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My little boy is 2.3 and whilst he is certainly no angel in many areas, sharing toys with other children isn't generally a problem as he has a tendency to give in, walk away and play with something else. There are obviously the odd occasions when this isn't the case and he has a good tug of war over a toy he wants, which I always intervene in and make sure he gives it back. He has a friend (same age), who refuses to let him play with any of his toys when we are at their house. I try to offer alternatives to both boys whenever there is a squabble. Today was just the same and me and my friend's husband took it in turns to intervene when toys were snatched away, but later in the morning my friend said to her DH "oh, just let them sort it out between themselves, that's what I do in these situations now". That annoyed me as that basically means my son gets pushed around, can't play with anything and thinks it is acceptable behaviour (so might copy it). I know this is a perfectly normal stage of development (I fully expect my son to go through this at some point too), but surely they won't learn to share if no one pulls them up on it. I might be wrong and maybe I got her back up when I told her son to share too (i didn't tell him off, just spoke to him and suggested an alternative toy). What do you do about sharing? Is leaving them to it a good idea and I'm interfering too much?
You're not interferring too much at all. But the little boy whose mummy says "leave them to it" is completely wrong at this age. They need a bit of help and redirection and being shown what is fair, if they're not quite managing it themselves. Its very disappointing when this happens especially when your own DC is just left bewildered and unable to "play". But if the mother won't take it into her own hands then I don't know what you can do other than play with other kids whose mums are more switched on about things. I do agree to "let them sort it" when they're a bit older and especially with siblings, but definitely not with two 2.5 yr olds.
Thanks - I thought it was an odd approach...of course they will sort it out between themselves, but they aren't actually learning anything other than snatching and pushing people around gets results! My DS has other little buddies who are also unwilling to share at times, but their parents always intervene if it's their kid causing the problem. It's a shame, because the boy in question can be really lovely, but I fear if this is their approach they could end up with trouble on their hands in future! Not my place to interfere though, I agree, but I will probably give them a bit more of a wide berth for now or suggest meeting where there are no toys (ie soft play) or something.
It might be worth suggesting to them (if you think it won't get their backs up more) that they start to designate some things as 'everyone' toys - specifically for playdates and so on. Their son needs to get used to the idea that not everything is his - we have a rule that the DCs don't have to share their own stuff, but things that belong to everyone do have to be shared. Personally I find it bullying and wrong to force a child to share stuff that they understand to be theirs, so the DCs have always been taught that some things belong to them, some things belong to other people, and some things belong to everyone. It works well for playgroups and school as well.
My dd is just starting to assert herself (!) when previously she had been a bit of a walk-over. I'm trying to teach her to ask with her words, not her hands, and am giving her some phrases to say to other children.
"Please can I have that toy?" "Is it my turn now?" "I'm waiting to play with that"
It's very hard work at the moment as I have to intervene most of the time to prevent snatching/screaming and to remind her what to say.
But I really hope it will pay off in the long run. I hope!
Kids of this age need a script, and to have their feelings acknowledged. So, applied to your situation, it might pay for you to intervene on your friend's behalf. Get down to the boy's level, say to him, "I know it's hard to share toys when someone else wants to play. But DS expects you to share. What do you want to do, give DS a turn or find some other toy for DS to play with?" Then, "here you go DS, here is a toy that otherboy has given you to play with, isn't he a good sharer!?"
You basically end up sounding like a spaz and one of those loud parents that everyone loves to hate, but hey-ho, it works.