharp internal plastic bits, I'm looking at you).

I think my family do it because they want to be the oh-so-exciting and interesting granny/auntie that gives you stuff that boring old parents wouldn't. They get it horrendously wrong in the process but as long as they feel smug they're happy.

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