4-Year-Old Rips Up His Parents’ Life Savings — Literally

As a parent, it’s hard to know what to let your kids do sometimes to amuse themselves. Should you let their iPad be their babysitter? Should you let them flush a toilet 30 times, as a friend of mine did, rather than listen to them scream about how they want to flush the toilet? It’s a constant balancing act. (And, sorry, this planet is going to run out of water someday — in no small part to kids who flush the toilet 30 times.) One set of parents thought there was no harm in letting their 4-year-old boy rip up old books. It was keeping him occupied, and they didn’t want the books anyway. But then that little shredding habit wasn’t so cute when he found their life savings under the bed.

The parents of the little boy, who live in China, allowed their son to rip up old books, as it seemed to be something he enjoyed doing and what harm could there be in that?

The mom said:

We don’t have much time for reading here. We didn’t really care when he ripped up the old books we had lying around, and it was easy to buy very cheap old books down the market which he happily ripped into small pieces.

Hmm. I’d probably do the same. Keep the little bugger’s fingers occupied.

But then things started to go awry when they left the little ripper alone in the bedroom. Mom says:

I thought if I left him alone with a book for an hour it would be no problem and we could hear the ripping sounds from the kitchen but didn’t think anything of it.

This is beginning to sound like a horror movie. La de dah, everything is cool, nothing bad is gonna happen … la de dah …

You can just hear the Jaws theme music kick in as the tyke began to crawl around the room looking for more stuff to tear up and stumbled upon a gold mine under the bed. Sheets and sheets and sheets of paper. All there for the shredding!

So the kid went at it … ripping and ripping and ripping …

Only this time it wasn’t old books. It was the family’s life savings.

Yeah, I don’t know why they didn’t have it in a bank either. This is China. But I actually know people in the U.S. who keep significant amounts of cash in their homes. What with interest rates being so low and all …

So, yep, the kid ripped the family’s savings all up. They’d been saving up for a new home. It was around $5,000. Which would be bad enough in the U.S. but was a fortune in China.

Luckily, the family found a bank willing to exchange the torn up notes for new ones.

The mom says she’s learned her lesson, saying that she’s put a stop to her son’s “destructive” habit. When you think about it, there should have been much more instruction about what was okay to rip and what wasn’t … though who knows if the kid would have listened.

It’s always amazing to me how smart kids can be though. I once babysat a 2-year-old boy who routinely went into my purse to steal my money. He would bypass the makeup, the gadgets, everything in there … except the cash. Somehow, at 2 years old, he’d figured out that was the most important thing in there.


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