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Tell my 4.5 year old that his scooter was stolen?

Jan 2011

I'm debating whether to tell my 4.5 year old son that his brand new scooter that he loves was stolen from our backyard. He has a younger brother and is just getting better at sharing, understanding the idea that his toys will come back to him. I think it would be useful for him to understand why we have to put away and lock up toys in our yard, but I also am sad to have his innocence spoiled in this way, and worry that he might not understand why someone would steal -- perhaps he is too young to have to deal with this if I have the option of protecting him from it.

Either way, I'm going to get him a scooter just like the one that was stolen.

I'm interested in hearing from parents what ages they started to talk about humanity's moral failings and how their kids understood it. No judgmental language, please. Sad about a scooter.

Hi there, I saw your post and it reminded me of my mom. When we were very little, we hatched chicks for a science project. When I was a teen, I found out that overnight one of the chicks had died and my mom decided to drive around to local farms at 4:30 a.m. to find another chick to substitute so we would not have to deal with the sadness of the real story. When possible, she did this kind of thing up until I was an adult. Looking back, I think that it's really funny, sweet and cool that she protected us like that. Every now and then I wonder if this stuff has had an impact on me not dealing so well with disappointment and loss, but I can't prove that. I think either way (telling him or not) will be fine. Using your judgment as to when to shelter and when to not is a tough part of parenting. Just make sure that he gets both. It sucks to learn that the world is a tough place, but it is necessary for when he is on his own. Sheltered by Mom

In a word, yes. As parents, we must make hard decisions about telling the truth and acting with integrity. Especially if we want them to do the same. Tell your child the truth

My daughter's beloved bicycle she had just learned to ride was stolen last year when she was 6 and my son was 3 1/2. We were going to get it when were realized it was stolen, so no option about telling her. I just had to do it. She was very upset. Her grandfather was there and instantly offered to run out and buy her a new bike, but my instinct told me to decline for the time being. She cried all day and we talked together, with my younger son, about the reasons someone might have stolen it, that it was wrong, and that unfortunately people don't always act right in the world. Both children got so much out of that experience. Even a year later they both talk about different ideas about what the person might have been thinking and how the person never considered my daughter's feelings when he/she acted. I haven't ever regretted the way it all played out. My daughter did get a new bike for her birthday, and while she still really misses her first bike, I think she was able to mourn it and think about it in a way that will help her make sense of the world. Good luck! Holly

thanks for giving BPN members the opportunity to respond to your dilemma and for seeking out advice: i see no reason not to use this an opportunity to talk about the realities of life and to offer an explanation about the haves and have nots. as well as why someone may want to take something that doesn't belong to them. it's a wonderful chance to allow him to ask questions and ponder complicated issues and work them out for himself. while we may all want to protect our children from the cruelties in this world, it's also a gift to start pondering the dualities we live in; the economic differences he may start to notice in school, on the street, among friends, etc; how people can be unkind to one another; how privileged he is that his parents have the means to buy him a new scooter, etc. unless you have an extremely sensitive child and know somehow this will devastate him (even though you are replacing it immediately), i think it's a grand opportunity for an interesting conversation and to support his feelings around it. a mom who talks to her 3 year old

If you are going to replace the scooter, then I would say not to tell your son about the theft. I have discussed the big bad world with my son (now five), but I have to say that the thing that upsets him the MOST is the thought of strangers coming into our home (or yard). He translates it into ''someone could take me away'' although we have never discussed kidnapping, of course! I feel that he has time to learn about the bad people of the world, so if you can wait a bit longer, then do. anon

Honestly, I wouldn't tell him. I'd just quietly replace it, and tell him that you need to put things away because things can get lost if they aren't put away. Depending on your kid, he could get needlessly paranoid if he knew his scooter was stolen. Mine hit the roof at the merest suggestion that things could happen outside of her control, and it was really disruptive generally. You'll get a whole range of responses on this one, but it's my opinion that 4.5 is too young to be jaded about how nasty the world is. Let him feel safe and secure a little longer, and cross the bridge of telling him about humanity's failings when you really have to. He'll have a lifetime of learning that, but it's really really hard to believe in the innocence of life if the things that are important to you can be taken away. And really, it's a very small proportion of people who would be selfish and vicious enough to do that. Do you want him to focus on that, or on all the people who are so kind in this world? Also, for some age perspective, when I was around 4.5, our car caught on fire, and my mom dragged me out of the far back seat of our VW bug so fast that my favorite brand new shoe fell off. I completely understand why she did that, but I never got a chance to really process the loss, and I don't think she had the $$ to replace the shoe. Sounds completely petty, but it truly upset me--and that wasn't someone coming into my backyard! I swear it's what has made me such a packrat-I'm always afraid things will be taken away from me, and that's the only traumatic thing I can point to. So I'd just replace the scooter, and if he notices, tell him you had to get a new one b/c you noticed that the wheel was wobbly or something. I'm sorry your scooter was stolen. That's a really crummy thing for someone to do.

Hi - My kids were 7 or 8 when their scooters were stolen from the park while we were playing nearby. Their helmuts were the left behind. It was extremely sad for them - lots of crying, etc. We were all careless as we thought the scooters were safe nearby so this was a good a reminder to keep our things closer to us in the future. I consoled them and discussed their feelings, etc., as well as mentioned how others feel if we mistreat their things, etc. I didn't replace the scooter for over a year (actually their aunt gave them scooters one Christmas) because I didn't want them to get the message that when something is stolen, you get it back - having your things stolen is unfair, but many people don't have the ''means'' to replace items that are stolen, so I wanted them to realize that when we break others' things or steal them (without saying that outright) that the owner suffers (they just don't get a new one). I also suggest not saying outright, ''if you put your scooter away this would not have happened'' (your son will figure that out himself and he'll feel bad enough already). If you decide to wait to replace the scooter later, he will be more apt to keep track and care for the scooter. Now at the park, when I remind the kids to bring their bikes/scooters over to me when they're not using them, they immediately comply w/o complaint. I do still have to remind them sometimes, but they are motivated to keep them safe. I hope this helps. Good luck. Anon

Scooter for almost 4 year old?

Jan 2008

My almost 4-year old really wants a scooter. He wants one without the training wheels in back, but I think he would probably need them, at least initially. Can anyone recommend a brand of scooter that would work for a 4 year old who has never been on a scooter? Do most kids this age do OK with no training wheels? I've seen a Kettler scooter with two small back wheels and another model made by Italtrike. Training wheels or no, I'd like to get him something very sturdy while he masters scooter riding. Thanks for your suggestions!

We just got our kids Razors. They picked it up pretty fast (yes, there were plenty of scraped knees at the start), but as long as they wear helmets they're fine. The balance they learn on a scooter really helps them when it comes time to learn to ride a bike as well - our kids picked it up really fast. scooter family

We got a regular Razor scooter, basic low end model, for my then 3.5 year old, and he did great with it -- I was concerned that it would be too hard for him to balance, but it turns out he just didn't go very fast at first, enjoyed practicing with it, and of course we padded him up with helmet, knee pads, etc. I was impressed with his ability to figure it out, and not to injure himself (in a way, it's probably safer than a bike, since you just put your foot down when you start to wobble). He has several friends w/the same scooter, and they're not exceptionally athletic or anything, so my guess is that it's a pretty ''normal'' choice for a 4 yr old.

The Mini Micro Scooter is such a great scooter that I was compelled to write a review on Amazon (which I never do)! It is a 3 wheel scooter and I think the weight limit is 50lb, so I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but check it out. I have not seen anything comparable in the U.S. wish they made it for adults!

Older Reviews

Nov 1998

The Lakeshore Education supply store sells two wonderful scooters, one with 3 wheels for younger children (2-3), one with 2 wheels for older children. They are probably expensive; my son uses them at school. Try calling Lakeshore in Oakland (Marina exit) or Walnut Creek (Mt. Diablo Blvd) to find out the price and whether they have them in stock. Sima