Not A Sheep (has nothing to do with Eid btw)

I am having issues with my eldest one. He`s nearly 10. And I thought I would share this with you all to get your opinions about it as I am at a loss honestly. My gut is telling one thing and people are telling me a million different things. what I think is right is not up for discussion and I am certain of it. It’s what to do bout it.

Last weekend my kids were invited to a birthday party. Now birthdays here get really ridiculous sometimes. They are over the top and way too expensive. The worrying trend which I have noticed at a few birthday parties I Have been to is that at the end of the party all the kids start tearing down the decorations and breaking them apart. Leaving a huge mess in their wake. Foam cut outs are smashed and balloons are popped and banners are torn down. It’s totally insane!

So at this birthday party the mayhem started and my son joined in. I saw footage of this which was taken on a mobile phone and it was crazy! The boys were breaking foam boards on each others heads and jumping on the tables. My kids nanny was trying to get them stop but they didn’t.

I was FUMING when he got home. Like irrational fuming. I wanted to send him back to clean it up but the boy whose birthday it was was also doing the same and I couldn’t make all the other boys clean up and I couldn’t send my son to their place late at night to clean up a mess made by a dozen other boys as well. I couldn’t also just ignore it.

I was angry at him at his sister although she only popped a few balloons and stopped when the nanny told her to stop. I was angry at the nanny because she should have pulled him out the second he started breaking things. When I calmed down I could see her point that she was trying to get him out and didn’t think it would be ok to grab him and pull him out in front of the other adults who were there and not doing anything. Obviously they didn’t mind this happening. She did try to get him out three times then finally 20 minutes into the chaos she got him out. I still think if she had called me I would have given her the green light to literally pull him out of there or would have come and did it myself.

I sat him down and asked him what he thought happened after all the boys went home? Who he thought would be cleaning that up? It would be a worker who has left his or her children in their country to come over here and clean up after spoilt brats who don’t think twice about wasting so much money and tearing up all the decorations. I asked him what he thinks those people think of him. I asked him what he thinks their kids would think of him.

I was furious! I had to leave to a dinner I was invited to but called him up again on the way to tell him off and again in the middle of the dinner. He said “I’m sorry” I said “Don’t ask forgiveness from me ask forgiveness from God cause what you did was “haraam” (meaning against islamic teachings). My elder sister, whose son was also there, was also really unhappy about the whole thing. But she thought I was blowing it out of proportion. “He’s only 9” she said. “EXACTLY” is what I said. 9 years old is old enough to know that tearing up decorations at a birthday party is NOT OK

! I was trying to find a punishment to fit the crime. I was grounded A LOT when I was a child because of school issues and in the end it didn’t really mean anything to me and I don’t want that to happen. I feel like taking away the I Pad is turning into my grounded. It’s getting to be ineffective.

My brother came up with the idea to make him clean up. But when? When his friends come over? What if they make a huge mess and then leave. He has to clean up their mess? I thought I would get him to set the table and wash up after everyone is done with dinner. The problem is they travelled with my husband the day after the party. So this punishment is delayed till they get back.

It’s not so much a punishment as to make them realise that a lot is done for them and they have to be more appreciative of things. I’m actually thinking of making a ‘help free’ day in the week to give them some perspective. I’m so worried about them turning into spoilt brats! Actually I’m worried about what I would do to them if they did!

My biggest issue is the following. Some of the kids who are at these parties go there with their nannies. Some of them don’t listen to their nannies. Some of them get away with acting like animals and have no consequences in situations like this where “no one is getting hurt” but people are getting hurt! The people who have to clean up after them and the people who spent hours decorating the place. So how do I get my kids to not be separated from all these children, who are mostly good children who go by different rules than mine, while not doing these destructive obnoxious wasteful things?

The first rule is that they are NOT allowed to do the same in my house. If they start and won’t stop I will ask them to leave. And outside the house I will pull my kids out of a situation where all the children there are doing something I think is wrong and explain why to him and pray to God that it will stick! In about 3-4 years time I will be shut out of my son’s life and bashing up decorations will be replaced with God knows what and I need him to have the sense to stop even if everyone else is doing it!

A little side note: This is not the way every birthday party is here in Saudi. This is the way it is at some parties and my kids happen to be invited to them quite a lot. The majority of parties though that we have been to have been fun, understated, under control kids parties. I feel like reading this now after a few days have past since the incident that I was very angry writing it (which I had every right to be) so I’m not going to edit out the angry. But I wanted to point out that had the parents all been there the majority would not have liked what was happening but mostly nannies take the kids to the parties and mothers are not expected to come. And most nannies are there to make sure the children don’t get hurt and stay looking clean. Thats about the extent of nannying they do.


So my question is: How do I get my kids to see the majority doing things they think are insanely fun and expect them not to do it? Is 9 years old too young for me to hold him accountable and expect him to know it’s not ok to bash up the place even though a dozen other kids were doing it without getting reprimanded? How do I make my children not one of the sheep? 


  1. Salaam Ya Maama, I definitely understand your anger, which is justified, by the way. I think you should let your son understand that sometimes it’s not wrong for him to join other kids in having INSANE fun, however, it is wrong for him not to have obeyed his nanny when she told him to stop. And NO 9 years old is not too young for you to hold him accountable(I think Islam says 7years or so,I am not sure)Anyways, i think you should let this one go with the promise that next time it happens, there will be consequences.
    Hope what I said makes some sense?
    Btw, I enjoy reading your blog!

    • Salam, thanks for the reply and the support, I think you’re probably right. He has never been in a situation like this before so maybe I let this one go. Hopefully it got through to him that this is unislamic, uncivilised and wrong. I visited your blog it’s lovely!

  2. perhaps the old reverse psycology ….Incentivise….next time that happens I will give you ( something he would really like…Even a date with Momma)….if youtake responsibility, walk away and leave the other kids to behave badly without you……

    • I love that idea. It may be a better way with him. And will make him feel proud to not have done it rather than be afraid to do it! As always you give excellent advice! I think you shoukd write another book focusing on the older years!

  3. Ya allah!!! I hear you, i think our boys suffer from a lot of pent up energy and its hard for a 9 year old high on sugar to not get carried away woth mob mentality. If they are all doing it why not join in? I dont even think he conciously can ask himself this question. I think all boys espesially need and can benifit greatly from a rigorouse sports routine. Learning respect for the game, spotanship, team playing and even self respect and how to behave as he is a model for his team and represents them. I honestly believe that just as we hire british nannies to teach our kids manners and watch over them, i believe the next step for boys is hiring a coach, a male figure, who, if was at that party would never have let that behaviour fly and the boys would have been made to perform some regorouse sports punisment like running ten laps till all the pent up energy was out and then discussed behaviour and respect. Boot camp style. Sofetly softly doesnt work with our boys. I want them to jump to attention and yes mam, no sir sort of thing.

    Is that insain????

    • After talking to j, my counsel on all things boys. You know downstairs, get a huge cork board one for S and one for J. A personality vision board for each of them. Get them to do it with you. Make them list what kind of a person they wanted to be, what charachteristics they want to grow into. Remember what L said when we were in khobar how he always points out to B what peoples choices have been to end up where they were in life. All of our kids need clear a precise rules. And our nannies need to know what we expect of them. Have a family meeting kids and nannies after listing the rules, and make sure the kids know that in your absence nanny is in charge. Ask S if he would have behaved this way if you or his baba was there? And get him to explain why.

      Male role models for our boys!!!!! Men who they look up to, who can guide them and teach them. Like Big Brothers in america, maybe we should make a group of five family’s who’s dads spend time with the boys on weekends. Bottom line is i think our kids need more time with US!!!! They want quality one on one time with mom and dad, to grow the bond that will stop him from disappointing you when situations like this occur. I will shut up now

      Ps i miss you

      • I totally agreeeee with the whole limitary philosophy with boys sometimes it’s what they need! And you’re totally right there was no way he could have stopped to think about what was happening in that situation. And I agree that boys that age would have benefitted from a man setting up games and competitions and activities for them.
        J Best advice I have gotten so far! I love the idea! I am researching as we speak.
        I’m lucky my husband does things with my son. One on one boys time and both of them love it. It’s scary having 3 boys when I grew up in a house full of women with only one brother. I don’t know boys!!! I remember telling my husband that after about the age of 7 the boys are his! Unless he wants them to talk and act like me that is lol.
        Miss you too! Hope you’re having a blast! And thank you both for the advice!

  4. I think what he did was totally peer pressure. Talk to him and say when I send you to a birthday I expect you to behave etc if you don’t follow the rules I can’t send you because you’re not acting like a 10 year old. I know you can behave.
    I also heard that the whole “you know what son? if is all my fault I don’t think i brought you up well enough” talk works wonders.
    Each child is different.. I realised that the key is to stay calm and make sure he knows how you feel and how others feel.
    Next time he goes to a party and he doesn’t do that .. Tell him how glad you are that he has changed and to keep up the good behaviour.
    الله يبارك لك فيهم يا رب

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