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SS11 loses and/or breaks things all the time!!!!

MrsMiserable's picture

My 11 year old SS is awkward and clumsy as hell and can barely walk in a straight line without tripping over his own feet. He's also very fidgety and will literally mess with anything that happens to be in front of him including other people's stuff.  We went over to MIL's house last weekend to see her new puppy and I look over and he's fidgeting with the knife set that is sitting on the counter. I tell him to stop touching it, he puts the knife down and starts messing with MIL's little glass figurines. It drives me absolutely crazy!! 

But what's worse is that he also doesn't take care of any of his stuff and breaks things all the time. We have replaced his school headphones FIVE times this school year because he has broken them. He got a $300 Nintendo Switch for his birthday in October and already dropped it and cracked the screen. He dropped my son's ipad last year and it shattered. He has lost his lunchbox twice and DH ran right out and bought him brand new ones. Yesterday I had to drive DH's truck and when I slid the seat forward I there were three tiny Nintendo Switch games underneath the seat where SS had had them in the backseat last week. These are all brand new games he got for Christmas and there they are just smashed up under the car seat. I was pissed. I took them into DH and told him flat out I will not spend one more dollar on SS11 until he learns to take care of his stuff. 

DH goes in his room and opens his closet and there is a literal PILE of stuff in there that he had apparently been hiding from us. The pile included DH's $60 Playsation headphones broken in half, a jacket we got him for Christmas that still had the tags on it but was covered in melted candy cane pieces, a poster my mom bought him for Christmas that had been crushed all to hell, a stack of school work half of which looks like it was supposed to be returned to school but had just been thrown in the closet, and his freaking violin is sitting on top NOT in the case and with a big dent in the front of it. 

I do not understand this. I have another SS he's 9 and two bios the same ages as the boys and none of them are destructive like this kid. I taught my kids from a very early age to take care of their stuff. This crap costs money and I absolutely refuse to just keep blowing through money when he breaks it or loses it. My DH's famous answer is "I'll talk to him again about being more responsible" OK in my opinion, the "talking" is doing absolutely nothing. I don't think this should just be brushed off as normal boy behavior. If it were one of my bios I would be taking stuff from them as punishment and also making them do extra chores to pay for some of this. Am I wrong???

Siemprematahari's picture

Has your SS been diagnosed with any developmental issues? Perhaps he needs to be evaluated and see if his clumsiness and lack of regard of his and others belongings is an issue that needs to be addressed. In the meantime, I'd have H look into that and not spend one more dime on him. Until he can prove that he can take care of things, he would only get the basic necessities. Your H's "talking" to him is not changing anything so perhaps he needs to go about it in a new way. Afterall, doing the same thing over & over again and expecting a different result is insane.

Sucks that you're going through this and I understand completely why it's upsetting.

Iamwoman's picture

You are not wrong at all!

The kid should absolutely NOT get a replacement item for carelessly broken things.

I would only make him pay for items that belong to someone else.

For instance, if the violin is a school rental, SS works his butt off until he pays you back for the damages. Same with your stuff, DH's stuff, and anyone else's too, like the other kids stuff.

This kid needs to know that being careless is a choice. Accidents do not "just happen." Accidents happen when one or more people are being reckless or careless.

Doing nothing is a choice, and thus an action.

Carelessness is a choice, and thus an action.

So many people seem to think that if they don't say or do something, or if things are ruined through neglect, they are not to blame. Entirely untrue. We can be responsible for doing nothing as equally as we can be responsible for doing something.

With our children, we have to use dramatic examples to get through to them. The example I like to use is a manslaughter charge. If someone kills another human due to carelessness on their part, the killer will not go free simply because "it was an accident." The killer will still do jail time under a manslaughter charge... because careless destructiveness is a crime!

ESMOD's picture

It sounds like he maybe needs to be monitored more when he has valuable things.  Perhaps he should have to "check out" items like his games.. so that he doesn't have constant access to accidentally step on it.. under piles of other crap?

I would also tell your DH that he needs to start "not replacing" items.  If he breaks things.. they need to be repaired.. as best they can.. or discarded and SS goes without.  For school needed items.. he needs to earn money to replace them.

I would also second some evaluation.. he may have motor skill problems too that are making it tough for him to "be careful"

futurobrillante99's picture

Separate your finances from your husband. Let him feel the pain of paying for new stuff all the time.

Goodluck's picture

HOLY COW---an 11 year old getting a Nintendo Switch...

Does he behave this way at school? You can learn a lot and I mean a lot by asking his teacher.

Does he accidently break stuff and touch EVERYTHING at his moms house too?. Or does this happen only at your house and dh's family ie The Mother in Laws house.

If only at your house and dh's have a big problem. Trust me, I lived it.

watch your bio's and believe them IF they say they were hurt by bm's kid, watch your pets and watch your stuff.



Harry's picture

He not parenting his kid.  He actually not caring about his DS.  HE NEVER checked his room until now.  He does not know that his DS is or is not turning homework or school projects?  does he ever speak to SS teachers ?  You should send this back to BM. She can not do a worst job and at least it will be her problem 

Then again it will be too much to expect DH to get his kid help.  To see what's wrong with him.  Just order a pile of sand for DH to stick his head into 

MrsMiserable's picture

Agreed. Even if SS has some kind of developmental delay or ADHD DH would never take the time to actually do anything about it. Not my kid, not my problem at this point. 

Cover1W's picture

I came up with a firm rule in our home.  If something was broken due to carelessness, roughhousing, or just being reckless with something I do not replace. I used to be the fixer of stuff in our home, but no more.  Recently SDstb14 broke her recently installed closet door due to messing around in her room, and lied about it (like other things broken). DH refused to do anything about it so I had to MAKE him look at the damage (he didn't want to - escapism anyone?) then I made him take the door down to the storage area where it will remain until he wants to fix it or we sell the house. 

Just one example.

Rags's picture

I would say SS is careless.  Carelessness was a huge triger for my dad.  It infuriates him.  We were raised to not run in the house, to sit calmly, keep our hands to ourselves and away from things that were not ours. If we were careless and broke our things, they were not replaced.

When SS was about the age of your SS (11-ish) he and my 6yo nephew were at my parents house and lost track of their brains.  The took off running through the living room with my SS behind his cousin.  My nephew dashed between the sofa and a buffet followed by my SS. One of them bumped into a knob on a buffet drawer and broke it off.  Dad was pissed.  He stood htem in the middle of the room, gave them the long and very stern version of lecture #27-B on carelessness, then loaded them in his truck and went off to th furniture store to buy a replacement knob.  Mom and dad have nice things. The knob was nearly $100.  After that my SS and his cousin became the carelessness police at my parents house.  When my Niece and youngest nephew were there with SS and my eldest nephew they would keep the other two in line so Deepa did not give them the lecture.  They recount that story when we are all together for family gatherings.  Dad made such an impression on them regarding carelessness that they took it to heart and it remains firmly burned into their brains 20+ years later..

Give that a try.  He breaks his things, the are thrown away and not replaced.  He sits quietly and calmly. Period.  Place him where  you want him to sit with an eye for his seat being out of reach of any temptations.

Zero tolerance will drive the message home.

You just have to lather, rinse, repeat.

It worked for us and for our kids. My dad made sure the message was clearly received.

MrsMiserable's picture

When the boys came back for the week last night DH sat SS11 down and "talked" to him about the switch games and the broken headphones and crap we found piled up in his closet. He told him he was taking his Nintendo Switch away until he could learn to be more responsible with stuff. SS starts crying hysterically and DH immediately starts hugging him and asking if he's ok. Then proceded to tell him he only has to lose it for two days he can have it back Friday evening after school Great job DH you really showed him... It took every bit of self control I had not to march in the room and go off on the both of them. 

nappisan's picture

i completely feel your pain MrsMiserable!!!  my SS12 maliciously vandelises my personal belongings from putting  slash marks across my fridge and car to stealing money and belongings but DH does nothing except have the 'talk' with him to explain how we need to respect our and others belongings ,,,,, yeh right talk talk talk!!!! these kids need a boot up the ass and have all their belongings stripped from their bedroom etc and never returned.  i did this with my son when he was younger, he is now 17 and is extremely humble , polite and respects the household and everything in it.  why some of these men let their bio children get away with things like this is a mystery!