destroying their stuff -and mine - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 07-14-2012, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not in a good mood today. I probably should wait to calm down before I
write... whatever.

Today I had to throw out three board games plus two to four puzzles plus a
couple of toys which were totally destroyed. As in lost, parts everywhere -
including the garden and destroyed. Oh, i forgot to mention a couple of books
that were ripped beyond recognition.

And this is just one week. DS had his birthday last week and got a couple of
toys, some of them already destroyed.

I am aspecially angry about the board games, they were really nice expensive
board games, and they love to play with them. They don't care about them and
destroy them nevertheless.

They don't care about their stuff.at.all.
I picked DD1 dresses up from the floor with dust and doghair all over them -
really expensive dresses for her little sisters baptism and her first day in
school. I am really upset about this waste of money and disregard of my work
(laundry, ironing, putting away)

How do you handle things like this? I was so angry, I packed all the board games
up and put them in a box to be kept in my bedroom.

I don't really want to take stuff away from them, but I don't want to buy new
things every week either.

What do you think?

 

we try to live consensually - but it's difficult


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#2 of 13 Old 07-14-2012, 07:18 AM
 
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One of mine was destructive (but has outgrown it) and one isn't. It's very frustrating, but I think the only thing that fixes it is maturity. If I cared if something got destroyed or not, I put it up, and she had to ask to use it, I'd watch her use it, and we'd put it back up when she was done. One thing at a time, always under supervision. Some things were not that important, and those things were available for her but got thrown away if they were destroyed.

I wasn't trying to punish but it would be too expensive to replace everything in our house because of her destructive habits. It's like her idea of playing was to see if something could be ripped, plucked, picked into pieces, or otherwise destroyed. She didn't play with things in the way they were made to be played with.

I found that high sensory activities satisfied this need for her. I would put some sudsy water in the sink and let her "wash" some plastic dishes, or have her play in the sandbox, or use play dough, or some other very sensory activity when she got too bad, and that did help.

She is 10 and much more careful with her things now, thankfully. I think they do outgrow it.
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#3 of 13 Old 07-14-2012, 04:51 PM
 
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My kids destroy things too. They're getting better about it since we've started immediately boxing things up when they purposely destroy something. They would ruin board games, shred an entire ream of paper, break toys then expect that they could be fixed and so on. If they destroy something an entire box of stuff from the room of the person who did it is boxed up and they have to show they can care for things properly before they get anything back. With one of the kids it took the entire bedroom being cleared of anything besides a handful of books and a couple changes of clothes before the behavior changed. When it's something that must be replaced or that the whole family was enjoying they have to pay for it out of birthday money or extra work around the house. They haven't ripped up hundreds of sheets of paper or ruined a board game since. 

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#4 of 13 Old 07-14-2012, 06:47 PM
 
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I think you need yo go through their things and remove any clutter because part of this may be a case of having so much stuff it is overwhelming to pick up. A weekly clean up time for the whole family will model respecting their items and get rid of bug habitats, I also find that it helps me stay calm because clutter triggers anxiety on a deep and hard to pinpoint level. Board games should be a whole family thing so they see how they should treat community items. I also think you need to stop replacing items they destroy. Consensual living can include not encouraging destruction and materialism.
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#5 of 13 Old 07-15-2012, 01:47 PM
 
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We've had frustrations with some items being left on the floor and broken, and we can usually resolve these problems by reconfiguring our storage arrangements.  For example, my youngest would pull a bunch of things off the shelf to get to the item he needed, and not put the other things back.  We finally figured out that the easiest solution was to move his stuff to where he could get it without pulling other stuff off the shelves.

 

Most of our board games are stacked in a closet, kind of high (because that's where they fit best).  The kids can reach them with the stepstool or ask a parent to get them down.  This works great for us. I find that if someone has to use a stool to get them down, that person is pretty seriously committed to playing the game and not likely to dump it on the floor and leave it five minutes later.

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#6 of 13 Old 07-15-2012, 04:32 PM
 
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Ugh. That sucks. For lack of a better way to say it. Can you guys create a bucket of "junk" that is appropriate to "destroy"? Then because you've all agreed on the fact that those items are fair game for destruction there are no hurt feelings or wasted $$. It could even become a fun thing to search for things that are suitable for that junk bucket. Also, I'd start talking, in kid speak, about how items cost money which requires time and effort. These concepts can be a tad tricky for the wee ones IME. Cost, work, value, and waste are all such big concepts for children. (Or adults sometimes lol!). Could this be an opportunity to discuss money and how much things cost, working for money an so on? Like at the store and upon seeing people working... It could be a good doorway into talking about how people go to work and earn money that allows them to pay for things they need and want, and why it upsets people when the things they "worked hard for" are treated poorly or broken.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#7 of 13 Old 07-16-2012, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you for your suggestions,

 

 

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If I cared if something got destroyed or not, I put it up, and she had to ask to use it, I'd watch her use it, and we'd put it back up when she was done. One thing at a time, always under supervision

 

That is a simple, good idea, it's just so damn hard, ykwm? I am trying to get my work done and am seriously overwhelmed, and than I'll try to supervise my bunch of adhd kids. I know it's the way I *should* do it.

Plus my DH (ADHD :) ) leaves the stuff on the floor just like the kids. I am trying to establish an "board games only on the table" rule, but it does not even work with DH.

 

Quote:
I found that high sensory activities satisfied this need for her. I would put some sudsy water in the sink and let her "wash" some plastic dishes, or have her play in the sandbox, or use play dough, or some other very sensory activity when she got too bad, and that did help.

Right, I think I seriously have to put more effort into the sensory issues, esp of DS. I don't have to many ideas though, and it takes so much time to find good ones!

I'll try today to get them the playdough out, sudsy water is such a big mess with my kids. (but we did naked bath cleaning (the kids naked) - and that was fun!)

 

 

 

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If they destroy something an entire box of stuff from the room of the person who did it is boxed up and they have to show they can care for things properly before they get anything back.

 

Thank you for your suggestion, elus, but we are living consensually (at least trying to) and this sounds punitive to me. I am trying to avoid any kinds of punishment.

 

 

 

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I think you need yo go through their things and remove any clutter because part of this may be a case of having so much stuff it is overwhelming to pick up

Yeah, one girl, I think that is one of the most important points. But it's sooo difficult! I cannot let go of stuff easily. I am working on it. I need to work on it because our ADHD brains need less cluttered environment. I am soo unsure how much stuff the kids actually need.... And I cannot really rotate because we have no storage place (which is laughable because we have a huge house, but not a lot of shelfs and closets)

 

how much stuff do kids need?

 

 

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I also think you need to stop replacing items they destroy. Consensual living can include not encouraging destruction and materialism

Totally agree. I won't.

 

 

Quote:
 I find that if someone has to use a stool to get them down, that person is pretty seriously committed to playing the game and not likely to dump it on the floor and leave it five minutes later.

That's true for most kids, I think, but for mine there would be even a higher chance of destruction, because it include an extra fun part: Climbing on chairs! They do climb for the pure fun of it!

 

Quote:
Ugh. That sucks. For lack of a better way to say it. Can you guys create a bucket of "junk" that is appropriate to "destroy"?

that sounds like a good idea. I am just worried about the need to generalize rules, what's your take there, do you think they can "understand" that they can "destroy" one game but not the other? maybe I need to mark the box or somethin...

 

I am thinking about an library system for the board games, like get one, leave somekind of "card" and give it back. Without card, no games...

 

We are living in chaos at the moment anyway, because of some reconstruction (kids got their own bedrooms) so maybe it's all just a sorting *Phase*


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#8 of 13 Old 07-16-2012, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...but what when they "just" destroy for the fun of destruction? We had our whole hallway freshly painted because DS draw on the walls. (there are new drawings on it already)

 

the living room table looks like an art project because it's coloured all over.

 

all furniture is coloured on. DS just drew on our "new-for-us" couch. He does this on purpose, and he knows it's not allowed.

 

He scratches our table while eating with the cutlery (not only knifes, he can do it with spoons, too)

 

He deliberatly jumps on toys (not necessary his) to destroy them.

 

I just had it for today and sent him into his room because he cannot be in *my* room if he just destroys everything he finds...


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#9 of 13 Old 07-16-2012, 06:58 AM
 
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Oh yeah, that's how my older dd was. I ended up painting walls in semi-gloss so they were easier to clean. She'd draw on furniture, including upholstered furniture, floors, tables, appliances, you name it. The crayons and markers were the first things to be put up. I did let her have them but I'd have to be at least working in the same room while she did - so she could use them at the kitchen table while I was cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, for instance. I didn't set it up as a punishment, I just told her it was damage control so I didn't have to keep cleaning up writing from everything, but that she could use them when she wanted so long as someone were nearby to make sure the drawing only went on paper.

It is a pain and work, but it's less work than cleaning up after it all the time.
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#10 of 13 Old 07-16-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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I think determining how much a child need, or can handle is hard because you really don't know until you have to much. I tend to start by getting rid of things my dd doesn't use. We volunteered with refugees so she saw that other children have very little and she is eager to donate toys. I helped her eagerness along at first by letting her have one new toy on me when she donated toys. I think she still has more than she literally needs but it is managed better. Many people don't like toy boxes or Rubbermaid bins, but for us that was the key towards happy and independent clean up once we decluttered.

You mentioned a little chaos lately. It could be that they are acting a little more destructive in a reaction to that and you are a little quicker to be annoyed because of it. I know that when we have to deal with a lot of change i am much quicker to jump to grumpy over things i normally can live with even if they are mildly irritating. I really suggest decluttering even if you replace things later on and art supplies to get you all through. Art often helps kids deal better with change because they can freely express themselves through their art while you watch them. We have a ridiculous amount of paper, scissors, tape, glue, pencils, and crayon but they are all invaluable because they give dd the outlet she needs to destroy, create, and express herself. The paper scraps are a drawback but mostly worth it. Physical outlets for energy are also important. If you have a YMCA in your area I suggest looking into the activities they offer for kids.
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#11 of 13 Old 07-17-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

...but what when they "just" destroy for the fun of destruction? We had our whole hallway freshly painted because DS draw on the walls. (there are new drawings on it already)

 

the living room table looks like an art project because it's coloured all over.

 

all furniture is coloured on. DS just drew on our "new-for-us" couch. He does this on purpose, and he knows it's not allowed.

 

He scratches our table while eating with the cutlery (not only knifes, he can do it with spoons, too)

 

He deliberatly jumps on toys (not necessary his) to destroy them.

 

I just had it for today and sent him into his room because he cannot be in *my* room if he just destroys everything he finds...

 

FWIW, None of this sounds consensual to me.   I'd not allow him free access to these things until he was able to respect the things, and you.  Consensual living, at least to my understanding, does not mean that because he's 4 and these things are developmentally normal, that he is allowed to do them. Setting a practical limit around a destructive behavior is not (necessarily) being nonconsensual.   Find him some things he can destroy, and other things are off limits - if he can't respect that, then he can't access the things he normally destroys or uses to destroy, without direct supervision.  This is where consensual kind of loses it for me, honestly.  His need/desire to draw all over everything and jump on toys does not IMO trump your need/desire to not have things drawn on or have toys that work, even if he is 4 and it's age-appropriate...when his actions are destroying things that affect other people, he might just have to be unhappy about not being able to do that as he wishes.


Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#12 of 13 Old 07-17-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do agree, but how do I stop him? I cannot physically be there where he is all the time. I would have to kind of put him on a lead or something.

 

I really want him to understand that it makes me angry and hurts me if he destroys stuff. But than, maybe that is asked too much.


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#13 of 13 Old 07-17-2012, 11:53 AM
 
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You have no control over what he understands. You do have control over access of the things he is destructive with. Just put stuff up, and let him ask you when he wants to use something. Let him use it when he asks to use it, then when he's finished and has put it away, you can put it up and he can ask for something else.

It really isn't that hard, but it sounds like you might need to declutter a bit and get rid of everything except those things he really uses. If you have too much stuff, they don't value it in the same way. But whatever you keep that is something that can be destroyed and/or can destroy other things, just put up. He can still use them, but they won't be sitting out there for him to get into when you aren't aware of what he has and what he's doing.

You know, I said my second child isn't destructive, but part of that might be because of the environment. Keeping toys in their place until they're used, then getting them out and using them and then putting them away before getting out something else, worked so well with my older (and destructive) child not just to keep things from getting destroyed, but also to keep the house neat, that we kept it up even after she was older. She can reach things but still gets one thing out, uses it, puts it away, and gets something else out. If you do this stuff consistently all the time they get used to it. It will be more work for a while, but in the long run, if you keep up on it, it will be less work. My floor is almost always clear of stuff, unless they are using something on the foor at that time. I don't have stray toys around. It's a great way of handling toys even if someone isn't destructive IMO.
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