Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well... cut a longish story short. We know, but not well, a little boy (aged 9, I think) who used to go to the same play centre as J on Wednesdays. His parents run the supermarket in the village where J goes to do sport so I quite often see them; the mother has been telling me a bit about the very messy divorce she and the boy's father are currently engaged in. She asked me if I would be willing to look after her boy on a Saturday if ever she was stuck for a childminder and I said yes. She rang this morning, asking if I could take him...
    This boy is special needs, although I don't know what the problem is. He speaks slowly and seems not as bright as you'd expect a 9 year old to be, physically very clumsy and slow, not co-ordinated. Quite sweet. He is very keen on J... but together they are not a good combination. They quickly get into play fighting, that then turns serious and the older boy particularly is too hard in his gestures - gave J a bloody nose in the car (after J had provoked it with his touching and pushing, etc)
    Anyway, at one point in the day they were both outside playing as I was getting the car ready to take J horse riding (which he's now doing instead of rugby and loves, loves, loves) and I heard something smashing and lots of delighted giggles and cries of encouragement from this other boy... I ran up and saw... that J had a stick in his hand and had smashed out all the glass in the shed door belonging to my neighbours who have a holiday home here.
    I was absolutely furious... he's never done anything seriously destructive like this before. Generally I don't punish him, but no doubt in my mind he has to have a consequence for this... I quite often buy him little toys and I told him that he would have no toys bought for him until Christmas, because I will have to pay for a replacement window. Instead of his usual protests and shouting, he just accepted that without a word.
    Talking to both of them useless... the 9 year old seemed to have no concept it was wrong or naughty and neither did J... god knows what they thought they were doing.
    Now I have to tell the pair of elderly brothers who look after the house in the owners' absence what has happened, and offer to pay for a replacement set of panes. Which I know is going to be gossiped about and J will go down as the turbulent, lawless hooligan... I'm tempted to say it was him and another boy together, even though not strictly true. Unethical? Maybe but... I just don't want J being seen as a hoodlum.
    I really don't know how it seems in J's head or why on earth he would do this... he must know it's wrong (of course he now understands that after my furious scolding) and yet just kept saying "I didn't know - why didn't you tell me?"
    Oy vey...
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ack! I'm so sorry!
    Definitely, buy the new glass and tell the caretakers immediately.
    And tell them you're the boy's mom (and that he and a friend were together, since they were, technically playing together) and that you are furious with-the boys.
    You may be surprised by how many people say, "Boys will be boys!"
    People still tell me that and I want to wring their necks. on the other hand, it's a useful rationalization when you need it. :)

    I'm glad no one needed stitches.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member're right. This nine year old isn't "right." If he was, he wouldn't want to hang around with a five year old...that alone is a clue. In the US I'm sure he'd have some diagnosis; not sure what. Don't know enough about him. I think maybe it is best to keep J away from this kid. He is older and J may just be copying him and you don't need that. To hello with what the village thinks, by the way. Who cares?

    I do think that our difficult children have to be monitored as to whom they can hang out with. Sonic could not be with certain kids because they would take shameless advantage of him and he would all but do their bidding. If I told him that friends don't demand money from friends, he'd say, "If he's my friend, I have to share." Share my "bottom." He would end up with NO money.

    I think J would do best around "typical" behaving kids near his age. Maybe he could pick up some social cues.

    As for punishing for the action, that is a natural consequence. If the older boy does not understand this concept, he is indeed disabled in some way as he is old enough to understand. I think his mother should pay half the cost, since her child was involved.

    Hang in there. Sonic once broke the back window of our car at a time when we could ill afford the expense. He was tossing a ball around and threw it hard right against the back window...need I say more?
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sorry you are in this situation. Unfortunately it's not foreign to me at all. With both difficult child and easy child. Around here we have this proverb about stupidity accumulating in groups. Very true with little (and not so little) boys.

    You may want to tell your neighbours that J's and his friend's play got out of the hand and some reason J did something stupid and broke the window, that you and J are very sorry and you will of course compensate the window and do they want you to put cardboard or something for temporary protection to the window.

    By the way, those elderly brothers may very well have personal experiences of doing something very similar, most men seem to have.

    While not backing away from consequence you have given to J, for future use you may want to think something more short term. J is young, he probably doesn't really remember what happened month from now, much less near Christmas. He also gets so used to new rule about no toys before Christmas, that he will likely not even remember that he is punished. With my boys I noticed that maximum punishment of anything that could still be effective pretty much lasted their age in days. Now easy child can probably remember what he did wrong more than two weeks, but still short and swift seems to be more effective.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Around here we have this proverb about stupidity accumulating in groups. Very true with little (and not so little) boys.

    I like this!
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, MWM, it's all very well saying "who cares what the village thinks" when you're living in Wisconsin on the other side of the world - I can quite appreciate that from there, the village seems very irrelevant indeed :) While I often agree with you, I'm not sure I agree about the undesirability of older and younger children playing together. J is in a multi-age single class school - ie now he is taught in one classroom with age ranges from 5 to 11 and I think this is actually very good. The children look out for each other and there is much inter-age interaction than there would be normally. J quite often plays with 8,9 and 10 year old boys in the village and I think he learns from it and they seem to accept him, come to call for him at the house, etc.
    Oh, the elderly brothers know I'm J's mother alright, Terry! Everyone knows everyone in the village... I tried calling at their house twice today and, as luck would have it, they were out... we will try again tomorrow. You're quite right about the "boys will be boys" - this is what the other boy's mother said when I told her!! But for me it's very serious and I don't actually see it like that! You are probably right about the length of time, SuZir, but this is actually going to cost a lot of money and I think J SHOULD help "pay" for it...
    I just hope he understands that this is a serious boundary that doesn't get crossed again...
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh wow. Reminds me of when kids were throwing rocks from the deck above the underground parking garage at our old house. Q threw a rock on a brand new shiny car. Of course the othe kids were laughing and encouraging him. The girl screamed at him and called the cops
    I was super sick and had not watched like I usually do. Huge expense but luckily the girls dad, owner of the car said his livid daughter had done worse and he got several bids and let me pick. Hope your guys are as understanding!
  8. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Malika, my twins and seven other boys did the same thing when they were 12. They all egged each other on and broke the windows of a house. The owner was so furious that she was pushing for them to be charged with vandalism by the police. Our very caring officer M talked her out of it. We had to pay for the damage (I paid more because I had two miscreants). Officer M came to our kitchen and talked to the boys. I enjoyed watching the blood drain from their faces, lol. They were twice as old as your J,and I don't think that they realized the consequences of their actions.

    I found out the hard way that the boys were a really bad mix with certain other difficult children, I had to keep them apart. One of the mothers accused me of being a "wicked snob" and told me that she wasn't surprised that I had no friends. You might have to do the same and face the wrath of the mother. That 9 y.o. might be slow but he is a manipulator.

    Rather than the toy punishment, can you have J help the brothers with little chores which a six year old can handle? It might be good for him to be around men (if you trust them...).

    I am not at all surprised that children in a village play in multi- age groups, I did that myself when visiting my grand-maman in the South of France. Villages are small are there aren't enough children to break up into cohort groups.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika, glad I made your :)

    What I really meant to say is that THIS nine year old is not only older but a big problem himself so maybe he is not a good role model for J. Some older kids are great influences and take younger kids under their wings. But this nine year old doesn't really seem able to do that.

    As for who cares what others think...guess I'm thinking about myself. I do care marginally what others think of me and my kids, but it isn't a huge load on my mind. My attitude is "You don't get it...why should I care what you think?" I guess I'm just not as worried about what everything thinks than most people are. Ya can't control what they think so why bother worrying about it? THat's all I meant...I wanted to be comforting, but guess I was humorous instead...hehe. Well, causing laughter is a good thing, no? :)
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Aiyaiyai! Kids in groups, even varied aged groups, will usually find trouble, I've found. I don't have boys, but girls in groups can be a bad thing also!

    Will the other boy's mom help pay for the windows?
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your input - helps me put it in perspective and see that J isn't unique in his wild impulsivity...
    He went off by himself this morning to say "pardon" to the brothers and ask them to come and examine the damage... one of the brothers duly came up, didn't seem very shocked or surprised, said he would put a board up to protect the shed (which he's now done) and we agreed I would ask the handyman in the village to replace the glass.
    Definitely the other boy didn't stop him, and indeed encouraged him (maybe also told him to do it, I don't know - but J wouldn't need much persuading), because of his problems. I can guarantee that any other 9 year old in the village would have stopped J and would have come to tell me or another adult... they're just like that here.
    As for the money... the other boy's mother seemed to take the view that it was J's hyperactivity that was at the base of all, though not in an accusing way, and I guess I don't want to fight about it. But I will see how much the repairs cost first :)
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry you are facing the problem. My perception of the event is that J is responsible period. Obviously the older boy is deficient in some way and perhaps he actually requires adult supervision to a greater degree than J needs. As far as the consequences although it may not be true with your son it has been my experience that the less said the better. I would opt to say something simple like "we will not be able to purchase unnecessary things for awhile as we now have a big bill to pay first". Period. End of topic. J knows he messed up. J knows it is appropriate to apologize for his wrongdoing. J knows that family money has to be diverted to repairs caused by his poor choice. He's a sharp little boy. Likely this quiet lesson will stay with him for years to come....I know in adulthood many of us rue choices we made as children. Sigh. DDD
  13. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Oh J! Proud of him for telling the brother about the damages and apologizing-that is often difficult/frightening for children- well done- lots of good lessons learned here~
  14. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    You might also use this opportunity to educate J on being a support/helper to someone (the 9 year old) who isn't typical- almost that although J is younger, he might have more ability to "see" right/wrong in a situation.
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol... I didn't mean to deceive but the way I worded it gave the wrong impression. J did not decide all by himself to go off and apologise to the brothers... what happened was that I said several times this morning that we were going to go and call on the brothers as soon as we'd finished x, y, z and then in the end J was dressed before me and I said you go then and say sorry, and off he went without protesting. So it was kind of halfway there to citizenship, I guess :)
    Interesting debating point about which out of him and this other child is the most morally aware... honestly, I don't know that I could pronounce on it... J is aware before the event, after the event, but doesn't stop himself in the event... so he hasn't got much going on that helps him avoid these kind of situations at the moment :dissapointed:
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm so glad that he apologized. And sorry about the impulsivity. But he is still only 5. :) Good job, Mom!
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I raised 3 boys and had my fair amount of broken things in my time. Cory was the one who would do things on purpose. Jamie was impulsive because of the ADHD and would things would happen because he simply didnt think things through. Prime examples: Cory would get mad and hit the window knowing it would break. Jamie would be standing in the room watching TV with a ball in his hand and he would be tossing it up and down in his hand never thinking about the fact that there was a ceiling fan above him and the ball would get caught up in the blades and go out a window. That was an oopsy. It only happened once because it just never occurred to him it could happen.

    Now they both had to help with repairing the windows but I wasnt as mad at Jamie because his was an accident. Cory really should have known better even though both these incidents happened within months of each other.
  18. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, I am incredibly impressed that your six year old went and apologized...even if you told him to, it's quite impressive that he did so! Pure mortification would have stopped most kids that age! Kudos to J (and you)!
  19. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    We had an issue when difficult child was about 6 in which all the windows got broken out of a bus that was owned by the land owners (we lived in a mobile home park). Landowner came to me screaming and threatening to sue me for the windows/vandalism. I was furious. I laid into difficult child about how he knows better, etc. Come to find out the windows were broken out while difficult child was gone with grandparents for the week. I apologized to difficult child and told landowner I expected an apology from him and that difficult child deserved one too. Of course no apologies were given. difficult child was always the scapegoat when it came to that a*****e. He didn't like the fact that I always stuck up for my child. He didn't like the fact that I wouldn't bend over and kiss his ***. Okay, so it was me he didn't like and difficult child took the brunt of his wrath. Any time anything happened he would come to me irate. 99% of the time difficult child wasn't involved and I could prove it. The other 1% of the time I couldn't prove difficult child wasn't involved and although I KNEW my child didn't do whatever it was he was accusing him of I had to put up with his ****. I am so proud of J stepping up (unlike most children his age, even with parental cajoling) Tell him a person he's never met and will never meet in MN said he's a great boy and even great boys make mistakes sometimes.
    That he'll remember next time what happened and be the bigger person by stopping it from happening or being involved in it.

    edited for spelling
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hmmm.... well, you know, you can never quite take things at face value with a difficult child! When I questioned J this morning about what he had actually said to the brother, he told me cheerfully he had said 'I told him that my friend made me do it and my friend said Bravo! when I did it!'... though he says he did say sorry nonetheless :)
    I don't really know how much J has understood about it - but what tells me he knew he had done something wrong was that he accepts absolutely without protest that he should contribute financially to repairing it by foregoing toys and treats for a while.