Husband wants to cancel Christmas

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2005
Husband wants to cancel Christmas
19
Wed, 12-14-2005 - 10:52pm

We had a major incident here. My girls totally trashed their room today. This is a daily thing. I mean every toy is on the floor, every book off the shelf. We have taken everything away, we have grounded them...it just doesn't seem to matter because they just don't seem to care about any of their things. So anyways, my husband walks into their room to find my seven year old walking on top of all the toys and books. He starts yelling and I go in there to find that several of the books have pages torn out of them. It just like a hurricane hit. I start getting them to clean up when I find the Leapad in the corner with a glass of water that was brought into the room (a definate no-no) spilled on it. Needless to say it no longer works.

Hubbie is saying that he is cancelling Christmas. He wants me to take all the gifts back and inform my family that the girls will not be having Christmas this year because they are not appreciative of the things they already have so why should anyone give them anything else. He wants to take down the Christmas tree and the outside lights. He is VERY angry.

Now, I think this is extreme but I can totally understand why he is going ballistic because this is an issue we have been pulling our hair out. I tried to discuss it with him but he is being very stubborn about this. He even told the girls he was calling Santa to cancel their gifts and have them put on the naughty list. Now the girls are hysterical. Of course, I am totally stressed out because I have him stomping around and the girls crying. What do I do?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Wed, 12-14-2005 - 11:10pm

Oh dear...

As you are probably already aware, the problem with what has just happened is that your husband has now rewarded your daughters with a huge exciting burst of emotion and attention.

I do hear your husband's extreme and justified frustration, having been there myself. I found a solution that has worked very well for us which you might consider, but it has been unpopular on this board for reasons that I still don't fully understand. My first grader's teacher loved my idea and so have most people that I have talked to in person about 'our plan.' But it apparently didn't translate well here. :)

So... in order to avoid another big debate... if you want to know what it is and didn't read about it earlier, send me an email and I will tell you what we did and you can decide if it might be a solution for your family.

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 12-15-2005 - 8:56am

Maybe let them earn the toys and books that have been taken away back slowly?

Maybe set up a system where they can "check out" toys and books but they must be "checked back in" in order to get something new out to play with?

Maybe make them donate some of what they have now?

If they break something that belongs to another person, put them "in service" to the owner of the item. They have to do stuff for the other person for the rest of the day - get their shoes and coat for them, clean up after them, help them out all day.

Maybe have them get a phone call from "Santa" telling them how disappointed he is in their behaviour?

Carissa
~ momma to bookworm Keithen (2/1/99), artist 

Avatar for snowbabies97_98
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 12-15-2005 - 10:18am

I can understand why your DH is so upset, but cancelling Christmas is a little much, IMO.

Rebecca

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Thu, 12-15-2005 - 12:03pm

I like the idea of the phone call from Santa because it helps your husband to save face. Even though I think it wasn't the best idea to threaten to cancel Christmas, if he completely backs down now that won't be good for your girls either.

Have 'Santa' call the girls and tell them he heard about what happened. Have him say that after a lot of thought he and your husband have decided not cancel Christmas this year afterall; however, after Christmas they have to put all but one of their new Christmas toys away. For every day (or two days - however long you think appropriate) that they show you they can treat their toys kindly and put them away properly, they can choose one more toy to take out. Have Santa tell them that he and the elves have been working hard on all the toys and he really hopes that the girls will treat the toys nicely. Otherwise, Daddy may decide to find new homes for them afterall.

Something like that. Good luck!

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-08-2005
Thu, 12-15-2005 - 12:12pm

wow. i can definately see your guys' frustration. my girls can be pretty UNgrateful with their things also. maybe not taking back their christmas gifts, but just waiting for them to earn them is an option. though, your dh's idea might teach them a lesson they won't forget! another option might be to let them know that the gifts you had bought for them will now be going to needing childen who will appreciate getting something for christmas. make it a double lesson learned!
good luck in your decision.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 12-15-2005 - 9:33pm

Gosh I hate to add my post but I'm going ot and shelter my head from eggs and tomatoes. LOL!!


I say have Christmas, and have the girls find

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2003
Fri, 12-16-2005 - 2:58am

Hi there. We've been in a similar situation with my daughter as well, and what's worked great for us is the Love and Logic method. One thing I like about it is that the books are an EASY read (I love Dr. Phil, but I can't get through his parenting book! LOL) and broken up in sections. It's all about being empathetic but non-reactive, and when I actually do the things, I have soooo much more energy at the end of the day. One thing I just read the other day in there was that when we get angry and punish in the "typical way", the focus becomes on how mean the parent is, and that's all they're thinking about. In the same way, if Christmas is cancelled, what they'll take away from that (this year and for the rest of their lives...you both may hear about it in therapy LOL) is how mean their parents are. They'll be so angry and hurt they won't learn the lesson you both want them to learn.

That's my two cents. :) Hang in there....I'm sure it's hard to be in the middle of all this, and especially with the added stress of the holidays.

lidami

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Fri, 12-16-2005 - 11:36am

I adore Love and Logic. :) I went and saw Jim Fay speak and really loved what he had to say. I also have two of his books.

I agree with you that one of the main important points about Love and Logic is that parents should stay empathetic to the child's consequences but not save the children from them. That way parents can stay firm with their children while being sympathetic and understanding. A child faced with a sympathetic parent is more likely to be thinking and learning about what just happened, while a child who is faced with an angry, emotional parent is more likely to be thinking about how unfair/mean the parent is. It takes the focus off the lesson itself and robs the child of the opportunity to learn.

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2005
Fri, 12-16-2005 - 2:15pm
Thanks all for the suggestions. As of right now, the tree and outside decorations are still up...I spoke with my mom this morning and let her know what hubbie had said and she was flabbergasted. She told me there was no way they weren't going to give their grandchildren gifts on Christmas whether my husband like it or not. I think that I will try and approach him this evening since he has had some time to calm down and think of a way that we can have Christmas AND still get our point across to the kids. I do like the earning their toys ideas and know that if they had to pack their new toys away after Christmas (especially the bikes) it would certainly make a point. Nothing worse than seeing a new bike parked in the garage and not being allowed to ride it. I will let you all know how the talk with my husband goes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Fri, 12-16-2005 - 7:14pm

Wow, between your husband, your kids and now your mom, you are really stuck in the middle, aren't you? I'm sending big cyber-hugs your way!

Susan

P.S. And it seems to me that your mom can give them whatever gift she wants to, but once it is in your house, you are in charge. :)

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