Interfere or let them work it out? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 10-06-2010, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 16 months, and 2 days a week I also watch a baby who just turned a year. The two of them LOVE each other, play together happily all day long...except they constantly yank things out of each others hands, and sometimes hit each other. Sometimes someone gets frustrated but they usually work it out in 30 seconds or so. Also, my 16 month old is smaller than the 1 year old, so nobody is getting beat up

Should I intervene and try to help them learn sharing, etc, or let them figure it out on their own?

Single mama to S ~ 6/09

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#2 of 14 Old 10-06-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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If it's going both ways, I'd probably just let them work it out, though often when other parents are around I feel obliged to interfere (because they do). If one kid is consistently the 'victim' then I'd also be more likely to interfere though definitely not every time. It sounds like the kids are working it out on their own already so I'd say you could just let them be. Step in if it seems to be getting out of control but otherwise stay out of it.

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#3 of 14 Old 10-06-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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If no one's getting hurt and there's a balance of power (as it were) let them go to town.

(My mom tells me that when a friend and I were both 18 months, we were standing at either end of a toy and screaming. She tried distracting us by giving us a new toy each. We looked at the toys, looked at each other, each set her toy down, and walked right back to the first toy and picked it up together and started screaming. Mom decided to just cover her ears.)

ETA: I was just coming back to edit in what Carmel23 said. Helping them translate their shrieks into "can I have a turn?" and "I'm not done with it yet"
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#4 of 14 Old 10-06-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I think I would periodically model asking for a turn and polite giving and taking periodically throughout the play date.

The song, "Its mine but you can have some, with you I'd like to share it," might be fun to listen to and sing, and there is a part where you share a toy by taking turns, passing it back and forth. It is a fun game to begin with, and even very young children can learn this game and enjoy the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpB3mEXO6rk

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#5 of 14 Old 10-06-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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I think you need to teach them proper behavior. If it resolves within 30 seconds, and there is not an alpha baby in the situation, then things are probably fine. But if one baby starts to overpower the other, then it is time to step in before things get out of hand.

Good luck! They sound cute!
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#6 of 14 Old 10-07-2010, 05:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
I think you need to teach them proper behavior. If it resolves within 30 seconds, and there is not an alpha baby in the situation, then things are probably fine. But if one baby starts to overpower the other, then it is time to step in before things get out of hand.

Good luck! They sound cute!
I totally agree!!!!

Mommy to one adorable little boy and expecting another little bundle of joy in June 2011
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#7 of 14 Old 10-07-2010, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I do try to talk about sharing and show them that. With hitting, I always tell them 'gentle' and remove the one who is getting hit, giving her some extra attention for a minute or two. It feels so futile! Seems like they dont get it at all.

As for distracting...it is IMPOSSIBLE to distract my daughter from what she wants...she is VERY determined to get it...and my nanny baby has a strong will too, so I think she will be in that stage very soon herself. We might have a fight on our hands when the nanny baby realizes she wants what she wants, too!

My daughter does say, "here go" (here you go) and share, but takes it back about 5 seconds later ("please?" or "I see?" she says as she snatches it.) I just don't know what to do to teach her to not take it when the other person doesn't say 'okay, you can have it!'

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#8 of 14 Old 10-08-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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Well in my experience it seems to upset us more than it upsets the kids... I mean, sure, occasionally there are fights over the same toy, but it seems like 90% of the time one of the kids just lets it go & doesn't really care. Sometimes it seems like continually 'forcing' sharing makes them extra aware of when someone isn't sharing something?? I don't know. Anyway, I guess I'm just saying wait to see how they react before making a big deal out of it.

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#9 of 14 Old 10-08-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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IMHO I think it's important to let kids work things out. It's part of their social development and I think we can be too inclined to step in and mediate when it would be better that they could work it out themselves. Of course, not when one child is clearly more aggressive than the other, or if someone is going to get hurt! I know for myself I really have to bite my tongue and make a concerted effort to stay out of it when my two kids fight over a toy. If not for doing that, I would be one of those helicopter parents, constantly stepping in and getting involved when I should let my kids work it out!

I think if I don't let them learn now how to resolve conflict, then they will have difficulties later when they need the skills but have not had the chance to develop them.

I feel the same way when my kids have friends over - I listen to make sure no one is getting clobbered (LOL!) and only step in when necessary. And when I do step in, we all have a discussion about why I had to step in and what would work better next time.

Wife to Hank , Mommy to Gabriella 6.5 yrs Anthony 28 monthsand 3 angels wait for me in Heaven Praying to be a Proverbs 31 woman!!
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#10 of 14 Old 10-12-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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I struggle with the same thing. DS is one and he is very physical and strong. Sometimes he tries to pull himself up using his friends clothes or hair. He doesn't mean to hurt anyone....but sometimes he does. Also a few times he has gotten excited and chomped down on another baby! I always go to the baby who is hurting and comfort them first and then repeat "gentle fingers" or "we don't bite"

Right now I tend to narrate- "it looks like you both want to play with x" and anticipate when my son is going to "attack" and distract him before it happens.

I don't want to be a helicopter, but I am having a hard time finding a balance. So I'm VERY VERY interested in responses.
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#11 of 14 Old 10-13-2010, 05:13 AM
 
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I guess I'm the odd one out, but when I nannied similar situations with my son (though I don't know if I started this technique quite so young as a year) I tried to gently give the toy back to the previous owner and say "Right now it's X's turn, but when he/she is all done with it, it can be your turn." very cheerfully and "we don't take things out of other people's hands." or "you can ask if you can have a turn." (i say "gently" as you feel like a big silly trying to tear a doll out a baby's hand while explaining about sharing!) We repeated those phrases A LOT! (and -- at 3yo -- still do, but only very occasionally.)
My reasoning is that I believe that they should, by all means, learn conflict resolution but I think that is an emerging skill for a slightly older child. Toddlers are just starting to figure out proper social interaction. if they don't have a few ground rules about how civil play is supposed to (ideally) work, then the only conclusion they can draw is that stronger, more aggressive people get to do what they want.
I want my kids to know when they are playing alone, that they are entitled to speak up when someone snatches a toy from them and also that it's not ok to snatch from others. I want them to get a sense for "right and wrong" so even when an adult is not there to advocate for them, they know that they have rights.
so we have a set of basic rules like "If it's in your hands, its your turn. but if you put it down and start playing with something else, then it's someone else's turn."
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#12 of 14 Old 10-13-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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I agree with erratum! The younger the child, the more intervention they need. And it's not helicoptering! "Intervening" to soothe your crying baby isn't helicoptering--it's parenting! Parenting includes LOTS of intervening, just different kinds for different ages. At some point, intervening in your kids' squabbles IS helicoptering, but that's AFTER they've been TAUGHT how to maneuver such situations. Younger than 3 (I think--I'll have to consult my child development text books to be sure) kids are not capable of seeing things from another's point of view and that makes it very hard for them to work things out on their own. They are not self-sacrificing. I might let my littles try to work it out for about 10 seconds (more, as you see them successfully resolving things in that amount of time). After that they need some help and instruction.
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#13 of 14 Old 10-13-2010, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The problem is, my daughter WILL NOT be distracted. If she wants something, she wants it, and I have to pry it out of her hands as she kicks, screams, hits, etc. I feel like I'm making a huge struggle out of something that isn't that big of a deal, and she has no idea why. I don't know if I'm just letting her 'get away with it' and that's the problem here, or if it's typical toddler behavior. I don't know how I'm supposed to teach her we don't take things from others, by taking something from her. She has NO IDEA why I'm taking it, you know?

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#14 of 14 Old 10-14-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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Well rather than take it from her, you can ask her to share. Let her be the one to hand the toy over. Harder to persuade her to do that but more meaningful. Especially works if the other kid is mellow & will patiently wait for your DD to finally hand it over 5 minutes later lol. Like I said, I'm more hands-off often, but when I do interfere, something that works great is give the other kid a toy too & then they can trade. You can practice things like sharing & trading when it's just you & her, in low-stress situations (things she won't mind handing over), so she'll 'get' the concept when it comes up in real life. A friend of mine really focuses on feelings too. She taught her DD sad, happy, etc. and will say, "Look! You took the toy, that made Mikey sad. If you give it back to him, it will make him happy. Oh look he's smiling, he's happy you shared with him!" It would never work for my DS -- he doesn't seem to understand feelings yet for some reason -- but it works great for her DD.

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