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Toy possessiveness and territorial behaviour in toddlers

(7 Posts)
Supercherry Wed 29-Jul-09 18:23:19

Now I know it's completely normal but it's quite a stressful phase isn't it?

My DS, 17mths, seems extra whiny when I have friends and their children around to play. DS cannot bear them touching his toys, snatching them back or whining etc, I say a firm 'No, DS, we have to share'. I know he doesn't understand but just setting boundaries for when he is older and also so that the other child can see that the behaviour is being dealt with, especially if they're older.

The question I'm asking is, do other mums find it stressful, the constant refereeing, and placating and sharing out toys etc?

I feel like I stress over everything but I want to be a calm, blase parent.

I act calm on the outside but I do get a bit sweaty and actually find it all a little embarassing when it's my child doing the snatching etc.

Supercherry Wed 29-Jul-09 18:33:02

Basically I'm worried that I worry too much. I think I'm having a bad day grin

Gargula Wed 29-Jul-09 21:24:08

I used to get stressed by this, but my boy is 20 months old now and this has been going on some time and I just can't maintain the stress levels! I do just what you do but I think it's just a phase that we have to live through.
Now, when it comes to DS's habit of rugby tackling, that's when I get a bit stressed!

fairylights Wed 29-Jul-09 21:33:09

i can absolutely sympathise!!! My ds was like this for what felt like an age and i felt like a really crap mummy as a result - this was especially because he would hit other kids too, no matter what kind of discipline approach i tried..all very frustrating as he is naturally quite sweet natured but would seem to turn into child-from-hell at any gathering with one or more other children..
anyway let me encourage you by saying that it DID pass - ik think it was helped HUGELY when he started going to a playgroup (where i leave him) 2 mornings a week from when he was 2 - the staff there was so reassuring that it was normal behaviour and i think their undramatic but firm approach basically managed to achieve what i couldn't..
he is now 2.9 and actually really good at sharing compared to some of his peers and actually quite considerate towards their needs too. Phew!!
Am about to have dc2 though so will be interesting to see if this positive attitude will be maintained when it comes to sharing mummy and daddy with a sibling..hmm
Anyway, all the best smile

slowreadingprogress Wed 29-Jul-09 21:58:27

I think there is perhaps too much pressure to socialise toddlers nowadays. So many organised classes and pressure to take them to playgroups etc.

In fact toddlers this age do not possess the necessary skills for playing nicely and sharing; they are all 'ego' and are developmentally not yet capable of over-laying that with the social skills yet because they are not emotionally capable of transferance, of understanding that so-and-so will feel bad if I do such-and-such. They are also still at the stage of learning about cause and effect. Also are impulsive and act on their impulses.

To be honest I would avoid giving many opportunities for this sort of play. I preferred to meet other mums/toddlers at the park or swimming for instance.

The thing is with kids at this stage IMHO is that you don't need to do too much practising to try to instil the sharing etc in them; they get it when they are ready. Having endured a million nightmarish playdates won't get them ready any earlier imo because if the readiness is not there then there's no point.

Also, I think there is a difference between actually REALLY sharing - and having a toy taken off you by a parent because they want another kid to have a go. The child needs to FEEL the act of sharing internally for them to actually learn what it is to share.

Supercherry Thu 30-Jul-09 07:48:31

Thank you so much for the replies, it really helps to know i'm not the only one getting stressed by it all!

Gargula, it is a relatively new behaviour for us, until recently, DS didn't care who had what toy, and new behaviours are more stressful at first, I agree.

Fairylights, glad to know your DS has come through this phase.

Slowreadingprocess, you're definitely right, I am of the taking the easy route school of parenting so will probably try to avoid these situations for a while. Though, with this rainy weather, it's difficult to know what to do. Playdates do seem stressful for both DS and I at the moment though, and it is unfair to expect him to have behaviours forced upon him that he simply cannot understand.

MrsWB Thu 30-Jul-09 13:52:53

I just wanted to say I sympathise totally. My DS is 2.3 and gets very possessive about his toys at home, and the toys he wants to play with at playgroups etc. I had friends round for coffee last week with their toddlers and my DS was distraught because everywhere he looked people had his toys and he wanted them back. He was hitting his friends and crying and it was a nightmare!

But he isn't always as bad and some days are worse than others. Like you I was getting very stressed partly because it only seemed to be him who was being possessive where his friends seemed more relaxed but in the last few months I have seen all his friends doing the same as him. Now that I realise it is normal toddler behaviour I feel a lot more relaxed about it.

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