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?