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I wish I knew a better Subject title but here goes:<br><br>
I have kids and they mess up stuff. They write on walls, rip off wallpaper, spill things, break things, use glue sticks on windows, dump drawers.<br><br>
I grew up with siblings and saw this all the time so when I was expecting, I assumed that kids are loud, messy. Not all the time but sometimes they are! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Pets do it, too!<br><br>
My kids don't damage/destroy out of malice that I've ever seen. Only out of exploration and curiousity. If they aren't getting their curious needs met in 'acceptable' ways, then stuff happens. I see my job as helping them with this but I can't prevent everything.<br><br>
When stuff happens, I don't freak out. I just don't. It doesn't push my buttons. I've been known to laugh a little when my toddler put uncooked spaghetti into the CD player or made neat shapes with glue stick on the sliding glass doors.<br><br>
I figure that people are more important than stuff and things can almost always be repaired or cleaned. I am responsible for keeping my kids safe (so child locks, etc are a must) but lots of things are pretty harmless, ime, and can be cleaned up. At the end of the day, I think a child learns more from exploring and when something happens, then helping to clean up and go on is a better example of dealing with <i>life</i> than watching me flip out and be angry.<br><br>
OTOH, my husband absolutely cannot tolerate what he calls 'destruction'. Example: he came home last night and saw that a big log in our front yard was picked apart. It's a super old log that the landlord had there as 'landscaping' but it's petrified so it flakes off into dust and pieces. My toddler liked to pick at it and that's what my DH found when he got home.<br><br>
My DH was so angry he had to go away for an hour to calm down and then berated me for not preventing it and went on and on how he cannot handle any damage in our home. He's also never been around little kids until we had some so he has expectations that are pretty off.<br><br>
Also for me, it is a spiritual thing as I think we need to be more attached to people and more detached from material things. Doesn't Dr. Sears say, 'people before things'?<br><br>
Gosh this is long.<br><br>
What's your attitude when your kids break things or mess up stuff? Do you go through the roof? Do you resent them?<br><br>
We had guests a month ago and they were childless but prided themselves on being 'great with kids'. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> My son got a package in the mail (big deal to him) and the box had packing peanuts so he tipped the box and all the peanuts fell on the floor. No biggie to me. The guests were horrified and immediately dropped to their knees to pick it all up and reprimand my son. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
I think that kids should look back at their childhood as mostly a time to play, not be upset about packing peanuts on the floor. That book, Playful Parenting was a good read on this.
 

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I agree, people are more important than things.<br><br>
Its also tiring to amuse two one year olds so sometimes I sit and watch them rip books apart or throw their clothes all over the nursery floor. I'm sure I let them destry other things because it kept them happy and I got to sit down for a while.<br><br>
But I do have alot of my artwork around. Its all up on high shelves but if they get to it when they are older I would probably be upset. Maybe I should jsut put it all in storage until they leave for college...
 

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Hmm...I can't honestly say that my attitude is the same as yours about all things that you mentioned...I do believe that people are more important than things and I don't lose it if things get broken, as they are only material objects that can be replaced....however there are certain thinks/areas were I am much stricter than you ie/ your story about the CD player. Things like the computer, or TV (we have a big screen that DH had to have) are not to be fooled around with or near, DD knows to treat these with respect, she can play on the computer for example but that doesn't mean she can pound on the keyboard or see what happens if she dumps water on it. I don't think there is anything wrong with expecting that of her (she's almost 4), she enjoys watching her shows and playing games on the computer so in order to be able to do that they can't be broken, right?<br><br>
But with things like the peanuts, gosh...I don't see how that could bother any parent (unless you were about to show your house to potential buyers in 5 mins :LOL). I purposely give my DD thinks like that to mess with! Like fingerpainting with pudding, etc.(I'd rather use it for art than feed it to her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I guess I feel it is important to provide opportunities for them to play and explore in a way that the house still stands <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> but if something gets broken, then oh well I get to go shopping!
 

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I try not to be too uptight about certain things, and honestly, it depends on my mood. If I am tired and burnt out and irritated then just one more mess sometimes really bugs me. But if I'm getting enough sleep and in a good mood, then I really don't mind certain messes.<br><br>
I do try to enforce some guidelines though. Crayons and pens are not for the walls, floor, or furniture. They are for paper, and if he wants to draw on his toys, fine. But I don't flip out if he draws on the wall. I explain why we can't do this, and we clean it up. If he wants to break his toys, I explain that they are going to break and we aren't going to replace it, but he can do so if he wants. I have a hard time letting him rip books, though, just because I have a certain reverance for books. But luckily this has not been much of a problem.<br><br>
Stuff like spilt milk/water, food, packing materials - well, kids make messes. Again, if I am desperately trying to get something done or get out of the house and then ds purposely pours his cup of milk on the floor, I get irritated, but more by the purposefulness of the act than of the mess. I never get upset about an accident, no matter what was broken.<br><br>
Overall though I am much more tolerant than dh of messes. But it goes along with how we were raised. His parents keep their house like a museum - nothing can be touched, everything is perfectly in it's place. My parents are ex-hippies - a house is meant to be lived in, it is not a showcase, kids live there too, etc. etc.
 

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We have never been uptight about broken of messy things. But I 've noticed that when ds breaks stuff lately he says, "no big deal, I don't care about it". So we are working towards showing him the importance of being careful with your things. As far as messes he will immediately clean up any sort of messy "dirty" messes. He's just a clean kid <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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I don't get mad at my kids, so long as they weren't doing something they were explicitly warned against. For example, they aren't allowed to play with anything on "Daddy's Electronics Table" (a coffee table with all of his cameras, notebook computers, phones, etc. that he is working on) and so if they were to take a crayon to something on there, then I would be very much upset. If they take a crayon to one of the packing boxes or some of their blocks, no biggie. Drawing designs on the table with yogurt, no biggie. Drawing designs on the DVD collection with yogurt, a big deal.<br><br>
Messes are a part of life with kids. We try not to let them damage anything (I don't think I'd count peeling pieces off a log as damage - it is a LOG, come on now), but anything that we can fix easily isn't a big deal. DH used to get upset a lot about what I'd let the kids touch/play with, but he's used to it how :)
 

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Well, we rent, so there are some things that I have to be more strict on -- anything that will cause perm. property damage becomes a real problem for us. But other than that -- people are definitely more important and its rarely worth getting upset about. Yes, there are expectations to be explained (e.g. paint goes on paper), but in a positive way. Getting angry is a waste of energy on my part, as well as out of keeping with my positive approach to parenting. And messes (without perm. damage), in my opinion, are a good thing -- they give kids a chance to learn some basic science, to have fun, to explore their world, and to expend energy. Yeah for messes!
 

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I try very hard not to overeact to situations like you mention however I do believe in teaching consequence in a calm, direct way.<br><br>
So if my son spills the milk I don't freak out instead we both get a rag an clean it up.<br><br>
If he colors on a wall I praise his art work, explain the walls are not for drawing on even though it <i>looks</i> like they are, we get the cleaning supplies out, clean it up together and then I pull out the paper and ask him to draw the same thing on this.<br><br>
The only time I lose my patience is when he spills the milk 5 times in a row just 'cause he <i>likes</i> to clean up the mess. Then I have to remind my self that he's only 2 1/2 and that maybe I should just go and buy a plastic table cloth <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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If my child has damaged something valuable, I consdier that my fault, not hers. If she spills milk, well why would I leave her unattended with an open glass. She drinks from one, but I know better than to leave her unsupervised. Honestly, each and every time some big mess has happened, etc. I can point to myself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
With that said it's never happened (something valuable being damaged). I'm totally laid back about such stuff. We have cheap crappo furniture right now (temporary home, not keeping it) so we're allowed even more of this luxury, lol.<br><br>
I really think your DH needs to search inside himself to find why this stuff upsets him so much. I know that sounds a bit "woo-woo" but honestly, the way we react to things has WAY more to do with our own inner demons than with the situation itself.
 

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We are very easy going about this kind of stuff, and like Piglet said, if something does happen it is usually because we weren't paying enough attention. Even then, it's just not a huge deal. Anything that we really really like, anything we would be upset about being torn, wrote on, broken, etc. is put away/up hight/locked up etc.<br><br>
To me this is life with kids. Kids need to get into stuff, need to get dirty, need to express themselves and figure things out. I strive to enable my daughter to do these things, not hinder her from it.<br><br>
My real question is why in the world did your dh get so upset about an old log??
 

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How about when someone brings your child a toy... then says" oh, they're not supposed to play with it"<br><br><br>
...That just leaves me speechless.<br><br>
(not really.. I laughed and said "are you serious?"...I told them to take it back..)
 

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I'm one of those that gets very upset when things get broken. It's just my personality. My sister was a very destructive child, and it always bothered me, especially when it was my stuff getting destroyed. Messes don't bother me, but destructive behavior really pushes my buttons.<br><br>
Mostly, I keep anything I don't want broken up and out of child's reach. There are rules about the things she knows she must be careful of, and which are still within her reach... vcr, computer, camera etc. If she can't use it correctly, she can't use it at all. What has helped tremendously is to show her the correct way to use things like electronic devices. She has known how to operate the vcr since before she was two, for example. She loves playing on the computer, so the idea of that priviledge being taken away is a huge motivator for her to be careful of it.<br>
She knows the rules, and the consequences of breaking them, even at the tender age of three. Paints, markers, and crayons are only for use on paper or cardboard boxes, if she doesn't respect the rule, the offending item goes in "time out" for a while. (not the child, but the markers, the vcr, etc)<br>
It really helped us for the entire family (including DD) to sit down and discuss exactly what the rules are and what is expected, what is not allowed, and what the consequences are if any rules are broken. I knew that DH and I both had to work together to set boundaries of acceptable behavior, and now there is no confusion about what is and what is not OK.
 

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I think my parents did several things "right" in this area, and I plan to do the same with my own kid:<br><br>
They allowed us access to a lot of their stuff. Sure, SOME things were put away or up high because they were so fragile or precious, but mostly we were allowed to handle and use things. The proper approach was demonstrated and reinforced: "Hold it gently so it doesn't break." Some of the things that were normally put away were brought out occasionally to be examined with great respect under close supervision.<br><br>
When we did destroy something, although they did not shame us or get angry, they encouraged us to feel regret: "Oh no, the Donald Duck glass got broken! Let's get the broom. Gosh, it's too bad we won't have this nice glass anymore. Remember when we got it in our cereal box?"<br><br>
If we destroyed something that belonged to a parent and was very special, they were not afraid to show that they were very upset. This was (usually) expressed as sadness rather than anger: "I am so upset that my favorite blouse is torn. I'll never be able to fix it so that it looks and feels as nice as it did. I understand that you didn't mean to get it caught in the vacuum cleaner, but I'm sad that it happened. I'm really going to miss wearing it." This was all the more effective because, when they accidentally damaged something that belonged to one of us, they demonstrated the appropriate apologetic and sympathetic behavior--so we knew what to do when the tables were turned.<br><br>
They showed a lot of respect for our possessions. Most of my friends had parents who would "clean" by throwing away anything that THEY thought didn't need to be kept, without asking! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> My parents, if they didn't understand why a chunk of ceramic power-pole insulator was on top of my dresser, would ask and listen to me explain how beautiful it was to me.<br><br>
If we were using a toy destructively, my dad would step in saying, "Hey, don't break that just because you can!" I really like that phrasing because it shows that the situation is under the child's control, that she can choose to break the toy but she'd better stop and think about whether that's really what she wants. Often, this intervention got me to realize that my behavior was destructive when I hadn't thought it through.<br><br>
Of course people are more important than objects. But some objects play important roles in our lives, and resources are not to be wasted. I think it's possible to teach respect and care for objects (esp. other people's) without being overly prissy or punitive.
 

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if i see him doing damage..............i say in a calm voice ...."That is not a toy, be careful....see how mommie does".........."this is how we use that object"............."this is the proper way to use that item".....<br><br>
if he does something when i am not looking.............I show him the problem/mess and point it out "did you do this?" "that was not good" and i explain the proper way he should have behaved.... such as "books are to read not to tear"... and i say "oh no bad mess" and "clean the mess with mommy".<br><br>
we don't have much issues with it. my son also is good about not doing damage.<br><br>
i have friends............who have kids that damage stuff. i tell their kids in a firm voice 'no no' and 'this is how to use it'..........<br><br>
i have to admit, it doesn't work on my friend's kids.............i think the mother has to start this early in life.
 

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Personally I don't allow my DD to destroy or damage property. Not that accidents don't happen. I put most of the responsibility on myself. For example I have a 19 month old, she doesn't draw on walls or anything other than paper (and a little on the table because she still learning to manage paper) because I don't allow her to handle crayons any other way. At first I ONLY let her have crayons with me watching and right there with her. Now I don't have to do that, I still controll when she gets them but I can leave the room ect and trust her with them. She can express herself all she wants as long as its on the paper <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">. We haven't started with glue yet, but same rules will apply, glue gets on windows because parents allow it to. (I'm talking repeated times not the few oops horror stories we laugh at years latter) I'm not sure what you mean by spill things but same applys, I make it my responsibility to make sure her enviroment is free from trouble. Food is limited to the kitchen table right now because she's learning to eat and needs the structure. I sometimes give her small snacks she can eat say while watching a cartoon, like apple slices or some dry cereal. I understand there will be crumbs, or "missed food" but throwing or dilebertly dumping I don't allow.<br>
Now if things happen I don't get overly mad I don't yell or punish, ect I just fix the problem restate what I expect and redirrect. Truth is you can';t prevent everything and your right these things are ussually not done out of malice, and if if so its not the same malice as say a teenager could have. SO I agree getting overly angry isn't going to help. But allowing it and saying their kids? I don't get this eaither? Rather I try to live by example I do a tons of complimenting because I think kids NEED NEED to here what there doing right, when a problem happens we deal with it, and I try to prevent them from occuring.However t stand and watch your child putting spaggetti in a CD player? Wtched them draw on slidding glass with a glue stick?? Umm NO THANK YOU! Thats not things I want my kids growing up thinking its okay.<br><br>
Now my DH is a little more finicky them I am, overall as long as my toddler wasn't purposly tracking tree pieces throygh the house I too would have cared less about him picking at it. We have no grass in our yard its all gravel (AZ desert) and my DD loves scopping up the rocks and dumping it on our back porch. I could care less, its totaly hamless, and can be swept off latter, its cute Cecilia has seen me sweep after shes done so much, she tries to do it her self when shes done. My DH trys to get her to stop the entire time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">. I do think there is appropiate "exploring and toddlerism" and the gravel or the tree stump are good examples.<br><br>
As for the packing peanuts Nope it wouldn't horrify me, Why? She doens't play with packing peanuts daily so to her they are simpily toys ment to bbe dumped <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I'd just say opps, those aren't for playying with lets put them back in the box, then I would have picked it up, DD could have helped but I wouldn't make her. Of she got mad I'd just tell her honey, these are not to play with, if neccery I would have distracted her ect, but just stayed calm but dirrect. Once gathed up I would have thrown the stuff out, If I don't want my DD playing with it them it needs to be removed.<br><br>
Deanna
 

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Great thread.<br><br>
I do worry a little about waste. So wasteful to have to get a new toaster cause the first is full of burnt playdoh. I hate the throw-it-away-and-get-another world we live in (since the old toaster goes somewhere and the new toaster comes from somewhere - i.e toaster factories).<br><br>
But between fuss at your kid/be upset or shrug and drive to target for a new toaster, I'd shrug every time.
 

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I guess I'm more like Playdoh's dh.<br><br>
I can't stand crayon on the walls, in books, on blocks.<br><br>
I don't even like being at other people's houses when there is crayon on the walls. I too think, "Destruction!"
 

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I'm ok with kids being kids and making messes. But even right now, before I have kids, I get upset when something is damaged. Like, the week I moved in with my dh, we had three brand new wedding gifts get damaged in some way. They were all accidents, and nothing was damaged beyond repair, but man, they're new things, and I'd like to keep them new as long as possible! It really ticks me off when people don't take care of their things. So, when I have kids, I'll instill in them the same respect for things that I have. I also will teach them the correct way to use things, and provide them with a safe place to make messes. That way, crayon doesn't get on the living room wall, but it might get on the table they were drawing on, and that's ok. Sure, people are more important, but there's something to be said for taking care of things too.
 

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I am pretty relaxed about MY things being broken or damaged, and at the age my kids are now (toddler and waddlers) if something is damaged it's because of inadequate supervision on my part.<br><br>
However, I also want to teach my kids to respect other people's space and property (hand in hand with teaching them how to protect their own space and not be wasteful). So I teach my kids basic ground rules that are easy to follow and age-appropriate and probably apply to most people's spaces. (Draw on paper, Ask before taking CDs/DVDs out of the case and wait until permission is given, ask politely for a drink or snack rather than rifling through someone's fridge, ect.) A lot of these things don't bother me personally, but they're habits I want my kids to get into, so that they can enjoy a visit at a friends' house without me having to go into a long winded explanation about something.<br><br>
Kids who have no respect for others' limits are headed for trouble. I want my kids to respect and be able to build boundaries of their own, and in that sense, practicing with things (which are not a big deal in the scheme of things, can be replaced easily most of the time, or cleaned, ect.) is a good exercise.<br><br>
Everyone's got their button that when pushed triggers the screaming/yelling reflex. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Mine is NOT property related, but I do have one. So if I know someone's is property related, I try to be as respectful as I can of them so that all of us can escape the stress. Maybe you can sit down with DH and make some compromises? Maybe he need to not have overt destruction of mostly-permanent fixtures in the house (like ripped off wallpaper), but will agree to give ground on clutter messes or outside stuff that nobody sees anyway. If you are a really free spirit in this, it could be that he doesn't think anyplace is safe for him or his stuff, and that's not a good feeling at all.<br><br>
As a compromise, at our house we have only washable art supplies, and at least on Magic Eraser on hand at all times. ;> And we also agreed that after all the kids are walking well (probably when the boys are 3), we'll get fake wood or wood floors put in, so we don't worry about the carpet except for cleanliness' sake. And each of us, as adults, is responsible for keeping track/putting away when we're not supervising the stuff that would really cause a problem or hurt feelings if it's damaged.<br><br>
It sounds like your DH at least tried to diffuse the situation, but it was wrong to berate you. Do you guys have guidelines in place, as far as what the kids can and can't do in this arena? Maybe that would help. It sounds like you got hit with something bigger than the actual incident, KWIM?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerchild</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Everyone's got their button that when pushed triggers the screaming/yelling reflex. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Mine is NOT property related, but I do have one. So if I know someone's is property related, I try to be as respectful as I can of them so that all of us can escape the stress. Maybe you can sit down with DH and make some compromises? Maybe he need to not have overt destruction of mostly-permanent fixtures in the house (like ripped off wallpaper), but will agree to give ground on clutter messes or outside stuff that nobody sees anyway. If you are a really free spirit in this, it could be that he doesn't think anyplace is safe for him or his stuff, and that's not a good feeling at all.</div>
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Wise Mama!<br><br>
(hope you're well, kitty!)
 
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