How old do kids need to be to buy nice things for the house?

Our everyday dishes are scratched, nicked and several from the set are MIA — assumed broken an trashed before confirmation. We’ve had the dishes since our wedding 19 years ago.

The blue couch this sits in our family room has spill stains on both sides of the cushions.  It is thread-bare and my crafty mother helped me staple the cushioning and the liner back in on the lounge part of it. It is 16 years old.

The tables in our family room are also 16 years old. They are scratched and water marked and the “wood” is peeling up in places.

It would be lovely to replace all these things and look at pretty china at dinner and sit on a couch that’s not stained, but are my kids old enough to make that investment now?

Michael says no. He says not until the last one leaves for college.

What do you think? When did you replace the toddler-stained furniture? When can you have adult dishes and not worry about them being dropped when kids set the table?

Did you replace furniture in your house with elementary school kids in your house? What about middle or high school age?

71 comments Add your comment

K's Mom

March 21st, 2013
11:21 pm

I refuse to live in a preschool and plastic slipcovered world because I have small kids. We have a formal living and dining room which are by invitation only for the littles. Our family room, breakfast room and kitchen are very kid friendly, but we have some nice pieces, but no knick knacks in each of these rooms. My almost 3yo knows that crayons and markers stay on his desk in the kitchen and he sits at the table to eat. If kids are never exposed to anything nice at home, how are they ever going to learn to take care of anything? My kids rough house and play freely, but I refuse to live with crappy furniture for the next 18 years when I can have some nice things and teach my kids to take care of things at the same time.

K's Mom

March 21st, 2013
11:23 pm

And our bedroom has nice linens and very nice furniture and again it is off limits to the littles except for when we invite them in. We usually all pile in and watch Disney on Saturday mornings. But deciding you have live in a pit because you have kids is a complete cop out.

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
4:19 am

K’s Mom…I completely agree although I personally am not about designer anything.

I do not own Tupperware nor plastic dishes. Never have except for picnics.

We have nice things that are practical. When we bought our current house, almost 16 years ago, we bought all new family room furniture. The kids were 5 and 10. We eventually replaced everything else in the house too. We had been married for about 15 years and needed to. We also did not have nice things when we were first married, as we did not have the $$.

We bought burgundy leather sofas for our family room in August 2011. I got them at Costco. They were the last ones and I got them both for $700.00. It was an amazing deal and I stood next to them and guarded them while I phoned my husband to get back to the furniture. They originally retailed for over $1000.00 each and were JUST put on clearance to make room for the Christmas things. Late summer is a good time to be on the look out for this. I heard Clark Howard say that Costco is one of the best places for furniture, as the furniture stores have 100% and sometimes 200% mark up due to financing those who end up not paying and offering delivery for free.

We gave out other set to a friend’s son who was just starting out. It was still in decent condition.

Why have a nice house with junk inside? Not me. TWG do you want to live with that for 10 more years? I remember seeing a neighbor’s couch on the curb, for the trash. They purchased it less than 10 years ago. It looked like it had been through a war zone. I thought it was odd.

Momcat

March 22nd, 2013
6:24 am

Easy… Food and drink in kitchen only. Make up an nail polish in bathroom only. Only erasable markers allowed in the house. Other than that.. stuff happens.

catlady

March 22nd, 2013
6:46 am

Well, my eldest is 36 and the “baby” is 27. So, not yet. Although, they aren’t really the reason. I just don’t have a need for “nice things” that can tear up, get dirty, etc. Give me comfortable and functional, and I am okay. I just don’t care about things very much.

Mayhem

March 22nd, 2013
6:52 am

No food or drinks in the living room. We ate at the table.

I’ve always had nice things, my Mom had nice things, my Grandparents had nice things (I have a good bit of their stuff now)..

Slipcovers are wonderful for growing kids. Especially the ones you can machine wash. We had a living room set we bought before kids. We used slipcovers while they were growing up. When we bought the house we are in now, 10 years ago, we bought new living room furniture, and a new bedroom set for us. I’m ready to buy slipcovers again, since I don’t want to spend the money right now for new furniture. I don’t know what I want, so I’ll settle for a slipcover for the moment.

I never had to “baby proof” the house when my kids were little. I did put the expensive pieces up a little higher, but my kids were taught not to play with the good stuff. They had their own toys and a place to play with them. We didn’t allow their “junk” in the living room, but we had a den/basement and they were allowed to play with their stuff there or in their rooms.

If you teach them at an early age, you won’t have much trouble. But if you are one of those parents who let the kids do what they want, and have no control over them, then you are doomed and you will NEVER have anything nice, as they were never taught “RESPECT”.

MomOf2Girls

March 22nd, 2013
7:07 am

My entire set of dishes from my wedding almost 20 years ago has survived, less a plate and a serving dish, both broken by my husband, not a kid. It is up to you to put controls in place, like K’s Mom and MJG described. Let the kids set the table, but put the dishes on the table for them until they are old enough; cover surfaces for messy activities, or have a separate area that can be easily cleaned up; no jumping or otherwise trashing the furniture. The only thing I modified for the kids was to not put out the small antique tables until they were old enough to not worry about falling on top of one and smashing it to bits.

MJG – no Tupperware? I absolutely insist on using real plates, real serving bowls / platters, real glasses, etc. for meals, but what.else do you store leftovers in?

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
7:21 am

@ Mom…I use containers from egg drop soup/takeout, cottage cheese from Costco, margarine tubs etc. I also like those containers that lunch meat comes in. By the time they wear out, I have more. I have never purchased Tupperware. I have purchased some of the plastic lock top type sets.

My Mom and Mother in law had lots of Tupperware. I never cared for it. I did get some passed down to me but it is long gone now. There are just two of us here now and we do not need as much stuff as we used to.

I am not a fancy pants person but I do appreciate nice things.

MomOf2Girls

March 22nd, 2013
7:25 am

Ahhhhh….. I use Tupperware in the generic sense. I also use an amalgamation of various plastic containers for storage.

Happy Friday everyone!

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
7:34 am

HAHA….kind of like southerners call most soda pop a COKE or we call all tissue Kleenex. You have a great day too. I am off this entire week, with no pay, and looking forward to it. Being self employed has it’s ups and downs. My daughter is just now getting the concept of: you have time or money. Finding a balance is tricky but knowing when you get some time off is important too!

Mother of 2

March 22nd, 2013
7:39 am

I still have the furniture from when my kids were little. They are in high school and college now. We also had a rule about eating in the kitchen. Every family is different, so you have to do what’s right for yours. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford disposable furniture, so we had to make it last. My dishes that I got when we were married are all chipped, but it was the dishwasher, not the kids, that created the chips. The dishes were very inexpensive, so it’s possible that they simply weren’t made to last. New dishes are on my list of things I’d like to purchase soon.

When you’re ready to buy nicer things, bring the kids with you and explain why it’s important to take care of what you have so you can spend money on doing the things you like to do as a family. You just might be surprised at how responsible they can be.

FCM

March 22nd, 2013
7:43 am

When I was 40 I bought my new first couch. New means I bought it from a furniture store. It is now 3 years old. My couches until then had been handme arounds from the family. I bought a second one in 2011 for my new…4 months later we got the dog…the couches are ruined!

Last summer I bought a wonderful glass topped coffee table that looks like a film reel. Cost about $250 at Home Goods…so for my world not cheap. Last week my teenager sat on it and I heard a creak (no damage was done). I got after her and her reply was “Why would you buy GOOD furniture with us around?” Honestly, I have no idea except that I am 40 and tired of living in late attic, old garage sale, or early basement style.

I told her that I thought they were pleanty old enough to have some nice things and home of which to be proud. that were broken were theirs!

Since 2005 I have had a mattress set on a good will metal frame. Not a metal bed, just the part that keeps it off the ground. I am purchasing a brand new bedroomset this spring…the children are no longer allowed near my room.

non committal mind reader

March 22nd, 2013
7:48 am

Michael says no. He says not until the last one leaves for college.

Way to go, Michael. For all the, “little ones not allowed” here or there, mistakes will be made and spills will happen. Rules are broken all the time. Better to be dissatisfied with the old couch that angry about the stains on the new couch.

yuki

March 22nd, 2013
7:58 am

The headline makes it sound like the kids are buying nice stuff for the house….just saying

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
7:59 am

Hardwoods downstairs….no food upstairs.

TV trays on the floor in the sun room for dining in front of TV (this is only on days where the family can’t eat together in kitchen for baseball/gynasitc reasons etc. Better to watch TV than dine alone in the kitchen.)

We keep a formal dining room and living room. Don’t let the kids eat on any furniture in that living room….not that they want to. It’s a pretty boring space.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
8:01 am

Woodstock Furniture Outlet. If you’re buying from anywhere else, you’re paying too much.

Mayhem

March 22nd, 2013
8:07 am

I couldn’t imagine “banning” my kids from any part of our home.

And I LOVE the rubbermaid storage containers. My oldest got me a huge 40 piece storage containers for Xmas.

And, my wedding china is still around too. I actually have about 8 sets of dishes I have collected throughout the years. I get that from my Mom, she has so many dishes, a bunch are stored in her basement. I have my wedding china, Christmas china, everyday china, my grandmothers everyday dishes, and a few other sets. We also have a bunch of those “lucite” plates, from Goodwill, that we use when we go outside, or hang with the neighbors. I also have cornered the market on serving platters. My most recent one came from Pottery Barn. It was originally $35.00, we got it at the outlet for $4.95 (it has a very small chip underneath the lip)…..

I love dishes.

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
8:08 am

@ non committal, so do you drive a wreck of a car as ” mistakes will be made”? I do realize that there is car insurance but really? Adults and children both make mistakes. We train children on how to take care of things. They do not come into the world with this formatted into their brain. Perhaps this is why teachers have such a hard time training 20 students when Mom and Dad cannot train 2-4 of their own.

One thing I KNOW when teens and college students have to pay for their own things…they take better care of them than when Mom and Dad foot the bill. I have a friend whose son went into the ocean with his Iphone in his swim trunks pocket, during college spring break at the beach. This is not the first technology item she has repaired/replaced. Second phone and also a Macbook. I told her that if he is paying for it, he will appreciate it more. Not sure what she has decided.

MomOf2Girls

March 22nd, 2013
8:28 am

MJG – I just got my younger daughter her first cell phone (not a smart phone, but one with a full keyboard for easy texting). She knows that if she loses or damages this one, it’s a GO phone for the rest of the contract. Good incentive – you can’t text very well with those!

FCM

March 22nd, 2013
8:35 am

I do plates at homegoods…about $5 a plate. Mine don’t get broken so much as I just want to change it up.

Mayhem

March 22nd, 2013
8:35 am

We subscribed to that theory too. If they buy it themselves they will appreciate it more. My parents also did that to us. They never bought me or my brother a car, but they co-signed for me with my first loan.

If my kids want a big ticket item, they all have jobs, they can buy it themselves. They will appreciate it more and take better care of it.

TallMom

March 22nd, 2013
8:35 am

We’ve always taught our kids to respect our rules and respect people’s belongings, including your own. It doesn’t matter if it’s a craig’s list hand me down or a $3000 couch…you don’t mistreat it, have some manners and follow the house rules.

Everyone wins…kids learn to treat things appropriately and not act like heathens and I don’t have to sit on a disgusting couch.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
8:42 am

Amen TallMom. My daughter has a friend that has no respect for anything. She and her siblings were over a couple of weeks ago…they absolutely trashed our house. They were only over for about 30 minutes. We had taken my daughter’s friend out with us, and her mom and siblings were just over to pick her up.

Hanging on our curtans…..throwing stuff on the floor….running all over the house. Their mom didn’t even speak to them. My daughter told me that their behavior was the norm at their home, and their home is generally unkept and broken down. Incidentally, Mom is a stay at home mother. She’s not doing a great job at her chosen career.

Long time teacher/mother

March 22nd, 2013
8:45 am

I agree that children can be taught to appreciate and take care of nice things. Not only do we adults need to be able to live in as nice an environment as we can afford, the children need to grow up in a nice environment, or what will they have memories of? I am still using my Spode Blue Bird plates that I received for wedding presents in 1971. I have used them continuously except for about three years when my children were first loading and unloading the dishwasher. During that time I used some pretty plates that you could buy piece by piece from the grocery store. My children loved what they called Beaver Dinners (as in Leave it to…) when they got to lower the rheosat and later blow out the candles. Cheap magic! When they later set up house keeping on their own, each asked for one of my plates to hang on the wall in their new homes to remind them of home.

It concerns me to hear of people storing food in plastic containers, especially acidic foods or foods they are going to reheat. I have switched over to glass bowls with snap on lids for my left overs. They are very durable, safe to heat in, and presentable to bring to the table. Check them out!

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
8:50 am

Not positive, but I don’t think plastic can be broken down by acid.

FCM

March 22nd, 2013
8:52 am

@ Tallmom I did not mean to imply that the handme arounds were ok to mistreat…The question was when do you buy the good furniture. I started 3 years ago. I have always been on mine to treat things respectfully.

@Mayham…I doubt the ban will last long but I am making a “retreat” for myself in the master bedroom. So if they cannot treat it nice they are not welcome

Mayhem

March 22nd, 2013
8:54 am

Yea, I still use plastic wrap or a Rubbermaid container in the microwave. AND we re-use bottled water bottles.

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
9:05 am

@ Longtime…I have those glass containers too and love them. FYI you can find all sorts of neat dishes and serving bowls at Ross for very cheap. I too love dishes but am just about at my limit for storing them.

@jarvis…I know families like this and do not understand it.

My husband did not grow up in a house where they had rules about most anything. The first time he visited at my parent’s house, he put a glass directly on the wooden table and that did not go over well. He is better about it now but old habits die hard. This is why it is important to teach children to take care of things at a young age ( to me). They also lived in base housing, most of the time he was growing up and did not have to pay for their utilities. He was terrible about leaving lights on but is better about it now ( 30 years later). I turn down our heat thermostat to 65 when I leave here in the morning and back up to 70 when I get home around 2:00. Sometimes, I forget to turn it back up, if it is warm outside, and then it gets cold at night downstairs. He fusses at me but I do it to save $$$. Maybe that is not a good idea?

K's Mom

March 22nd, 2013
9:33 am

@FCM, I think it is completely appropriate to “ban” kids from the master bedroom or at least make it by invitation only. My kids cannot barge into the preschool director’s office or the teacher’s closet and they will not be able to go hang out in the CEOs office where they work one day either. We do not have rules like that be mean, but rather to set boundaries. If it works for you, I say go for it.

The other thing that is part of the equation for us is that I was 34 when we married and had a nicely furnished home when we married and had kids. I had worked hard for the furnishings and the home, so I refused to go backwards because little ones came along. I have a love seat that is 14 years old and needs to be recovered, but we have decided to wait a little while to do that, bt that is the only kid concession we have made.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
9:54 am

K’s Mom, are you likening your bedroom to the CEO’s office?
That’s not normal.

Teacher, Too

March 22nd, 2013
9:59 am

Golly- I guess my parents were very strict. Our house was always nicely done– my sister and I were to keep our toys in our room. They were not allowed in the living room or dining room– maybe in the family room, but we had to put them away. Our house was always neat. Our furniture wasn’t torn up or stained- and becasue it was taken care of, it lasted a long time. We ate as a family at the dining room table in the kitchen, or for special occasions and holidays, in the formal dining room. No food in the bedrooms, living room, or family room unless you were an adult. Some privileges were for adults! As we got older, my parents became less strict about drinks in our bedrooms and in the family room/living room.

Because of my parents, I learned how to take care of my things. I have some beautiful china/crystal and furniture that belonged to my grandmothers and my parents. Children can learn how to appreciate and take care of things.

K's Mom

March 22nd, 2013
10:04 am

No, I am saying that kids need to learn that there are places that they have to earn the right to enter. I read a lot of John Rosemond and he asserts that the child centered culture we have created is breaking down marriages (and I agree) and he encourages keeping the master bedroom fairly sacred and my pediatrician encourages the same thing. I am simply drawing a parallel that by creating that boundary at home, my kids will understand boundaries in other places better and hopefully will not go to friend’s home and go barging into the master bedroom there or go in public and behave completely inappropriately because they have not been taught better at home.

jmb

March 22nd, 2013
10:12 am

It’s different for kids. Some are more mature than others. I will say that for a boy I would wait until they turn about 10. Boys seem to be rougher than girls on everything in the house. For a girl, I would say 6. By that age they start liking pretty things in their rooms and want to learn about keeping things pretty and neat. I have leather furniture in my living room that is 11 yrs. old and still looks new. I had a large flat screen in the room until I came home from work one day and saw drinks sitting on my tables. From there the TV came out of the room and into the basement. I got each child their own TV for their bedroom and the furniture only gets used during holidays now. We have a wrap-a-round bar in the kitchen that we eat at and of course the basement is allowed for eating and watching TV. I like nice things and I’m not going to for go them and let the little ones destroy them. I now have a 6 mth. grandchild and the rules will be the same for him growing up.

Techmom

March 22nd, 2013
10:37 am

@TWG – I don’t think you have to wait until they’ve gone to college. Most every day furniture was not built to last a century, more like a decade. Buy some more every day furniture and then if you want museum quality stuff when the kids leave, knock yourself out. BUT just remember, by then you’ll start having grandkids!

I want our furniture to last but I’m also not going to die if my living furniture needs to be replaced after 10-15 years. We bought leather sofas and a chair a few years ago because they can be easily cleaned. So a little more expensive than our last set but I didn’t spend an arm and a leg on them either. And while my new kitchen table had scratches within a few weeks, I didn’t have a heart attack over it. It’s nice but we only spent $700 on the set from Sam’s club.

Apparently we’re rough on dishes though. I usually buy a new set every 5 years or so (I figure at about $150, that amounts to $30 per year and I’m usually ready for a change by then anyway!) I donate the old set to whoever I know that’s just starting out just like someone did for me.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
10:44 am

John Rosemond…he’s the bible freak?

Mayhem

March 22nd, 2013
10:56 am

I would love to have leather furniture, but I have too many animals that would destroy it. 3 cats and a dog…..

K's Mom

March 22nd, 2013
10:58 am

I would not call him a Bible freak, but he is a Christian author. He is the best parenting author that I have read. He is far more reasonable than James Dobson and the secular authors who preach that keeping a smile on your child’s face at all times is the end goal of parenting.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
11:06 am

I’ll be honest, I don’t know one from the next. Not my personal interest. Parenting by the seat of my pants.

Kids are happy, wife is happy, I’m happy….the bills are paid and the house isn’t falling down. What’s there to complain about?

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
11:08 am

I have 16 6-year-old boys coming to my house for a birthday party tomorrow, and the weather is going to cooperate. I guess I can complain about that, but at least he has 15 friends and the house can be cleaned.

jarvis

March 22nd, 2013
11:08 am

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
11:09 am

@ Mayhem, we did not have leather when we had our Labrador. Now that we have the schnauzer, it works for us.

I enjoy reading John Rosemond’s take on parenting. I do not agree with his thoughts on Preschool.
True that not every child needs to go to Preschool before age 3 but the fact that most kids, in today’s world, go to preschool would make it harder for those children who come to Kinder with no experience either away from Mama or in the classroom: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&dat=20070122&id=DXAqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KVMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5931,3227237

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
11:16 am

@jarvis…haha! Good Luck! I find that many things I do “by the seat of my pants” do not turn out so well and thus I try to ask those who have more experience than I do. I would say that since you are married to a teacher, I will give you a pass but I have seen teachers do some pretty crazy things too!

The problem with parenting, is that we cannot get a do over. I recently read this:

IN MY NEXTJOB I WANT TO DRIVE THE KARMA BUS ( it was a joke)

I want to ride on the Karma bus, past the houses of the students where I told the parents they might need to change the way they were doing things with their little precious. I also want to see the families who worked hard, treated people right and they are happy and successful!

Becky

March 22nd, 2013
11:18 am

Bought our new sofa and recliner about 5 yrs.ago when the twins were 5..Prior to that had my living room furniture for probably 10-12 yrs..My dining room set, I have had for 25 yrs and unless it falls apart, I have no plans to ever replace it..Master bedroom set is 16 yrs. old, still in good shape..I did get a new mattress for Christmas though..

My two are pretty good about taking care of things and it’s usually me or the husband that breaks most of the stuff that gets broke..As for dishes, the set I have now are from the Cellar (Macy’s) and I bought them brand new still in the box for $1.21 at Value Village thrift store..I don’t spend a lot of money on dishes, because I usually get a new set every couple of years..

Theresa..Buy new things if you want and make the kids take care of it..

jmb

March 22nd, 2013
11:26 am

I have 2 dogs & a cat but my German Shepperd knows she’s not allowed on the furniture and the my little lahsa has never tried to get on it. Dogs are easier to train than kids IMO haha. Also, why would leather be harder to keep clean? If they shed on it you just wipe it off and if you keep their nails clipped there won’t be any scratches. In our basement we have a cloth sofa that my cat sneaks down to sleep on and the hair is real pain to get out of it. When I replace my upstairs furniture, I’ll move the leather set down there and do away with the cloth one. Also, no carpet whatsoever in the house.

K's Mom

March 22nd, 2013
11:27 am

@MJG, I agree about his take on preschool, but I get some of where he is coming from. We have become a society that is more concerned about skills/achievements than character. I think his take is that preschool should be far more learning through play than achievement/skills based. When we interviewed preschools in Atlanta I asked the director of a premier “church” preschool what they did to reinforce character in the classroom after she told me how she would turn my 18 month old into a rocket scientist. She could not answer the question. The parents were so concerned about having an honor roll decal on their car that they did not care if their kids were using manners or treating their classmates well. My son’s preschool teacher (whom we love) is teaching him tons of skills, but she is also hell bent on reinforcing the manners and character than we are teaching at home.

Techmom

March 22nd, 2013
11:40 am

We have 3 dogs and they were a main reason we bought leather. They aren’t allowed on it but they like to shimmy up to it and then slide down as they lay on the floor so the front of my old sofa had a nice lovely, dingy clay color to it! Now it’s as easy as leather cleaner! Cats on the other hand aren’t so nice to leather if they have claws.

Mayhem

March 22nd, 2013
11:42 am

I’m with Jarvis. There is no expert on child rearing.

“We are all flying by the seat of our pants, and hopefully putting enough money away for our kids therapy” – Michelle Pfieffer..LOL

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
11:42 am

@ K’s Mom…I can speak from authority on this one…just because it is “a premier church preschool”, does not mean they know what they are doing. I have been in more Preschools than most people. I see a lot.

There are some that are ABSOLUTELY wonderful and I would heartily recommend them. I spoke with catlady about this last week. There are others that I am not impressed with. WHY a preschool is good, is another topic that takes a long time.

In short, what are the Director’s/Staff Credentials ( are they Early Childhood Educators with a degree and/or very involved training that is current and specific to kee up with trends), how is the staff turnover…do they have teachers who have been there a long time, what requirements are there for continued staff development and do the teachers attend a broad variety of classes ( not just their religious affiliation), are the teachers engaged and happy ( I see some that look like they would rather be at the mall and/or they are texting and looking at their cell phones a LOT), is the interaction with the children contiuous and do the classrooms look bright and inviting?

I am impressed with Preschools and Teachers that are really in it for the children and their families.
Not every location is like this.

motherjanegoose

March 22nd, 2013
11:48 am

Perhaps building a successful adult, from childhood, is like building a house. I do not want a builder who is flying by the seat of his pants. As a parent, I think it is good to have a blueprint and to be flexible. I think my opinion is becoming extinct nowadays but my kids are just about out the door and they appear to be on the road to being successful adults.

I rarely take advice from movie stars ….haha!

jmb

March 22nd, 2013
11:52 am

Techmom, my cat must be picky. She won’t get on anything except the cloth sofa or our bed. My dogs choose their comfy beds instead of the couch. I don’t think leather appeals to animals like cloth does. It’s colder to the touch and not as soft I guess is the reason. But like you, animals & kids was the main reason we went for leather. It holds up better for both much longer.