Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess
Amyamanda, I just wanted to say, I really enjoyed reading your post.
: Made me look forward to the holidays all the more!
This particular part is something that jumped out at me, as we are looking for gifts that fit this description as well.
I found your philosophy on common property to be interesting and would love to hear more about it, if you care to share.
Aww, thanks, and you got me on a night when I'm procrastinating and online! LOL.
My kids are pretty close in age (two sets 1-1/2 years apart between kids with 2 years between the sets) that I figured if my kids grew up with the idea that - with very few exceptions - everything in our house is shared, we wouldn't have the issues some people do with kids hoarding their own toys, refusing to share, fighting over whose is whose...or the impossible expectation that we the parents would make it fair somehow... So all toys are common property, though once the boys had their own room (starting at 7 & 8, now they are -1/2 & 10) they started keeping some things in there away from the girls (4 & 5)...but mostly it's just stuff that the girls haven't been able to treat respectfully, so it is kept safe in the boys' room where the girls don't go. Not because it belongs to the boys, just because it is stuff (like certain books and games) that needs to be kept handy and in good shape to be useful. But the boys don't have much in their room in any case. The girls still sleep in our room, and all they keep in there right now is a basket of dolls and clothes.
I guess our main reasons for limiting access would be safety of people and respect for property, rather than ownership. Each kid has a smallish plastic tub where they can keep things like cool rocks they find, birthday cards, projects they are working on, trinkets, whatever, and their box is their "safe spot" for stuff, but they're not allowed to hoard something in there if someone else is waiting for a turn.
DH and I have our own stuff, but mostly it's stuff that is only of interest to us (hobbies that we would share with kids under supervision), or needs to not be messed with (financial paperwork), or might be dangerous (tools, chemicals), or whatever.
I think this philosophy partly grew out of a relationship we have with one family where the kids are extremely competitive with each other and possessive/territorial of their rooms and things. We love this family but it's like culture shock sometimes...LOL. For the longest time their kids could not understand that our kids don't have their "own" rooms or their "own" toys (or even their "own" friends - with my sets of kids so close in age, they almost always share friends, too, and we discourage exclusivity with friends).
Hmm, let's see...if someone buys something with their own money, and it's precious to them, they can store it in their box if they don't want to share it. Ditto for a birthday present addressed just to them, though in general we do the one-day-rule I learned from a friend who has 5 kids...it's "yours" for the first 24 hours, and then after that it is reasonably shared by others.
Also, if someone is having a turn with something, they generally have the right to finish their turn before someone else gets a turn, as long as they are using and not hoarding the thing.
It isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.
I wanted to keep the emphasis at Christmastime on sharing and on family, not on individual "loot" if you know what I mean. The kids still get recipient-specific presents from extended family, but they generally share them after they are opened. And their stocking gifts are theirs alone, but I tailor the contents to be both 'equal' and specifically appropriate to each person. Maybe I overthink this, LOL! But it seems to accomplish what I want it to. Like DD (4) might get a CD of princess stories and DS (10) might get a CD of adventure stories, but they both got story CDs, which end up being shared by everyone anyway. Last year they all got flashlights. The girls got ribbon wands and the boys got yoyos. Etc.
Anyway, sorry for the longwinded reply. I want my family's emphasis to be on community, teamwork, sharing. I hope that answers your question!