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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Arrggghhhh! This has been going on for over a year now. Ds is 3yo, and insists on stomping on plants wherever we go. We were at the zoo this morning, and he kept stomping all over newly planted areas, even as I continuously asked him not to. He does this almost everywhere we go - if there is delicate landscaping, he wants to stomp on it.

I have explained about hurting plants, I have talked with him how to explore them gently, I have tried to show him things that he CAN stomp on, even tried to explain the difference between which plants can be walked on and which can't (which may just confuse him, I don't know), but he just can't seem to help himself. It's driving me insane.

He also always wants to tear up flowers. So when we're walking through the neighborhood, I have to be on top of him every time we approach someone's planter boxes, because he is all over it - at first smelling and exploring, which is fine, but inevitably wanting to tear the petals apart.

He's a really gentle kid with other people, babies, and animals. But he has it in for the poor plants. And I am at a loss at what to do about it!
 

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Groundcovers can still be a problem sometimes, but we solved the flower problem by explaining to DD (now 2.5) that flowever are for bees and hummingbirds and butterflies to pollinate. We can touch them gently, but we can't pick them because we're taking food away from the bees and hummingbirds and butterflies.
 

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Sounds like he just can't resist!

I realize that you are saying this happens all of the time, and in different situations--but in the zoo scenario.....I often find it useful to find a (kind) employee to explain the rules. I've done this in art galleries, etc, when dd is having a hard time following my rules. Sometimes just having a person of "authority" validate your rules--and maybe give a bit of information about the plants and their care and delicacy--really helps children to accept the rules.

Do you have a garden? Maybe he could have his own "patch" to either care for or tear apart as he sees fit, but then he could see first hand the results? (no more pretty flowers, and all that hard work for nothing....)
 

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Maybe you need to stop talking so much.
State the rules (I like the worker's idea). Then remove him.

He is young and might need help knowing were to be. So first say "Those are special plants come stomp here on the side walk." Make it a gentle but comand if he does not follow Swoop him up and remove him. If he was wanting to touch a hot stove you would remove him why not here? You would comand "Don't touch the stove" and then physically remove him.

I do agree with the other posters ideas.

I would work with "explore with your eyes" outside the tempting areas. Make some pipe cleaner and tissue paper flowers together. (Add some sents) and practice away. Show him how to touch gentle. When he tears them or if you are by a real plant you can use that as an example.

Since he likes to stomp maybe make a game with yarn circles and stomp spots. This could lead to you being able to say "DC that is not in your stomp circle. Get out and wait to stomp until we find you a stomp circle." (and/or have a yarn stomp circle handy.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh, I definitely pick him up and remove him from the plants. It's just that after doing this over and over, I get irritated, and the outing starts to turn sour.

We did try to do a little garden together awhile back, but he seemed to take great glee in ripping out or stomping on all the newly planted flowers and veggies, so that was just a lot of wasted time and energy!

I'll try some of these suggestions. I just find it so frustrating - he is so kind and gentle in every other way, but just can't seem to help himself when it comes to plants!
 

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I could be way off base here, but could he be doing this partly just because he *knows* it gets a rise out of you? If so, the key would be to take away as much attention as possible from the behavior. Ignore it if possible (often not possible, I know.) Or just grab his hand or pick him up and move on without a word, changing the subject ASAP. I though of this since you say he's otherwise a gentle child, that it comes up constantly, and that it drives you "insane". Children sometimes like causing Mom to "go insane"
I've caught that gleem of gleeful facination in my dd's face now and then when I get exasperated over something she's done *again*. It's not something she *commonly* does, but I've seen it happen. I might also suggest not approaching the planter boxes in the first place for a while. Simply explain that "we can't look at other people's flowers until you decide to be gentle with them. Maybe if you are gentle with the flowers at home tomorrow, we can look at some flowers next time we are out." Then change the subject. Natural consequences and all that. Good luck!
 
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