Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When Kids Lose Stuff

I've written a discussion point over at the Brit Mums web site, but thought I's put it here too - to get your opinion about something:

So my 8 year old has lost his DS. He's only had it since Xmas but since we're travelling soon, it is a rather bad time to be losing it. We have traced it back to Saturday, when he went to a party (and dad took him, so it's not my fault.) We have torn the car and the house apart, and although I'm the kind of person who thinks things will eventually turn up, it's not looking too good.
What to do?
I don't want to be the kind of mother whose kids are so terrified that they lie about losing things. On the other hand, I know everyone loses things from time to time, and it's usually not done with any malice. However I also want them to know it's a big deal. Yes, we could probably afford to replace it, but I'm not going to. He needs to know that these type of presents are huge treats and not disposable.
A few years ago we bought the Queenager an I-Phone for Xmas. A huge deal although it didn't cost that much on our plan. On the VERY SAME DAY she lost her I-pad that we were going to give to grandma. Her reaction? It wasn't that bad since she now had an I-Phone. Gah! You can imagine how strongly I impressed on her that it did matter! (That one eventually turned up a whole year later, wedged between box spring and frame of her bed.) She recently forgot to take same phone out of jeans pocket when going to the loo, dropped it into the toilet bowl and is now craning to see texts since the light won't work! (We will probably have to replace that since she's off to college, but for now, she can live with the inconvenience of rubbish texting ability).
Anyway, lest I bore you all to death with tales of my careless kids, I was just wondering what anyone else thought of the right parental response when kids lose things


  1. This is the stuff of nightmares! Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration! Our 13 year old is onto her third mobile phone in 6 months. The first one she lost. The second one she said was stolen. The replacement costs came on top of all the games that she downloaded against our wishes and cost us a small fortune. Oh well...


  2. Toilet bowl texting, that is the best of all consequences. My second, Jackson is very dreamy and loses things things all the time and we have held off the i-Phone for him, though its punishing me more as I need to forward email sports instructions to him all the time. And come to think of it the Apple doesn't fall very far from the tree, I found my very expensive Tom Ford glasses under my bed (I had already bought another pair)

  3. The toilet bowl thing happened to my niece too. She and her brother have been through tons of phones. I would be most unsympathetic and tell them they had to replace them themselves - that'll make them take better care in future.

    My husband is prone to losing/breaking things, but he does try not to. Son has seen the hassle of getting a broken iphone screen repaired etc etc, and when he broke my old laptop we made him pay for a new one from his savings (he was supposed to earn the money to pay his savings back but that sort of slipped after a while).

    When he downloaded £50 of music from itunes we also made him pay. We were particularly cross about that as he had an itunes voucher but had forgotten about it, and we already owned several of the songs on CD anyway. Husband has since changed his login details on itunes...

    Now if Son wants something he has to earn the money to pay for it, and we won't pay upfront either, as when we did that he had to be forced into paying us back.

    I think he's learning. He recently saved up and bought himself a PS3, so he's learning the value of things slowly. On the phone front, he's never lost his but he only has a £20 phone. If he ever wants an more expensive one, he knows what he has to do!

  4. I'm a big believer in deterrence. Therefore, when we got our kids their first phones, we told them that there would be no replacements if they lost them...which we meant, to a certain extent. We both felt that they should have phones for (their)safety and (our) convenience, but we certainly didn't think they needed all the bells and whistles. Therefore, when Son #1 lost his phone (after more than a year of excellent stewardship) Husband went out and bought the plainest, ugliest, most unsexy telephone that could be found with a bare-bones plan (calls only, no texting or anything fun) and presented this clunky item to him as the replacement. Son #1 was not thrilled about it, but agreed he'd been warned and glumly began using what he christened 'the i-turd' (it was a lumpy brownish-black phone). 10 days later, he found his phone, but we kept the i-turd in the kitchen drawer, and when Son #2 lost his phone (again, briefly), he knew exactly what the consequence would be. We still, in fact, have it and it is understood that the iTurd is the replacement phone for anyone who is foolish enough to lose his. Result? Both teenagers have never actually 'lost'(only briefly misplaced) their phones. I believe it's because they know what the replacement will be. And as far as replacing laptops or iPads or DSs goes: we just don't do it. They have to shell out the $ themselves. As a result(or maybe not) they take great care of their stuff, and we reward their responsibility accordingly.

  5. In my day of growing up we didn't have cell phones, gosh, I was watching tv in black and white until I was in high school. If I wanted something all the other kids had, say for instance, Levi's jeans, rather than the off brand, I had to do extra chores, and then I was able to have only one pair. With my own children, I didn't want them to feel like the outcast I felt like, but they only got major gifts for Birthday and Christmas, and they knew if they didn't take care of it they wouldn't get a replacement. My daughter learned, fortunately, with a cheap pair of sunglasses. It was the first day of school, she insisted on taking them to school, I warned her someone would take them or they would get broken. The first thing she told me when I saw her after school that day "my sunglasses got stolen", I simply told her I tried to warn her. The sunglasses were not replaced until Easter, when she got a new pair in her Easter Basket (the Easter Bunny brought them). You have to be tough, kids don't want to listen, and unfortunately we now live in what has become a disposable world.

  6. On a different note.
    I don't have a blog, so I post anonymously. You posted some time back about your worry about going to Africa and the bug attack you might endure. I received this email today, I don't know if there is any truth to it, but I wanted to share with you just in case it helps:

    The US Postal service sent out a message to all letter carriers to put a sheet of Bounce in their uniform pockets to keep yellow jackets away.

    I use them all the time when playing baseball and soccer.
    I use it when I am working outside. It really works. The insects just veer around you.
    All this time you've just been putting Bounce in the dryer!
    1. It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them.
    2. It also repels mice.
    Spread sheets around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.
    3. It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.
    4. It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.
    5. Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer ) screen.
    6. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.
    7. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.
    8. To freshen the air in your home - Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.
    9. Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.
    10. Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.
    11. Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.
    12. To freshen the air in your car - Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.
    13. Clean baked on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.
    14. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.
    15. Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
    16. Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.
    17. Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.
    18. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
    19. Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.
    20. Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees away.
    21. Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them. It will keep them smelling fresh.
    22. Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, and wipe love bugs off easily with the wet Bounce.

    Quick, bounce this along! Nothing will happen if you don't, but your friends will be glad to hear these hints!

  7. No Two grandson left his brother's DS + £400 worth of games (also belonging to his bro), on a coach and never got any of it back.
    Grandson One, who is autistic, was furious and needed the games to calm him down as he isn't good with change!
    Insurance wouldn't pay up!
    One angry scene that lasted all weekend!
    These things are so expensive and children seem to take everything for granted and seem to be so careless.
    Now they are wanting iPads. Hope if they get them, they'll take better care of them.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  8. Well, Tiger Mother would say... Only kidding.
    My parents have always been tough about losing things. Not that I'd get punished, but they made very clear that I had to pay for the replacement myself. I think I am going to handle it in the same way.

  9. I suppose the way I get around it is I'm one of the kids too. Like I have a cheapo digital camera so if I or they smash it or lose it it's no big shakes. Also I really don't buy them anything valuable and luckily they have never badgered me about getting a DS. My 10 year old does have an Ipod actually but has had it 2 years and for some reason hasn't lost it yet!

  10. I hate that, because it's such a human thing to do and I always lose things, too. I suppose if they've lost something they really care about, I would believe in "natural consequences" as a punishment - i.e. they go without for a while. As for other stuff - chores? Replacing it out of their own pocket? Tell me when you work out a good solution then I can use it when mine grow up a bit.

  11. I don't know of a good solution, but I do remember what it's like to be the kid that loses stuff. That was me. As a kid, I lost many sweaters, and other items I can't remember. The thing that taught me to be more careful was when I lost the most awesome Donny & Marie lunch pail. That one really hurt and I was more careful after that, but I never got a replacement and I scour ebay Thirty years later looking for my own replacement.


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