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Should DS1 be expected to share his toys with DS2?

(20 Posts)
cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 12:51:55

DS1 is just 6 and DS2 is coming up 2. They generally get on well and play (fairly) nicely together, but DS1 is starting to get more possessive of his toys. He has a lot of books in his room that are just his (he's a real bookworm) and there are things like boardgames and Lego that DS2 is too small for that are DS1's sole preserve. But he's recently started saying that things like the toy cars, and the wooden puzzles that we recently dug out the cupboard for DS2, are his (DS1's)toys. Which they are - they were bought for him or given to him, before DS2 was around. But I had assumed that they would be shared toys.

I think that it's partly just sibling rivalry, and that we might also need to look at whether we're expecting too much of him and creating some jealousy. But I was wondering how other parents handled the issue of toys becoming shared?

nulgirl Wed 29-Jun-11 13:05:52

My dd is almost 5 and I let her keep some special things (small things,fragile things or her absolute favourites) as her own but as far as I am concerned everything else is shared and she must let her brother (2yo) play with it. He also has toys which she enjoys playing with so it has never really been a problem. It would make me very cross if she tried to stop him playing with all her toys especially things which were more age-appropriate to him.

I have got friends though who take a different perspective and put a babygate on their older childs bedroom so that they can stop the younger one getting in to play with any of the toys that the older one owns. IMO they are helping foster sibling rivalry and generates a rather unpleasant attitude in the older child.

greycircles Wed 29-Jun-11 13:27:23

Mine are 5 and 3. Both allowed to have a few "special" toys which belong to them - if the other wants a turn with the special toys, must ask, not allowed to just take from the other one's room. The majority of the toys are for general sharing and either child can use anything they want and must negotiate if want something the other one is using.

I think it's probably because your youngest has got to an age where he can get a lot more out of toys now and I would probably explain to the eldest that he must share all the old toys, but he can keep some of his things like lego to himself as small pieces can be dangerous to young children (or similar reasoning, they are too fragile for youngest etc). I think that it would probably pay you to help your DS1 learn a bit of a painful lesson now to avoid future problems. But I would put it to him quite simply and with practical reasoning that he can understand. Reward if necessary!

cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 14:00:06

I'm just not sure if it's unfair to DS1, as there are very few toys that have been given to DS2 that DS1 would want to play with. And I guess that will probably be the case for a few years yet. So far DS2's presents have mainly been hand-me-downs that we stowed in the loft when DS1 outgrew them.

Maybe I should just explain to DS1 that, as DS2 gets bigger, I expect him to share most things with him. And that as he (DS1) gets bigger, DH and I will share more of our things with him. (I don't want to point out to him that he tends to get new things, and more things, than DS2, because I think that one would come back to bite me!)

GooseyLoosey Wed 29-Jun-11 14:02:39

We are lucky enough to have a playroom. If the toy is there, it is a communal toy and no arguements. If it is in their room, it is theirs. I expect to have some of my own stuff and would certainly not be prepared to share it with the dcs, so they don't have to share everything with each other. All games and puzzles are shared and live in the playroom.

Octaviapink Wed 29-Jun-11 14:18:45

I tend to have an unpopular view on forced sharing, which is that I don't do it! I don't make DD share stuff if she doesn't want to. In practice it's not been an issue so far, as if I ask her if someone else can use something of hers the answer is usually yes. I actually think making children share their stuff fosters sibling problems rather than the other way round. It's fair enough if toys have always been shared toys, or if they're in a public space (playgroup etc) but making a child see 'their' toys used (and possibly destroyed) by a sibling just creates problems if you ask me - it's bullying by the adults who bought it for them. The attitude seems to be - well, I (the parent) bought this and although I bought it for you, now I get to say that it's not yours any more. I wonder if people have the same view of toys that children have bought with their own pocket money?

DS is too little at the moment for DD to want to use his toys, but when he gets bigger there will definitely be a shared pool of toys as well as their own stuff. Birthday presents and so on will be their own, and they will get to say who uses them. I think it's empowering them and teaching them about the privilege of ownership (including looking after things) - others think it's teaching them selfishness.

As I say, I know I'm in a minority (I started a thread about it a couple of weeks ago and there were lots of views!) but like I say, it seems like bullying to me to tell a child they HAVE to share their possessions.

Weta Wed 29-Jun-11 14:24:33

Mine are 7 and 3 - we basically explained to DS1 that the toys he had outgrown were really for smaller children, ie DS2. We also explained that he had lots of toys (lego etc) that DS2 wasn't allowed to play with, so being the older sibling has its privileges too. Actually I think the good thing about this age gap is that by and large there is a clear demarcation between the toys suitable for the older child and those suitable for the younger child (probably less clear with a 2 year age gap).

DS1 has taken that on board and in fact takes great pleasure in finding old toys that DS2 could now enjoy. He also came up with the idea of him giving the best ones to DS2 for his birthday (first some dinosaurs, then a train set, and I think this year it will be the Meccano).

Doesn't stop them fighting over whichever toy the other one happens to be holding at any given moment, of course smile

Weta Wed 29-Jun-11 14:27:15

I should add that the outgrown toys are ones that DS1 doesn't play with any more, which have generally first been put in the loft, or else I have discussed with him whether he has outgrown them and is ready to pass them on - so in that sense it's not forced sharing, more trying to get him to acknowledge that he no longer needs the stuff he has grown out of.

Octaviapink Wed 29-Jun-11 14:30:42

Weta's approach seems a very sensible one.

cat64 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:36:52

Message withdrawn

cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 14:42:45

Octavia - that's kind of how I feel too. We or other people have bought presents for him, and now I'm deciding that it's not his any more - it just seems unfair.

But practically, we don't have the space, the money (or the desire) to duplicate all his toys for DS2. And things that belong to DH and I, like books, CDs and games, I would view as becoming shared property as soon as the boys are old enough to appreciate them and look after them. We do have a few things that are just ours, but not very many really. So maybe I'm not being as inconsistent as I thought...

Bramshott Wed 29-Jun-11 14:46:19

This is tricky. My DD1 (8) still insists that the Duplo is HERS (and I suppose strictly, it is). We have compromised that it IS still hers, but lives in DD2's bedroom and they both play with it.

cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 14:51:32

Oh, slow typing and cross-posted.

Weta - yeah that's a really sensible approach, and to be fair to DS1, he's mostly been fine about DS2 being given his old toys, especially since he can't remember most of them. We maybe need to make more of a thing of DS1 giving the toys to DS2, although that could backfire, since several of them have been presents from the GPs to DS2 (as there didn't seem any point in having them spend money on new toys when we had a load in the loft).

But there are toys which DS1 hasn't outgrown, that DS2 is growing into, like the cars and the train set. DS1 doesn't play with them a lot, but likes joining in when we get them out. So I think I need to decide how we spin that to DS1.

nulgirl Wed 29-Jun-11 14:54:21

I think it is how you set the ground rules in the first place. My dd and ds only have a 2 year age gap and this has always been the rule so they don't think it is unfair. There are certain things that my ds is not allowed to play with like my dd's bike but most things are fair game. She has never objected to sharing and I think that is partly because she is very good natured and accomadating with everything (which is a good and a bad thing).

In the same way I let my dd have lots of apps on my phone and she can play it when she asks. In our family we always share things and don't tend to have the concept of lots of personal possessions. If we are not using them then we let others have them as long as they respect them and don't break them. Sounds quite communist but it works for us

cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 14:57:12

Bramshott - that's exactly the issue that I'm struggling with. Does it matter if I agree with DS that eg the cars are his, as long as I encourage him that we share everything except our precious belongings? Am I setting myself up with a situation where he feels that he can say "These are all my toys and DS2 can't play with them", and the only retort that I have is "Well, you're not allowed to use any of my things then", which feels a bit counterproductive.

cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 15:01:44

Nulgirl - it's kind of always been the rule in our house too. In that we have close friends with children who are quasi-siblings to DS1 (spend a lot of time together), and they all have to share pretty much all their toys (in theory, while still having all the standard squabbles). This is only really quite a recent thing with DS (which is why I think it might really be about something else), but I just want to get straight in my head what I think a fair situation actually is.

nulgirl Wed 29-Jun-11 15:15:42

I think it is probably harder when there is a slightly bigger age gap as your ds1 will be used to having toys to himself as your ds2 was simply too young to be interested. I would guess that it might also be easier for us as we have a very girly girl and a "proper" boy. By and large she has no interest in his favourite builder tools and he leaves her adored girly pink tat blush alone. Must be harder with two of the same sex as they are more likely to be interested in all of the toys.

Your ds seems to not have a problem with sharing in general so it is probably just a phase and an awareness that ds2 is more of a "threat" now he is a toddler. I wouldn't force the issue but try to find ways to make him feel that he is involved in the decisions regarding what he considers to be his possessions

Lovethesea Wed 29-Jun-11 15:18:31

Our two are much closer in age so it's probably different (1 and 2andhalf years old) but we currently emphasize taking turns. Our 2 year old can understand and accept her little brother taking a turn with a toy, and then she has a turn, far better than sharing it in play together.

Maybe after some turns your older DS would realise he wasn't that interested anymore and it would naturally become a toy DS2 monopolises?

cornflakegirl Wed 29-Jun-11 15:26:48

Lovethesea - that's pretty much how it's worked so far, it's more the conceptual thing of how I deal with "this is mine" that I'm worried about.

Nulgirl - think you're right about making him feel involved.

PeppaPigandGeorge Wed 29-Jun-11 15:38:32

With toys I am going for joint Christmas pressies etc, at least until they are bigger, which are communal toys kept downstairs. A few special ones stay in the bedroom and you need to ask to share (and can refuse if you don't want to, but equally aren't entitled to share the others).

However books are a big issue! Elder sister has all 'her' books in her room. I'm just not prepared to duplicate them all (we have lots), nor do I think her sister should have to go begging to borrow a bedtime story. It's hard to buy different ones as we have all the usual good ones - all the Julia Donaldsons etc etc

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