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Need advice.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Since I have posted in here from time to time, maybe I should tell you a little about myself before I get to my problem. I am a SAHM with one 2 year old son. I have been researching waldorf a bit and I like the feeling of nature, seasons, celebrations, rhythm, simplicity, creativity and imagination. My son won't be going to Waldorf school though. I will most likely homeschool him by fusing a few different methods including what I like about waldorf. I went through a couple months of being ill and overwhelmed recently but, I am slowly trying to make my home more peaceful with guidence of books like heaven on earth. Because of all of this, I decided that this was the best place to ask for help with my current situation which is:

I'm not opposed to a *few* character items such as stickers, a few books...that sort of thing. I feel like if I forbid them, they will be all that more appealling and I feel it's the movies and shows that are the worst. However, I said a *few*. I find that they limit the imagination and are just plain ugly/offensive. So, how do I convey this in a way that doesn't sound rude, ungrateful or judgemental to relatives who are bent on everything being about Cars, Toy Story, Thomas? Grandma asked for some gift ideas for Christmas. One thing I wanted for my ds was a plain little table and chair set. Ok well, she found one that is "Cars" themed all the way from the top down to the bottom. Another thing I wanted was a indoor play tent with tunnel. She found one that was again, "Cars" themed and looks like a mack truck. Up until now, I will say thank you and let son play with them for a week or 2. Then I pack them away....saving them in case relatives come. Some have mysteriously ended up "broken". It's gotten to far though and I don't want to continue to do that. I also know ds will notice when he gets older. Next - Not, only that but, any time we go anywhere together any of these themes are pointed out repeatedly by Grandma. "LOOK! Lightning McQueen! Tow Mater! Buzz Light Year! Woody" AHHHHHHH! Now ds is pointing them out as well. And it's not just her either...she's just the person we are around the most. How can I handle this?
Thank you!
post #2 of 20
Looking forward to hearing from others, think our mom's must be the same person!
post #3 of 20



We had this issue, too. It was resolved, but sort of indirectly.

I know part of it was my buying really really nurturing, well-written books and reading them around gma (not pre-meditated, it just happened, but if I'd thought it would make a dif, it WOULD have been well schemed, c: ) Now, my mom may be gaga over what she thinks of as kid-friendly stuff, but she does know truly breathtakingly good literature when she hears it. I guess before that she may not have thought kids would like good literature, and needed only the glitzy gauche entertainment. Shortly after hearing "You Are My I Love You," "Child of Faerie, Child of Earth" and "A Child's Garden of Verses" she bought DS1 the original Bambi book (reall really good in comparison to the Disney film- or the books based on the Disney film). Shortly after that he recieved "The American Boys' Handy Book."

Another part was just cutting off the "buy-my-affection" relatives wholesale by limiting each child to exactly ONE toy per bday or holiday. Not one from each person. One total. This makes them stop and think and get creative and resist the urge to buy something plastic and yuck. If gpa already bought that cool wooden train set, then gma may take the child for cocoa and viewing lights, and aunty may take her ice skating (for example). Any book that is deemed homeschool book report worthy (not character books, generally) and any games or clothes do not count as the one gift-- they can recieve any number of high quality, imagination, critical thinking boosting items The best part is the side effect is more time spent building great memories, and less money is spent cluttering up my home with dumpster fodder.
post #4 of 20
In my experience you can say one time, very nicely, "We are trying to avoid toys with licensed characters for ds. That means we'd prefer nothing associated with movies or TV. It would mean a lot to us if you would respect this wish."

Once you've stated your family's position on these things, your relatives will either respect it or they won't. If they do, great. If they don't, feel free to get rid of the stuff.
post #5 of 20
We had this issue in the very beginning. The thing that helped a ton was to create a Kaboodle "christmas/birthday" list of toys, clothes, etc. that we wanted/needed for our little one. This way the relatives could easily see what we prefer she have for Holiday gifts and what stores we liked, etc.
Both Grandparents really seem to get it and have stuck to buying things off the list for the past two years.
post #6 of 20
Some strategies I've heard of working well:

Limiting toys to one per child either per giftgiving, or per holiday. So, gma can buy one toy of whatever she wants for Christmas but just one. Tends to produce nicer toys and/or if it is branded, limits to one. Or limiting one gift (usually larger, like a dollhouse, and invite people to contribute if they'd like to)

Books only

Have a wish list available/Sign up gma for catalogs you like/ do a lot of/talk a lot about decluttering / reorganize toys and but the nasty things away or donate them

Just state that DS does not watch tv or watches one hour a day and he is too young for licensed products

Have DH "handle"

Have the gparent "own" a category like play kitchen or trains with a lot of accessories; let them add to that
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 


Thanks! Those are some good ideas.....although, I'm not sure how a one toy limit would go over. Your list giving ideas gave me an idea. Could you tell me if it is rude and if it could work? Instead of saying like an indoor tent for example, we could list a few indoor tents we like and they could choose from those?
post #8 of 20
I think it is okay to be a little bit more specific about what you want. Instead of "We would love a table and chairs" you can insert the word 'wooden', and maybe you can talk about keeping things neutral in case you have a girl next.
post #9 of 20
Actually, we have never said we forbid those types of toys, but we don't buy them and we don't bother with Disney movies, so the kids have never asked for them. We actually have Disney movies and would not really object, but I think because we never pushed it with the kids and have never just popped in one of those movies, they don't bother with them. I don't like character toys, except Thomas, we have lots of Thomas. I like more basic and open ended stuff.
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by mermaidmama View Post
Thanks! Those are some good ideas.....although, I'm not sure how a one toy limit would go over. Your list giving ideas gave me an idea. Could you tell me if it is rude and if it could work? Instead of saying like an indoor tent for example, we could list a few indoor tents we like and they could choose from those?
On Kaboodle you choose exactly what you want, from whatever store you want (online) and add it to the list. So the list can be made up of exactly the products you want from many different stores- even Etsy.
It's REALLY easy to use.
PM me if you'd like to look at our list just to give you an example.
post #11 of 20
well, i love annette marie's suggestion about the holidays--each person get 4 items:

something you want
something you need
something to wear
and something to read

when i explained this to my family, they really liked the idea, and so they try to send him one of each thing. and, i usually tell them what that should be. as i live in NZ, i am very specific about what i need, how much space i have, and so on. also, it's a long way to ship things.

aside from that, i ask for opportunities. We go to a playgroup that is waldorf based. it costs $25 per week and runs 10 weeks. that is very expensive for us (we could swing it when i twas $15, but at $25, it's just too much). so, my parents pay for it--we only asked for the difference (the $10 extra each week--or $100), but they opted to pay for the whole thing.

this really helps us out a lot, and it is something on going that DS loves. each week, DS skypes with them and tells them all about his week at play group and how great it is (in so far as a two year old can). so, they get the lasting joy of him doing what they pay for!

from there, i like to keep it simple as i can. i actually have not purchased a gift for my son for his birthday or christmas because everoyne else does. i'm fine with this, honestly, but i know others aren't. you just have to find the right balance for you.
post #12 of 20
I think that if people ask you for suggestions of what to give, it's fine to be as general or specific as you want. Volunteering that information unasked is tacky and rude.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 


Zinemama- I don't tell what we'd like unless asked

Zoebird- I really like that suggestion of 4 things. Thanks so much! I think that they would be happier with this than saying only one gift.

Mama2elia- Oh okay! I thought when you said "Kaboodle" you were using it as a term...not a site. I went and looked at it. It's pretty cool. I have used something like that in the past called "wists".

Thanks again everyone
post #14 of 20
personally, i do not find it tacky or rude to be upfront with family. with random strangers, acquaintences, friends, and distant relatives--yeah, no need to be clear. likely, they aren't buying or giving your kid that much stuff anyway. but with people who will be buying a lot of things throughout the year for the kid--yeah, definitely speak up.

the reason for me is because it is rude not to. they spend their money, it frustrates you, you donate it. it doesn't *build* the relationship.

my family shows love through objects. i show (and receive) love via experiences. that's my love language. before i spoke up about my needs, it was very hard on me and built a lot of resentment. I actually *hated* the holidays because i had to fake being excited about a lot of gifts that i didn't want or care about, then come home and either find a home for them or immediately pass them on to someone else (charity, friends, whatever--just out of my house). The only people getting any joy out of the gifting were the givers, and it wasn't a win-win.

i believe in creating win-win experiences within family.

when i was upfront with my family about my needs regarding my child and the lifestyle that i want to create for my family, i was clear that i understood their desire to buy objects as an expression of love. I told them that i wasn't trying to reject their love, but instead be clear about how they can express their love in ways that also meets my needs.

Random objects do not meet my needs, they only serve to frustrate me. and they frustrate me because the money that they want to spend on me--to express love--could be better spent! it needn't go to landfill, to friends, or to the charity shop--i could actually USE some things, and quite frankly, use the money to pay for those experiences that we can't afford ourselves.

this creates an opportunity for them to show love via money/buying, and for us to be able to truly receive it with gratitude because it is what we want or need.

i see no reason to NOT communicate clearly with my mother simple because i'm trying to be "polite" to her, when being "polite" wastes her hard-earned money and frustrates the crap out of me. Our relationship is better served by being honest, clear, and direct.

and, it works. my mother gets to buy things for her grandson that he gets to truly enjoy, and i get the things for my son that i feel he needs, when i can't afford it myself.
post #15 of 20
Just wanted to add that my mom buys all kinds of dorky things sometimes for my daughter, who is 9. Mom's heart is in the right place.

She once bought my dd pants with something written on the "bottom." Now WHY would a little girl ever wear clothes that draw attention to her BOTTOM??!

Recently, Mom tried to buy her doll that I did not forbid (I rarely do that.) I did talk to DD about the doll's clothes, though, and what wearing clothes like that might say about a person. My mom told me that DD actually said, "Mimmie, we shouldn't buy that. Look at her clothes! What if she bent over in that skirt!"

DD used excellent judgement and now Mom is more thoughtful about gifts- and I didn't have to say anything!
post #16 of 20
there are certain toys that we just do not keep- we just tell family- nothing plastic & made in china or with batteries for the littles that mouth their toys.

my dd1 is 5 so she chooses her toys... but even she knows about plastic being toxic and cheap toys having lead.

really, its a safety issue as well as a waldorf principle. children shouldnt be mouthing and/or surrounded by cheap plastic.

we also talk openly with family about it. most of them stick to dolls/stuffed toys and wood.

they will ship the occasional disney related item and we deal with it on a case by case basis. somethings that are open ended and not blinky/shiny/loud we keep.

but we do not keep clothes with licensed characters though.... unless its a vintage type character that we all like... but not disney princess/dora type stuffand i would absolutely tell my inlaws that i would not be keeping a "cars" themed table and chairs.

its just too overstimulating....
post #17 of 20

I should have mentioned safety is very good talking point. I can't believe I forgot that because it is my primary talking point with my family. I use an amazon wish list and you can include gifts from anywhere.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 


JudiAU- Yes, saftey is a good point. I used to talk about it all the time when ds was a baby and still mouthing things. My family's take on it is that I am overprotective and raising my son in a bubble. They go between being amused and rolling their eyes. My sister laughs and tells people that "she only likes "organic" toys" I find it hurt me and so I stopped talking about it and now we have all this junk. I don't think that wanting toys that stimulate the imagination and are good for the earth...or food that is healthy, is overprotective.

Tallulahma- Yep, the table was pretty overstimulating. I ended up telling her that we had already picked out a table we really liked.

Celtic Eirann- That is awesome that your dd could say that! I am really amazed

Zoebird- I understand what you mean. I feel like a jerk telling family "no" to things they went and picked out special for him. I don't like confrontation and avoid it like the plague. Yet, I feel guilty that they wasted their money on something we don't approve of or that ds won't play with long... or already has (because really, how many shakey cars does he need!They may look different but, they all do the same thing!) And resentful that I have this stuff sitting here.
post #19 of 20
Disclaimer: I worked for Disney for years...first in the feature animation division, and then disneyland.

Most of the character toys are crap. Movies, I have no objection to, but those are quite limited. When they kids ask for a specific movie, i have no problem with them watching it...but then again, they haven't watched tv in about 4 days simply because they havent asked for it....so i guess its the mood of the house that dictates something more so than any "rules"

Some character toys are ok...but few of them. For example, we have a 101 dalmatians "vet" set which the kids love to use on their animals when they are injured. then, there are toy story legos which they both love. the thing is, any character (whether its madeline or ariel, or a classic book) can be overdone. its just that most movie/nick characters are easily overdone.

So, how to tactfully say that you dont want this stuff? maybe limit character items to children's items that are naturally NOT open play? if they kids received disney slumber bags, would i object? no...simply because there is nothing limiting their imagination in something that they sleep in

i can easily say no character clothes, simply because school doesnt allow that. but i also give them soooo many ideas of things to purchase (thanks to amazon's universal wish list, which lets me add any item from any website) that they "get" what I want for the kids. that being said, if they purchase mickey mouse garden tools instead of generic kids garden tools, i wont object. again, because they are not limiting imaginative play.
post #20 of 20
My dh's parents are always buying the kids stuff they don't need and that we don't want for them. We've got 6 kids, so I am trying my best to keep down the material things. It gets annoying and I think it is such a waste of their money. Unfortunately my dh won't talk to his parents about it, so the frustration on my part continues and we're constantly having to get rid of stuff.

One of my son's even told dh's dad that they would like something from the local kids museum store (he asked them what they wanted), and guess what he said? "Those things are too expensive". Well I bought a solar powered mechanical window prism for $25 there and the kids enjoy the rainbows it produces every single day. He has bought talking smurfette (that said "Hello boys" in a suggestive tone none the less), spiderman junk, obnoxious electronics, etc.., etc.. and it's all ended up donated or in the trash. I bet it all cost a lot more than $25! I definitely believe in quality over quantity!
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