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He wasn’t happy about any of this, but understood. And at that point, it was about letting him have his feelings, while telling him he needed to settle down because I wasn’t going to be abused by them. With the limit combined with a little redirection, he was fine.
I actually consider it totally unreasonable that the toy broke so easily. He knows we’re returning another gift to that store and wants to get the nicer arrow set with that (and some of his birthday money), so I am going to take the toy in and explain the situation and see what they do. But I wasn’t about to drive home the lesson that you can do anything you want and expect someone else to clean up your mess. Yet, as his mother, I am going to try and help clean this one up (and teach the store a lesson in selling cheap toys for little children at way more than they are worth). He’s still disappointed, but I think he learned the lesson.
In your situation, the lesson your children faced was this: “You can spend money on anything you want, but you can only spend it one time.” In our family, we actually have rules for “kid game places” that include this same lesson: “You may spend your money however you want. You may not complain to me about the way you choose to spend your money.” Because there won’t always be someone there with another quarter, I’d would not have offered that. I would consider offering “grace” by going next week if the tantrum was an unusual behavior expression. But I consider this lesson really important since I didn’t start learning it until my late 20s.
The logical consequence is, they regretted the way they chose to spend their money. The lesson? Make a different choice next time. The result, they were frustrated and disappointed. But the behavior is where the problem is.
Another example: the other day we went on a walk to the park, and on the way home Liam found a golf ball. He wanted to use it in his homemade sling shot. I told him that wouldn’t work and was telling him that he couldn’t bring it inside. Before I got to, “You may keep it outside and play with it,” he impulsively threw it on the other side of a locked chain-link gate. When he realized what I was going to say, he started crying about how much he wanted it back.