Thank you all for a great discussion. You have all given me (and everyone else reading this thread) a lot to think about.
Originally Posted by Yooper
In the end, sister got some. Brother not only had some of his food taken without permission but was also shamed. Does anyone actually think that is a "teaching moment"? Do you think he sat there and thought "Oh yes, mommy is right, sister was sad, I am glad mommy made me share, and I will remember always to do so in the future"? But replay the situation. Mommy asks if he will share. He says no. Mommy asks him to think of solutions to the problem that sister is sad. Or mommy gets another snack for sister. Brother probably still does not leave the situation thinking "oh yes, I shall share forever more". But he does see empathy from his mother to his sister. Respect for his decisions. Problem solving. And a solution that works for everyone. I still do not think this is suppose to be some big lesson. But I see the first scenario as being detrimental to the "goal" of raising a model citizen while scenario two is at the very least neutral and perhaps a rung in the modelling/learning ladder.
This is my problem with it, exactly. I am not above imposing my will on the kids, if I feel it is necessary. But in this particular case, I do not think it was helpful in teaching DS the value of sharing. If anything, it created resentment between all of us.
However, I am torn. One one hand, like thismama said, I am worried that if I don't make DS step outside his own head sometimes, he just won't do it on his own and will become self-centered. Also, I don't see anything wrong with telling him he is being an ass, if he is being one - not in so many words, of course. If I had gotten another piece of cheese or gotten DD another snack, what message would that have sent DS? Yes, I would have been respecting his feelings about not wanting to share the cheese. I also would have been telling him that not wanting to share the cheese is OK, and I'm not sure I want to tell him that. I don't think his not wanting to share the cheese is OK, really.
It's like the Buddhist idea of no possessions. On one hand, I can understand the idea of not being able to truly share something unless you truly possess it. How can one truly possess something if someone else is forcing them to give it up. It's not possible. But, on the other hand, I am uncomfortable with him truly possessing something and choosing not to give it up, especially when his giving it up would really help someone else out. I know this is a little hypocritical, but there it is.
OK, one other thing. This has been a great discussion, and I know I opened myself up to criticism by posting this, and I wanted criticism, even. But this whole "ripping the cheese out of his hand with no warning" thing is a little hurtful.
In conversations like these, I know people tend to polarize the issue, but the whole reason I posted it in the first place was because I felt like there was a lot of gray area to explore and talk about. Clearly if I had ripped the cheese from his hand without warning, that would be wrong, no matter what.
AND, one last thing - Yooper and WuWei, you have both made excellent points and I have learned a lot from both of you. You help us all stay on the path. But I must say, it is a LOT easier to negotiate, discuss, compromise, etc. when you only have one child. It is much harder to meet the needs of two small children. And that is my excuse.