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being hyper posessive over material stuff - Page 2

post #21 of 35
I've asked my husband how this was handled in his family because my only sister is so much younger, I didn't have this issue. My ILs rule was that if you left a toy in the living room, anyone could play with it. They also had "family toys" that they bought that no one got to claim. If you had something you didn't want anyone to play with, then you left it in your room.

I think with shoes & clothes, you always should ask. Some people just don't want others wearing their things. (And your younger dd should learn that now. I had a college roommate who took my clothes without asking. ) Dress-up shoes are different, though, in my mind. If your older dd rarely wears them why were they in the living room? Was she wearing them that day?

It looks like there's probably some of both here. Your older dd isn't wrong to expect others to ask, but that also means she needs to take some responsibility for putting things away. I mean an air mattress in the middle of our living room would be fair game for anyone to lie down on. I can't imagine making that for one person only.
post #22 of 35
I agree with the others - it is a respect issue. I would like to gently point out the tone you are using in your posts and the words you have chosen - little, insignificant, small.....are you conveying the same message to your dd? I know I would feel MORE frustrated if someone belittled how I felt and told me that what is important to me is not worth their time or energy.
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
I agree with the others - it is a respect issue. I would like to gently point out the tone you are using in your posts and the words you have chosen - little, insignificant, small.....are you conveying the same message to your dd? I know I would feel MORE frustrated if someone belittled how I felt and told me that what is important to me is not worth their time or energy.
Ummm...probably. They are small things to me (whether your sister tries on a pair of shoes you rarely wear, plays with a toy that may not even be yours, etc). I can't change that - yesterday they fought over who owned a 50 cent plastic blue monkey they found in a toy bin. How is that not small?

___________________________

Here is a common scenario (unfortunate but true)

Little sister touches/uses something that may or may not belong to big sister - but big sister thinks she owns it.

Big sister blows up - is mean, cold, etc.

When this happens, it is hard to focus on the fact that little sister touched something she perhaps should not have in the first place. In my head being mean and hateful to someone because they touched something you own is not OK, and a far worse crime than the initial playing with something that does not belong to you.

It is a viscous circle - and leave me feeling more frustrated with my older than my younger (even though the younger is not innocent in all this)- because my values hold that touching your sisters stuff is far less disrespectfull that treating someone meanly.

Another issue - even when I do try to intervene - older DD is not appeased. They will be in the middle of a spat, I will say to DD2 : "you need to ask her before you use any of her stuff. So if you want to use it - please ask her." Younger DD will ask her, older DD will almost always say "no" - and moreover, older DD will often continue to make cutting remarks.

So, yeah, my empathy lies with the younger. Taking your sisters stuff without asking? Bad. Being incrediably mean and cutting to your younger sister? Very Bad.
post #24 of 35
I don't see either as being worse than the other, but just two seperate problems to deal with. They both sound like they need support and teaching here. I think it will take the 11yo some time to get over feeling disrespected. That's not an excuse for her cutting comments, nor a license to tolerate them, but just knowledge that a one time fix does not erase memories of mistakes. She does need reinforcement of better ways to express herself:

DD: I hate you. You're always touching my things!

You: You're still upset. Take a few minutes to cool off and then meet me in the kitchen.

You're not going to get through to her while she's still upset, but I've found that making hands busy while talking helps the conversation flow more positively.


You're probably going to have to actively teach for at least a few weeks until they both start getting it and can handle it on their own again.

BTW, have you seen the book Siblings Without Rivalry? It's a great read for helping kids deal with their problems.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

So, yeah, my empathy lies with the younger. Taking your sisters stuff without asking? Bad. Being incrediably mean and cutting to your younger sister? Very Bad.
OK, see, my first instinct is that "taking someone else's stuff without asking" is stealing and an adult would go to jail or pay a heavy fine for it, while being mean and cutting is mean but an adult would only get socially punished for it, not get arrested. Therefore taking someone else's stuff is worse than yelling at the thief. Wouldn't you yell at someone who snatched your purse?

That said, it sounds as though the older sister is claiming things as hers which are not hers, and which are supposed to belong to the family. If there are things that you think should be communal, you certainly have the option of declaring them communal and insisting that she should keep her stuff in her room. Several posters here have suggested systems for making that work.
post #26 of 35
It would drive me CRAZY to try to keep track of every little thing that belonged to each of my kids. It also really pushes my buttons when my older kid speaks in a nasty way to my younger kid. We have the same system as someone upthread--a toy that is new stays with the kid who receives it for awhile, but then becomes communal property.

We have two big boxes of dress-up clothes that both kids use. We have one big box of stuffed animals that both kids use. Ditto on Legos, craft supplies, CDs, and games.

My kids do have certain things that just belong to each of them, and their sibling needs to ask to use. These things stay in their rooms. If I were you, I'd take both girls, get each a storage box of a certain size, and go through possessions together. Each would get to choose things that belong to them that go into the box. These are the things her sister would have to ASK to use. And be answered politely, even if the answer is no. I'd declare everything else a possession of the house, free for anyone to use without asking and without being harassed.

I think it's fine to have special possessions, but it's not fair for one sibling to always be on her guard that the other one is going to take away every single thing she picks up. A lot of people have talked about how the older sister is the victim here, because people let her younger sister play with her stuff. The younger sister is in a pretty crummy situation, too, constantly being berated by her older sister for just trying to play.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Your DD's reaction could be about personal boundaries instead of material possessiveness. If someone uses her stuff without asking that means the person went in her private space to get it. The real issue could be she doesn't feel she has enough privacy or space for things that are just hers. It is reasonable that she wants people ask before borrowing her stuff. If her reaction is coming from feelings that her boundaries are being violated then it may be hard for her to react in a nice and polite manner.
I agree with this. My mom helped my brother and I create clear boundaries for our things that we each had to respect. We mostly shared as children unless we were having a fight, but we each had to ask before going into each others room or using something the other sibling owned. It may seem like a little thing to an adult, but kids only have what their parents give them or what they can get with their measly allowances. Kids don't have a lot of say over their lives and possessions so it seems natural that they would want to have say over whatever they can. They want to protect their assets no matter how small because they only have those things. I think though that if someone came onto the bed I was sitting and doing stuff on or came and just took my shoes I may also be ticked off even if I don't often use those shoes. As an adult I can manage that nicely, as a child your dd is still learning to manage that annoyance while having to constantly deal with the little annoying intrusions that occur because of having a sibling.

It may also be that now that your older dd is going through puberty she is more annoyed by her sibling and doesn't want to be pulled into play with someone who is still in the childish mode of play. My brother and I really moved apart when I went through puberty, we started fighting constantly (which is not something we had done before), and it was hard on my brother. When I was a kid this was a typical phase kids went through and my mom warned us this might happen. Helping her have clearer boundaries and helping your younger child develop friendships with kids her age so she has other people to play with when her sister is not willing to be around her may help. Maybe there is a book about helping kids starting puberty live in harmony with siblings.

I suggest a book on helping girls through puberty as well. It is small stuff they are fighting over, but your dd is in an emotional phase and kids in this stage often hate other people dictating things for them. Have you talked to her about this calmly to see where she is coming from? That may help you understand her feelings on this and why she is annoyed by her sister lately. Just knowing the normal changes in mood that come with puberty has helped me to stay calm and find more effective ways to help my dd when she is upset over something that I think is stupid. She may be interpreting your reaction as you liking her younger sister more and being unfair to her, which is probably going to make her more resistant to being kind or reasonable. When kids see something as unfair (even if we see it as petty fighting over stupid stuff) they tend to dig in their heels and become more unreasonable. Right now it sounds like you like you are working against her, and a little bit like you can't stand her. If you can find a way to try to empathize (or fake empathy) with her you may be able to work with her on a solution that will work.
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Ummm...probably. They are small things to me
That's precisely the point. They aren't small things to your daughter, and you're dismissing her feelings because you don't think it should matter. My mother frequently said, "that shouldn't make you upset," and I have tons of resentment for it now because regardless of what she thought, whatever it was *did* make me upset. This problem is more between you and your older daughter than the two girls.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
When this happens, it is hard to focus on the fact that little sister touched something she perhaps should not have in the first place.
Ding, ding, ding. Little sister wins. Every time. She knows that she can take something and make her older sister shriek, making the older sister get in trouble. That's unfortunate, but I see it played out all the time that one sibling knows doing something will set the other off and result in getting the other in trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Another issue - even when I do try to intervene - older DD is not appeased. They will be in the middle of a spat, I will say to DD2 : "you need to ask her before you use any of her stuff. So if you want to use it - please ask her." Younger DD will ask her, older DD will almost always say "no" - and moreover, older DD will often continue to make cutting remarks.
Appeased doesn't mean agreeing. Little sister should ask, and older sister must have the right to say no. If she can't say no, then asking is pointless and not likely to make her feel empowered. Perhaps this argument wouldn't play out over scores of items if the older child felt heard in the first place. I'm guessing she feels that no matter what, her younger sister always can bother her things, and you will side with the younger sister. That's just making her dig in her heels more.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
This was a preschooler toy acquired years ago - and I have no idea who it belongs to! I refuse to be the police of stuff (much of it junk)
hmmm, is there any reason why there are still preschool toys in the house(special needs child, you babysit, etc)? If not GET RID OF THEM. Declutter the toys & their stuff. Let the middle dd know you are NOT keeping everything, in case she doesn't want to let go of anything. Cutting down the amount of stuff around will cut down the amount of arguing over things.

Quote:
Little sister touches/uses something that may or may not belong to big sister - but big sister thinks she owns it.

Big sister blows up - is mean, cold, etc.

When this happens, it is hard to focus on the fact that little sister touched something she perhaps should not have in the first place. In my head being mean and hateful to someone because they touched something you own is not OK, and a far worse crime than the initial playing with something that does not belong to you.

It is a viscous circle - and leave me feeling more frustrated with my older than my younger (even though the younger is not innocent in all this)- because my values hold that touching your sisters stuff is far less disrespectfull that treating someone meanly.

Another issue - even when I do try to intervene - older DD is not appeased. They will be in the middle of a spat, I will say to DD2 : "you need to ask her before you use any of her stuff. So if you want to use it - please ask her." Younger DD will ask her, older DD will almost always say "no" - and moreover, older DD will often continue to make cutting remarks.

So, yeah, my empathy lies with the younger. Taking your sisters stuff without asking? Bad. Being incrediably mean and cutting to your younger sister? Very Bad.
In a situation like this it doesn't matter which "side" you feel is worse as long as both are dealt with.

Little sis - you need to ask big sis before taking something. If big sis says no, then little sis needs to find something else to play with. If she can't then she can sit in her room until she can.

Big sis - even if she does say no that isn't the issue, the issue is the attitutde so tell her to drop the attitute. To reply in a polite manner & if she can't then she needs to sit in her room until she can.

Quick, simple & both are dealt with.

It sounds like this issue is ONLY between the girls & not your son at all. It is small things now, but when they're teens it'll become bigger things. Alot of the 11yo behaviour IS pre-teen/puberty. With my 11yo I have to tell her to cut the attitude ALOT & if she can't she goes to her room(we either tell her to or she stomps there). She also says at times, especially with her dad who is no longer her favorite ) "You aren't listening to me". So we try to make sure she can say what she needs to even if we don't agree. Sometimes it isn't that we're not listening but that she's speaking too fast.
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 
I want to thank every one for their replies. Lots to think about
post #31 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
OK, see, my first instinct is that "taking someone else's stuff without asking" is stealing and an adult would go to jail or pay a heavy fine for it, while being mean and cutting is mean but an adult would only get socially punished for it, not get arrested. Therefore taking someone else's stuff is worse than yelling at the thief. Wouldn't you yell at someone who snatched your purse?.
I do not think playing with shoes/toys/air mattress that may or may not belong to your sister is the same as purse snatching. There is no intent to hurt the item or not return it. Moreover, this is a family unit - this is a certain amount of sharing of stuff that goes on within households.

Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
She may be interpreting your reaction as you liking her younger sister more and being unfair to her, which is probably going to make her more resistant to being kind or reasonable. When kids see something as unfair (even if we see it as petty fighting over stupid stuff) they tend to dig in their heels and become more unreasonable. Right now it sounds like you like you are working against her, and a little bit like you can't stand her. If you can find a way to try to empathize (or fake empathy) with her you may be able to work with her on a solution that will work.
I think you hit the nail on the head with much of the above

For many years she has been mean to her sister. I am not sure how it started (and I think it was/is multi-causal) but I cannot abide someone being mean to my children...even one sister to another. Partly due to their age difference I have always jumped in - the younger sister has needed protecting from the older sisters wrath. It is just that simple. I do not doubt it looks like I am always taking the younger ones' side.

To lay it all on the line: I am angry with her because she is always so angry with her sister (fun dynamic, eh?). She is angry with me for what she sees as always taking her sisters side.

I am not sure how to end this cycle (and I fully acknowledge that I as the adult have to end it). How do you get over being angry at someone so this charming (sarcasm) cycle can end????? I just do not know.

For what it is worth, I absolutely can stand my middle child...most of the time. She has many great qualities, is a good person, and I love her. We just struggle in this area. It is a big area - but it is not the only areas of life, yk?
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

For many years she has been mean to her sister. I am not sure how it started (and I think it was/is multi-causal) but I cannot abide someone being mean to my children...even one sister to another. Partly due to their age difference I have always jumped in - the younger sister has needed protecting from the older sisters wrath. It is just that simple. I do not doubt it looks like I am always taking the younger ones' side.

To lay it all on the line: I am angry with her because she is always so angry with her sister (fun dynamic, eh?). She is angry with me for what she sees as always taking her sisters side.

I am not sure how to end this cycle (and I fully acknowledge that I as the adult have to end it). How do you get over being angry at someone so this charming (sarcasm) cycle can end????? I just do not know.
The bolded really stood out to me. I think your intentions are great, but they're not doing either child any favors. What happens when you're not available to intervene?

They need to BOTH have the tools to argue on their own and come to solutions. At 7, your younger dd is old enough to be taught simple phrases, techniques, and actions she can take to a) stand her ground, b) keep her dignity and respect herself, and c) come to a solution. She doesn't need your protection, she needs your guidance and backbone.

At 11, your older dd needs to be learning the lessons of mercy while maintaining her rights and dignity. She can't be aware of others' feelings if told that her own are wrong. She needs your guidance, too.


I believe in the idea that when we feel loved we can pass that love on. As an outsider looking in, it seems that she's in need of a more one-on-one relationship with you to strengthen that bond so that when it comes down to you having to play judge (and not in her favor) she's able to see your love more clearly.
post #33 of 35
I just wanted to offer another possible reason your middle DD reacts so strongly to her younger sister using her things (or things she thinks are hers whether they are or not). I am the older sister in my family and although we get along great now when I was about 10-12 I refused to play with her or share anything that belonged to me or even what I was using at the time. My mom also saw it as me being mean to my younger sister (and in retrospect it definitely was) but at the time I didn't want her touching anything I was using or owned because no matter who played with it I was the only one that cleaned up. My mom would tell us both to clean but my younger sister would ignore it and I would be stuck doing all the work or risk being yelled at because I was the older responsible one who had to make sure things were cleaned up.

Now this may not be the case for your daughters but I thought I would mention it because my mom always says now that she wishes she had seen this at the time so that she could have fixed it. She didn't know this was the reason I stopped playing with my younger sister until I was 15 or 16 and it really would have been an easy fix if the problem could have been defined at the time.

I guess in summary it was basically that if something was seen as my mess when it was time to clean up (even if it just one item it gets old to constantly put it away after someone else uses it) then it didn't seem fair to me that my sister had also used it but had none of the responsibility to help put things away.
post #34 of 35
My kids are 8 and 11.Sometimes the 8yo will tell the 11 to not touch his stuff,and not in a nice way.11 says sorry.I tell 8yo not to talk to mean....and we move on. I also remind the kiddos if they have something they do not want anyone to touch to please put it back in their rooms.Lol,I have heard it from ds when I knocked over his star wars legos while cleaning,but I tell him he should be cleaning if he doesn't want me in the room!

I don't like a tense home with bickering either.Less stuff should equal less fighting.We will see if that is true.

All our halloween costumes become community property and go into one big tote box.
post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 
Just a quick update.....

It is early days yet, but there has been some positive progress.

I talked to the older DD about keeping special stuff in her room, and to younger DD about asking. It has sunk in a little bit. Earlier today I saw young DD wearing older DD shoes, and I said "You need to ask before you borrow them". It turns out she had asked, and older had said yes!

I think the biggest change came about not because either DD saw the light, but because I have made a concerted effort to stay out of things.

The old pattern was DD would do something I did not like/did not understand, I would intervene, and she and I would get into it.

Now, I let a lot of stuff go and let younger DD fight her own battles. They resolve things much faster when I do not get involved, and moreover, it does not look like I am taking sides. It is occasionally hard for me to bite my tongue, but looking at the big picture, it is exactly what I need to do.
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