General Question

casheroo's avatar

Who do your childhood belongings belong to?

Asked by casheroo (18021 points ) February 14th, 2010

I was just thinking about this the other day, because my son saw my old Barbies on a shelf, and wanted to see them…but my mother has claimed them as hers so she does not allow him to touch them.

I had a very large collection of college cheerleader Barbies (you can stop laughing now), and I never took them out of the boxes. I liked stacking them in the boxes and making a collection. My mother took it upon herself to open two from her favorite college teams (Penn State and Michigan State) and she has them on a shelf.
She has also taken back old VHS that I would watch as a child, like The Little Mermaid or The Jungle Book, claiming that they are hers.

So, are these types of things actually the parents once the child outgrows them? I can sort of understand the VHS situation, even if it’s a little disappointing..but the toys are iffy for me. Because she has done this with other things I considered mine (like a collection of model metal VW Beetles that I had). All things that used to decorate my room as a youngster…she now says are hers.

Is it because I left it in a box in the attic at some point? Or do they legitimately belong to her?
and no, I’m not trying to get in a legal argument with my mother over it..but I do find it upsetting..and I hope I’m in the right lol

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58 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

One day our parents die.

ucme's avatar

Wow they seem to be scattered all over the place. Like the holy grail, some of that shit is pretty elusive to track down.I have stuff i’d love to show my kids but no one knows there whereabouts or at least claims not to. So to answer your question,I guess whoever some of it belongs to they seem to be pretty adamant on keeping it.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@casheroo Forgive me, but I think that’s terrible! Those things are YOUR’S! What would she want to keep them for? All the things that were my daughters’ belongings, are their’s. They have them in their homes. am shaking my head over this one

wilma's avatar

As a parent of grown children, my view on this is they are your (the child) belongings, but…
if mom asks you to take them out of her house, and you don’t, then she has dibs.
Parents can’t be expected to keep your stuff forever, but I think they should always give you fair warning before claiming or disposing of your childhood possessions.
By the way, I understand your frustration I would be upset if my mom did that.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Anything I still have from my childhood is considered mine. There is a lot of stuff that I keep at my dads house because I don’t have the space for it in my flat but he never claims that it is his just because it is there, in fact, I wouldn’t mind betting that he can’t wait until I take the stuff back and it’s no longer using up space in his loft!!!

It sounds to me like your mother is trying to still have a little bit of a hold over you. Not necessarily in a bad, controlling way but she may be feeling that, now you are grown up with your own family, that they only thing she can hold onto are those things from when you were dependant on her.

Symbeline's avatar

Those should belong to you, by what legitimate right I don’t know, but regardless…it’s a bit of some off behaviour I say.
But that may just be because all my childhood stuff eventually made its way to charity and church basements.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@dpworkin i bet you wrote that sitting on a fluffy pink pillow, drinking cocoa with mini marshmallows in it, didn’t you?~

I’m sure some parents keep certain things that were their child’s as “mementos”. But, too, I think most parents would view those objects as “yours”, once you reach a certain age.

also, @casheroo, college cheerleader barbies? seriously? lol

SuperMouse's avatar

I see the things that are still around from my childhood as mine. Similarly, I see the toys my boys have as theirs. I too had a large doll collection as a child (and a VW Beetle collection too), when I moved out I took them all with me.

casheroo's avatar

Just to clarify, I didn’t leave a crap-ton of stuff when I moved out. Maybe two containers..but they have a large attic and utility room, and it was not an issue to leave a couple containers of things like that. And currently I live in their home again, so it’d be here regardless.
Also, I don’t remember when she opened them. I do remember being quite distraught over that since obviously I’d never opened any of the other barbies. I probably should have said something at the time, but I don’t recall when it happened.

Oh, and what mainly bothers me now is I’d prefer to let my son just play with those so I don’t have to go out and buy new Barbies. lol

Ivy's avatar

The stuff of my childhood belongs to time and the winds of outrageous misfortune. I have nothing left of my childhood except my original birth certificate, baptismal record, and a lock of my hair that my mother cut when I was 9 years old.

susanc's avatar

My mother destroyed everything that had been stored in her old house (which was huge)
when she moved to her new house (which was huger). Without checking. Be pleased if your parents play with your toys, if you want to see them again.

janbb's avatar

I have much of my kids stuff still here in storage, but they are quite welcome to relieve me of any of it as soon as they want it. I am looking forward to the day! (Most of the baby clothes have gone to my grandson already.)

dpworkin's avatar

I know this will be greeted with disbelief, but my mom really did throw out all my baseball cards. And I began collecting them in 1957.

cookieman's avatar

My folks gave me about two boxes worth after I got married. One was full of books and baseball trophies (I played for ten years). I kept a few books and threw all the trophies away.

The other box had some toys in it. I kept most of those.

I also have a box with over 100 Marvel action figures I collected while in college.

It’s all in my attic collecting dust. Someday I’ll finish my attic studio and put it all on display.

AstroChuck's avatar

If those things from childhood haven’t be in your possession since before your eighteenth birthday you are SOL. Since a minor cannot legally hold possessions all those toys are your folks.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

They’re just things. I’m under no delusions of my childhood things being sold on E-Bay for 1,000,000+. My parents don’t even want them.

The problem with today’s parenting strategies is that there is too much emphasis on buying loads of useless junk for kids and it all ends up gathering dust in storage or taking up space in a landfill.

Pazza's avatar

If there in your legal fictions name, then technicaly they belong to the government.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

I believe they belong to the child now adult who they were given to.

ShanEnri's avatar

If my parents bought something for me it was always with the understanding that if I took care of it I could pass it to my children! That means it was mine! There are some movies i would like to get back from my daughter, but I’ll just go out and buy another copy rather than taking them from her!

iphigeneia's avatar

I’m pretty sure my parents gave my toys to me. Books, too, although maybe not the ones I stole off their shelves and claimed for myself. Occasionally when I had collected too many toys I had to get rid of some by passing them down to my younger brothers, or selling them at a garage sale, but at least then they gave me the money!

Cruiser's avatar

Consider yourself fortunate because my Lincoln Logs, Erector set, Hot Wheels and Mad Magazine collection I guess are in a landfill!

lynfromnm's avatar

Very few of my childhood possessions still exist. I have some old baseball cards and some books – Nancy Drew. I think my parents gave a lot of our toys to a local safe house for abused kids. That works for me!

LeotCol's avatar

It appears in this situation that while the child grew up the adult parent grew backwards in terms of maturity.

No thats mine!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I think my aunt tossed most of mine away (Along with a signed limited edition of this poster. GRRRRR!), except for my Rubik’s Cube, which I still have.

wilma's avatar

I am still living with my grown kids toys. I have threatened to sell on ebay, a huge box of He-man stuff, and probably every My Little Pony that was made in the eighties.
They need to get them out of here if they want them.
I would never get rid of the Lego’s or Lincoln Logs. If they want them they can have them, otherwise they are mine and the grandkids to play with.;)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Some parents accumulate a collection of certain types of items under the guise of buying them as gifts for their children. Collectibles that are never permitted to be removed from their original packaging and elaborate sets of toys like electric train sets are often items adults buy for themselves and were never really intended to belong to those for whom they were allegedly purchased. Parents who lay claim to these “gifts” are attempting to steal their own children’s childhood from them once they are old enough to appreciate the value of these “gifts.”

Things we get to retain from our childhood are precious gifts that affirm our parents’ love for us both when we were young and now that we are grown and feel honoured that they cared enough to preserve these “treasures” for us to retain as the adults we are now.

Arp's avatar

Currently me, as I am a youngin’, but I assume I will leave them with my parents when I move off to college.

ratboy's avatar

I suppose they belong to the children of the bullies who stole them from me.

Judi's avatar

My mom put us on notice after we moved out. If we left it at her house a year or more it was hers to do with as she liked.

lfino's avatar

We still have all the Hot Wheels, Legos, and building stuff in the attic or basement (and I’m sure much more that I’m not remembering) mainly because it didn’t really belong to one kid. They all played with that stuff. But we’re not holding on because we’re demanding them as our own. Our grandson has started playing with some of it, and I whenever I bring the old toys out, they start reminiscing and it’s fun to hear. Individual stuff was boxed and given to them unless they’re still mobile. Why does your mom want your Barbies?? Is she thinking about re-selling them? If she gave you these toys when you were a child, then the toys are yours. That’s what give means.

YoH's avatar

Naturally the items acquired while a child, are the child’s. Once a child always a child. Perhaps Mom feels like the items won’t be ‘lasting’ if out of her watchful eye. When Mom is no longer with us, what then?

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

When I left home, anything I left behind I considered lost to the ages. I gave up any claim to them when I walked out that door.

Irishmar's avatar

I saved things from my kids childhood and dole them out to them on occasion. I just gave my 26 yr old son his case of matchbook cars. Your mom is acting pretty selfish. They are yours, whether you always had them with you, or you claim the stuff later.I would talk to her and tell her how you feel.

Janka's avatar

Well, it’s not an easy question, if we just look at the ownership.

When you were a child, did you buy those items from money that was given to you for your very own, or where the items given to you as gifts? Or where they purchased by your mother for you to use? Not necessarily easy to tell, and your mother and you might have a different opinion about that, but that would sort of change the original ownership.

And even if they truly were yours, then there’s the question of what did you do to the items when you moved away from home, or maybe even before if you just got bored of those things. If you just left them behind, without any agreement with your mother that she will store your stuff for you, it could be argued you abandoned them. It would be nice of her to hold on to them and give them back to you later (and I think most parents do that), but I am not sure we can require it of her. It is sort of the same question as at which point stuff that you throw away stops being yours – if a neighbor takes if from your trash bin, can you go and ask it back?

thriftymaid's avatar

I don’t remember wanting anything when I left home. But, everything that belonged to my children growing up was theirs to take when they left home.

Sophief's avatar

I’m sorry to be rude, but, your mum has claimed them!!! They are yours, from the very second you were given them, they belonged to you.

candide's avatar

I agree. I had a lot of things that my mum “claimed” without even asking, and it makes me feel silly and as if she disregards me altogether – ridiculous. I also had a lot of toys that I used to keep pristine. When I had sons I let them have them. They destroyed them, but they had a ball playing with them and really loved them, and that made me far happier than thinking that I had to save it for posterity! (didn’t you ever see Toy Story 2? Toys are meant to be played with and loved!)

faye's avatar

Barbies can be worth lots of money but don’t they need to be like 15 years older?

monocle's avatar

Some of my stuff was passed on to my younger siblings and the rest was given to charity. My mother only owns my frilly baby dresses and blankets.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Technically they belong to your parents. Anything given to you before you are 18, technically belongs to your parents and they can do with it as they see fit.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@rahm_sahriv: Actually, that technicality is how some rather famous and wealthy child-stars ended up broke and destitute upon turning 18.

Rangie's avatar

Hands down, they are yours. You are the one that created memories with them, or did your mom play with them too? I doubt it. I do know how you feel.
It feels like when you leave home without your purse, you know something is missing.
My older sister made a clean sweep of all of my stuff from my childhood, while I was away on my honeymoon. Nobody seemed to know what happened to it. Until I happened to notice a jewelry box a boyfriend in high school gave to me, on a table in her bedroom. I thought about it and decided if she went so far as to take something that I owned, she needed it more than I did. I have my memories, nobody can take them. Those things are just “stuff”.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

My grandmother, my mother, and my great grandmother. When my great grandmother was nearing her end, she say my sister, myself, my cousin down and distributed her jewelery to us. My grandmother does that sometimes, too.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I look at everything I’ve bought specifically for my son as his. There are things that are for the whole family and I would consider them more mine and my husband’s as they will stay in our house as long as there are children living in it. Perhaps after all of our children are grown and out of the house they will be given to one specific child.

So, my son’s stuff is his to do whatever he wants to do with when he gets older.

shelly45's avatar

I dont have much…...my mom sold my barbies and my clairnet in a garage sale. What I have belongs to my 2 girls.

Storybooklover's avatar

I think anything you want to keep from your childhood should be yours. I have some of my toys and my mothers toys that I haven’t passed on to my daughter yet because she is brutal and I want them to last.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I did the “you can’t have that” to my daughter regarding her toys…simply because she was extremely careless with the toys/dolls/bears that I bought her. There is a history, however, behind my motivation.

My grandmother (mom’s mom) apparently gave away my mother’s extensive collection of dolls and toys. My grandparents owned a department store and in the 1930’s and 40’s, salesmen would call from the toy companies with “samples” of their toy lines. These “samples” were from companies like Ideal and Madame Alexander. Therefore, my mother accrued a sizable collection of dolls (Shirley Temple, Dionne Quintuplets, Deanna Durbin, etc). Not to mention the gifts that she got anyway. When my mother was an adolescent, my grandmother, thinking mom had “outgrown” everything, gave away her dolls. All of them. Without her permission. These dolls now sell for upwards of $2,000 if in mint condition (she had all hers in boxes still.)

Fast forward…I am in high school, I go away to camp one summer….come back and all my dolls are gone, too! My mother did the same thing to me! I was so upset.

So, when my daughter has asked for her things, I hold on to them. I often found toys of hers stuck and forgotten somewhere. I don’t hold on to them because I want them, but because she doesn’t have an appreciation for them….yet. She is careless. I plan on giving them all back to her when she is settled somewhere. I actually began packing and labeling items (“This was given to Little Rhadamanthus by her godmother, Charo, Christmas 1998”).

I don’t, however, appropriate things of my daughter’s for myself. However, I have left things at times with people and they help themselves…....! Which I find appalling!

Your mother will give you back your things….once your child grows up a bit and you are settled.

guihurts's avatar

I used to have a lot of Disney’s tapes and my favorite was (and are) Alice. I also had some toys, like Max Steel and Mc Donald’s prizes but I don’t really remember playing with them often. What I really wanted to do was watch TV all day long, Cultura Channel, I guess.

About your mother, I think she’s just trying to save some past memories through some toys and tapes. Actually, this is quite normal between mothers, it’s also nice.

Kariann1's avatar

I think your Mother is missing out on an opportunity to interact with your son. Four year-olds love to play. If the items are too precious right now, she still should show them to him and tell a story. Maybe even a story about you? I would tell Mom that you have given the two Barbies that she loves as a gift to her. However, when you do find your own home,you would like to take your childhood belongings with you. Your son should have the opportunity to play with the Beetles collection when he is older. I feel you really need to talk more about this. The toys are yours, IMO.

GoJessGo's avatar

Everything I bought my kids is THEIRS to do with as they wish——with one exception. Since they were born I have bought each of my children an ornament for Christmas. They can have those when they get married and have a home of their own.

Bill_Lumbergh's avatar

Honestly, I held on to a majority of my “childhood items”. Nothing as simple as a blanket or teddy bear, but things I remember gave me the most joy growing up – video games! Yes, I consider myself an avid gamer, and I do have an extensive video game collection, but I attribute this to my passion of video games when I was younger. I still own my original NES, SEGA, and Nintendo GameBoy video game systems. In fact, I occasionally decide to relive my childhood memories by dusting off and playing the original Super Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog on these game systems. Still brings the biggest smile to my face every time I play them!

captainsmooth's avatar

Do you think that your mom would claim the Barbies if they were out of their boxes? I think she recognizes the value in the boxed up Barbies, and doesn’t want your kids to screw them up.

Kayladel173's avatar

To be honest I’m completely miserable like heck knowing that my mom claim my stuff legally. Plus my life is pretty sad because well I guess it’s best to spread the bad news but it’ll sound like a horror story.
So my names Kayla I usually smile a lot but I’m just plain sad I’m at the age of 21 to where I can get a house of my own but I’m still with my mom which I thank her for. But life isn’t easy with her the first time I felt like I was trapped and caged when she said she had control over my poetry book and publish it and make it hers this caused me Great Depression I was completely miserable like I was in torture luckily she couldn’t I was in a rage that she would try to pretend that she was the one who wrote these poems and would try to make money of MY poems even though I never allowed it. Second to worse thing she decides to claim all my stuff including clothes and my toys. I started seeing how greedy she was but I never tried to fight back at times I really wanted my stuff. I thought about what she said and how she could claim just like that. And said to myself what’s the point of having her as my mother when she has control over my clothes and toys that belong to ME (to be honest every child should have a fair chance to keep the clothes their moms and dads gave them on their b-days and holidays once they hit 18,20, 21, )

The only time I would want to claim back my clothes is when I choose to leave.Another reason to claim my belongings is because my mother does not care about me. And that I feel as though I have the right to claim my belongings back somehow because those gifts and toys she gave me were my b-day gifts it doesn’t seem very fair to me that you as a child can’t claim your stuff back. You should at least get your stuff back. Because I as a child will be homeless and may have to go to court just to find a way to claim my belongings back because I am leaving.My mom is already to kick me out of her house if I don’t even pass GED even once so I would have to leave which will mean me saying my last good byes to everyone here good-bye everyone I’m sorry to tell you about this bad news

Judi's avatar

@Kayladle173, as an adult (in the US) your stuff DOES belong to you and plate idiom is a crime.

OneBadApple's avatar

I’m certain that all of mine belong to the Brookhaven Town Landfill in Suffolk County, Long Island….

Judi's avatar

damned auto correct.

janbb's avatar

@Judi I did wonder what plate idiom was but was too polite to ask. I am still wondering.

Judi's avatar

Plagiarism. Ugh.

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