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Ds and other children's toys... this is really getting me down

(16 Posts)
Nic04 Sun 19-Jun-05 08:01:03

My ds is 4.10 yrs old. A lot of the time he is a good natured, lovely child and can play with other kids quite well, except for when there are toys involved that HE WANTS. He just cannot seem to comprehend that if a toy belongs to someone else, he can't just have it whenever he likes. I've explained it to him many times, but he's been in tears on quite a few different occasions just because some child 'won't share' with him. He doesn't seem to understand that the other child doesn't have to share their own toys with him if they don't want to (even though it would be nice if they did!!)

A couple of days ago I took him to a pre-school friend's birthday party which went really well right up until the last ten minutes. Some of the boys started to get a bit rowdy towards the end and ds had been an angel UNTIL he decided he wanted a ball that a little girl was playing with. He literally went up and prised it out of her hands just because he wanted it, and if that wasn't bad enough, I was embarrassed because another mother came and told me what he'd done. Of course after I realised what had happened I told him it was wrong and explained AGAIN about not taking a toy that another child is playing with. (If I see him do it, I make him give it back to the other child). Then yesterday dh and I went out to lunch with another couple who have a 3 1/2 year old boy. Well as I anticipated, this little boy had brought some toy cars along with him and ds decided he wanted to play with one of them (ds had brought his own toys too) but this little boy did not want to share, so ds got cranky & started to cry and carry on just because he wanted to play with this child's toy car. He would not give up easily either Apart from embarrassing me with his behaviour, dh and I had to take him aside AGAIN and explain that he can't have another child's toy just because he wants it. We encourage ds to share (which he does with most of his things) but he can't cope when other children won't share their toys with him. Believe me, many times we have tried talking to him, telling him off, and ignoring him when he carries on like this, but I just don't know why this ONE THING has remained such a problem for him.

Are any other children out there like this?! I just wish he would get over it because it makes me apprehensive now when I have to take him out somewhere.

Nic04 Sun 19-Jun-05 09:58:19


Twiglett Sun 19-Jun-05 10:16:33

does he understand the concept of taking turns?

maybe as a thought (not saying it will work .. just off the top of my head .. feel free to ignore ) you could readdress what you tell him

ie try putting the emphasis on how he would ask politely if he could have a turn after they've finished playing with it, then teaching him how to wait for 5 minutes, then encouraging other child to let him have a 'turn' then him giving it back after a short while

might not work, but might take the emphasis off 'no, you can't have it' and most children are taught to 'take turns' ime

aloha Sun 19-Jun-05 10:20:04

IMO 'sharing' can be a really hard concept for some children to properly understand. To them, sharing means you both have it at the same time - ie sharing a meal. And sharing is a good thing - after all, you always praise sharing, don't you? So to them other children 'should' share with them so they cannot understand a/why they don't and b/why this puts them in the wrong. This was very much the case with my ds who LOVES to share (ie have half of my peach!).
I think the answer here is to ditch talk of 'sharing' toys and instead talk about 'taking turns' - ie when the other child is playing with it, it is their turn, and later, when they aren't playing with it any more, it will be their turn, when they can play with it. You might have to provide lots of examples of turn taking and play turn taking games (like pairs) in order to reinforce the concept.
BTW, if a child takes a number of toys to a cafe where another child is present, the parents of that child should encourage that child to let the other children play with those toys, and explain in advance that X will be there and you can play with the toys together - I think the other couple would have been just as embarassed by their child's refusal to share as you were by your son's insistence on sharing!

aloha Sun 19-Jun-05 10:20:43

Which is a v v long winded way of saying what Twiglett said!!

Twiglett Sun 19-Jun-05 10:21:36

hello aloha .. have you moved house yet??

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Jun-05 10:22:09

Good idea Twiglett - my friend does that with her little boy who is just coming up to 4. He sounds like Nic's son - he always wants what someone else has and has the most almighty tantrum if he doesn't get it. He will also have a good go and prising the toy out of the other child's hand.

She actually uses a timer and will say 'OK, well lets share, Tom will have it for the next 5 minutes and then when the bell rings, he will let you have a turn. Is that Ok Tom?' The other child is usually compliant and it works pretty long as the other parent isn't an old bag and objects!!! My ds's don't mind and will go along with that but I also encourage them as I can see my friend is really trying to not give in to her ds but to come to a compromise.

Nic04 Sun 19-Jun-05 10:23:55

Hi Twiglett, yes he understands very well about taking turns. They have to take turns at pre-school every day so he is quite used to doing it.

The problem seems to arise mainly outside of pre-school, when another child won't share with him or let him have a turn with their toys. The little boy at lunch yesterday wouldn't let ds play with any of his toy cars, even though he didn't particularly want to play with them himself. (GRR - I know this is very normal, it just bugged me). Anyway to answer your question, ds knows how to ask politely for a turn, but if the other child refuses, that's when the trouble starts

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Jun-05 10:23:56

Fully agree that it's the concept of 'taking turns' you need to get across, rather than 'sharing'. I hadn't thought about it like that but Aloha is right about 'sharing' often being having something at the same time.

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Jun-05 10:26:01

Nic - that's very annoying if the other parents didn't even to try and help by encouraging their ds to share. In that situation, I usually address the other child myself very nicely and say 'would it be Ok if X has a little play with your car for a while?' - it usually prompts the other parent to join in!

aloha Sun 19-Jun-05 10:26:51

Hi Twiglett...not yet but I think about it every waking minute - working towards an end of July completion date atm. it possible he thinks of 'taking turns' as something he only does at school? Children are funny like that. Can you play taking turns at home in a lighthearted way to try to reinforce it? he will get there in the end. And I agree...grrr about the other child.

Nic04 Sun 19-Jun-05 10:30:28

Yes Aloha I was a bit disappointed that the other parents didn't insist that he share. I told ds before we got there, that he should share his toys with the other little boy and he was quite prepared to do this. I think most probably the other parents were scared that THEIR ds would have a tantrum if they made him share. Anyway ss I said, ds is quite good at taking turns, it's mainly the refusal from another child to share that he finds really hard to deal with.

I've tried to tell him that he can't force another child to share, and that he just has to accept it if they don't. OBVIOUSLY it's still a very hard concept for him to come to terms with.

aloha Sun 19-Jun-05 10:33:45

I personally would suggest you stop talking about 'sharing' toys at all, and only ever talk about taking turns as I really do know from personal experience with my ds that 'sharing' can be a confusing term for children and they (or at least my son) do think of it as 'both having at the same time'. It does help us to talk about taking turns and never mentioning sharing when it comes to toys. Worth a try?
Plus the turn taking games at home to reinforce?

beetroot Sun 19-Jun-05 10:35:19

Message withdrawn

Nic04 Sun 19-Jun-05 10:36:07

We do 'take turns' at home, but ds is an only child and probably used to having his pick of toys... I don't know whether that's it or not. He's reasonably good at sharing his own toys when other kids are here though.

He's also fairly strong-willed and perhaps he doesn't like the idea that he won't be getting his own way....... either that or he simply doesn't understand yet that he can't play with other children's toys whenever he likes. Does anyone else ever have episodes like this?? I feel like he should be getting over this behaviour by now.

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Jun-05 10:43:07

My friend's 4 yr old is exactly the same so I don't think he should necessarily be over it by now.

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