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Old 01-31-2012, 02:58 PM   #1
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WWYD? Re: destructive boys

So I get a phone call from our landlord today saying that several of the neighbors have been calling about my kids and the neighbor's kids climbing in the dumpster and leaving garbage all over the yard and throwing lit matches into the dumpster. Now, we live in a 4-plex that faces another 4-plex with a driveway in the middle, and there's yards at both ends of the houses. My kids did everything they were accused of, and this has been going on for a while. They were "building forts" by taking fence parts that had fallen down and leaned them up against the fence that was still standing. They pulled out boxes from the dumpster to "fortify", they had garbage strewn all over the one yard, and I just found out yesterday that my oldest took matches from on top of the fridge and was lighting them and throwing them in the dumpster. He said that after half a bag of garbage had burned, he got scared and dumped some water on it to put it out. It's not just my boys that are involved in this, there's several other neighborhood kids, one in particular, but I can't do anything about them. What would you do if it were your kids misbehaving in this manner?

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:08 PM   #2
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They would not be allowed outside unsupervised. They would also have to pick everything up and put it in its right place.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: WWYD? Re: destructive boys

I'd be furious that they were setting fires. I'd probably ground them for life.

I'd be pretty mad that they were dumping and leaving trash out too. (not as mad as I would be that they were starting fires)

I was a BAD kid in about 3rd-6th grade. I did things that could have ruined my whole life if I'd gotten caught. Kids don't understand how to think ahead. They MIGHT think "ooh, mom's going to be mad". But, they can't know all the bad things that will happen to them later on. Sure, they could get burned, but they won't because they are smart and careful. So, don't do the whole "You could get hurt" speech.

Tell them EXACTLY what to expect if they EVER do any of those things again. Make a plan so they know what will happen to them if you catch them making any of those bad choices again.

Take them around the complex and make them clean up every single piece of trash they see (or you see) so they can get an idea of how NOT fun it is to clean up after other people. I'd do this once or twice a week til you think they understand.

About six years ago, an 8th grader was suspended from school because he thought it was funny to purposely pee on another boy. He was suspended for four weeks. Every single school day of those four weeks, he was brought to school after the last bus left, and his mother made him clean every single student bathroom in the school. Three hours a day for four weeks, this kid cleaned up other kid's pee. So, I think the whole "My pee is funny" myth was busted forever.

Sometimes you have to be creative to teach kids what's acceptable and what's not...because they don't understand how much work it is to clean up after someone else...and they don't think it's a big deal. They aren't old enough yet to have that concept. But, you can make it a lesson.

And, in all honesty, I'd move away if my kids were making such dangerous choices because of their friends. (not blaming any one part of the group) Sometimes we need a new, fresh start somewhere else to reinvent ourselves. But, a total move can also be bad... you are taking a chance either way.

BTW.. I am completely impressed with your willingness to take responsibility!!! Nobody does that anymore.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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Re: WWYD? Re: destructive boys

I do want my kids to learn responsibility. They screwed up. I want them to be accountable for it.

I took them outside and made them clean everything up. I think I'm going to have them make "I'm Sorry" cards for all our neighbors and the landlord and have them hand deliver them with an apology. Maybe they'll be embarrassed enough that they won't be so destructive in the future.

I would LOVE to be able to move. As it is, we've got 10 people in a 1300 sq. ft. 3-bedroom apartment. I'm going to talk to DH and try to figure out any way of here. It's really not a good place to be, although anywhere we go will have kids that will influence my kids.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:29 PM   #5
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Re: WWYD? Re: destructive boys

Quote:
Originally Posted by escapethevillage View Post
I'd be furious that they were setting fires. I'd probably ground them for life.

I'd be pretty mad that they were dumping and leaving trash out too. (not as mad as I would be that they were starting fires)

I was a BAD kid in about 3rd-6th grade. I did things that could have ruined my whole life if I'd gotten caught. Kids don't understand how to think ahead. They MIGHT think "ooh, mom's going to be mad". But, they can't know all the bad things that will happen to them later on. Sure, they could get burned, but they won't because they are smart and careful. So, don't do the whole "You could get hurt" speech.

Tell them EXACTLY what to expect if they EVER do any of those things again. Make a plan so they know what will happen to them if you catch them making any of those bad choices again.

Take them around the complex and make them clean up every single piece of trash they see (or you see) so they can get an idea of how NOT fun it is to clean up after other people. I'd do this once or twice a week til you think they understand.

About six years ago, an 8th grader was suspended from school because he thought it was funny to purposely pee on another boy. He was suspended for four weeks. Every single school day of those four weeks, he was brought to school after the last bus left, and his mother made him clean every single student bathroom in the school. Three hours a day for four weeks, this kid cleaned up other kid's pee. So, I think the whole "My pee is funny" myth was busted forever.

Sometimes you have to be creative to teach kids what's acceptable and what's not...because they don't understand how much work it is to clean up after someone else...and they don't think it's a big deal. They aren't old enough yet to have that concept. But, you can make it a lesson.

And, in all honesty, I'd move away if my kids were making such dangerous choices because of their friends. (not blaming any one part of the group) Sometimes we need a new, fresh start somewhere else to reinvent ourselves. But, a total move can also be bad... you are taking a chance either way.

BTW.. I am completely impressed with your willingness to take responsibility!!! Nobody does that anymore.
I agree with all of this. I remember a boy dieing when I was in 3rd grade, he and his younger brother were lighting toy cars on fire and they lost control of the flames. The younger brother was badly burned. I can only imagine now as a mother myself how incredibly painful that had to have been for the family to lose one child and have another scarred for life over something so stupid. You definitely need to nip this in the bud. Kids don't do these things to be bad but they always think they are smart enough not to get hurt.

I like the idea of making them clean up around the complex each afternoon for a month or two, let them see what it is like. This is how I stopped my youngest from missing the toilet. It wasn't so funny when he had to clean up his own messes and now he is an expert aim.
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