I have had an issue with my seven year old son lately. Actually since he was about four. It may be a boy thing but it is very irritating. He really likes to rip his clothes. For being a boy he usually takes very good care of his clothes, no stains and spots (like his sister). My mom and sister say he doesn't get dirty because I chased him around with a wash cloth when he was a baby (first child, didn't happen with the second).
Well anyway he has ripped the knees out of numerous pairs of jeans, on purpose, what starts as a little wear or a small hole ends up to being the whole front of his jeans ripped. They are usually ripped so bad that I can't patch them. He has also poked a fork through one of his shirts making tiny little holes, and then picking at them until he has a huge hole.
The most recent incident was the other night. He had on a pair of socks that he recieved for Christmas. The heal on one of the socks was starting to get a little thin and he sat there and completely ripped his sock until there was only two little threads holding it together. I was unaware of him doing this until he brings the sock to me and says, "Do you think its time to throw this away?" I was so upset. I know it was just a sock, but its the whole point of:
1. this is not the first item of clothing he has completely destroyed
2. we don't have money coming out of our ears
and most importantly
3. the lack of respect for his things.
We have tried many forms of discipline in the past and nothing has worked. We have spanked, lectured until we were blue in the face about the importance of taking care of his things and about the fact that his dad works all the time so that we can have nice things and he shouldn't tear them up on purpose. We also made him take 30 dollars from his savings for vacation last year and buy himself a new summer wardrobe from a childrens consignment store. None of these punishments seemed to work. I hated to make him spend his own money on clothes, but we felt that was the only way he would learn...Wrong.
I must say that my son is not a terrible kid. He is the absoluted cutest little boy, with big blue eyes and he always has a huge smile on his face. He has the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone, he's also very sensitive and sweet. He doesn't get in trouble very often, so this is totally out of character for him.
Well, after the sock incident, I think I finally found a fitting punishment. He does pretty well in school but he hates to write(doesn't get that from me). So I decided to do the old school punishment and make him write "I will not rip my clothes" 30 times. You would have thought I beat the child or something worse. He cried for 10 minutes before writing anything down, and then when he did start writing he screamed that I was the meanest mommy ever and that he was going to die before he got that done. Well what would only have taken about 5-10 minutes took my little man 45 minutes, but you know what he didn't die and his hand didn't fall off. He did have a tear soked paper when he was finished.
Hopefully he will think about this before ripping anymore clothes. By the way I think my punishment must have been pretty good, I won the Meanest Mommy in the World Award, but I was loved again 10 minutes after he finished. Doesn't that mean I did something right.
His daddy won the Meanest Daddy in the World Award, yesterday for making him write "I will not touch the t.v." 30 times. Let me just say so far this has been the only punishment that he has hated so much, not even the taking cartoons away for 1 month was this bad to him. This will probably not work with every child. Hopefully it will not only teach him a lesson for the crime, but also help him with his writing....or maybe just add to his hate for it.
Parenting is always an adventure.