The I Wanta's - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-15-2002, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
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My Eli has a bad case of the I Wanta's. As in, "I want that truck," "I want those toys," "I want that bear."

We don't shop much, but often toys show up in unlikely places- the grocery store, the forest service office, the post office. In the past talking about how the wanted item lived there and would be sad if we took it from it's home has worked. Not any more. Last week I experienced my first full blown public temper tantrum at the forest service office over some matchbox cars.

What am I doing wrong? We aren't stuff people at all. Most of Elis toys were gifts, and he has a modest number of toys (I can't stand clutter and weed through them fairly often). We tend to focus on doing stuff rather than collecting stuff. We don't have tv.... I guess I thought these things would head off the I wantas- but he has a bad bad case.

Any suggestions? Is this normal? What do you do about it?

please help me,
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#2 of 7 Old 12-15-2002, 03:26 AM
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I have an almost 3, and we are just getting into this too, so I'll be watching the responses with interest too! Also have a 6.5 yo, so that's part of where his "I wannas" come from

I think it's just a natural thing to want something you see. I don't know if they so much 'want it' as equating it with OWNING it and taking it. Our library has a toy lending library, and we borrow things there to play with and return them later, and they enjoy it while we have it, but usually within a few days, it's 'old news'. (These are NEAT toystoo--like folk art puppets and books, wooden puzzles, and wooden pull toys, trucks, etc.) But there are some all time favorites we get over and over again, or end up purchasing for our collection.

Something we've done with my older son since he was was about this age was 'the list'. Whenever he asks for something, we tell him to add to his 'list' and we'll research it. He's added tapping a finger to his temple and winking his eye, like he's 'registering' it into his brain. But, then later, when he's trying to think of things for birthdays or Christmas, we talk about 'the list' and what's on it. Most of the time, he only remembers a few items and those are the ones we look into. Whether it's online, or we investigate them further when we go back to the store, we try to make an informed decision on what we're buying. And, we talk about why he wants it and how it might go with the toys he already has.

Of course, the in depth discussion doesn't 'work' totally with a 2.5 yo But....we still do it! It will work eventually. And, we tell him to add it to his list also. It difuses the situation at hand *usually* and then we can talk about wanting the toy at a later date when the item of desire isn't immediately at hand and making them toy crazeee! It also usually keeps the tantrum down, because mommy didn't say no, but she didn't say yes. And, we are always free to dicuss it later on less tempting turf and when the memory of the gadget has faded a little.

I think it was in this issue of Mothering where I read about Tantrums! It had some great advice....and I loved her line about if you have to make a hasty exit, something about, "Pardon me, my associate is having techinical difficulties" or something like that. I'm definitely going to use that one later!

HTH and I'll be watching for other posts!


~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

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#3 of 7 Old 12-15-2002, 07:02 PM
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I think sometimes you just have to drag them out. They want it. It's sad because they don't get it. They cry. It's ok for them to express their disappointment, but they still can't have it.

For the most part, I try to avoid those situations right now- by never taking my child to a store. When I am in that type of situation, I tell my 3 yr old ds that we have to leave it so it will be there next time we come to visit, or so it will be there for other children. That strategy does not always works, but often helps.
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#4 of 7 Old 12-16-2002, 01:38 AM
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We do the 'list' as well and it works great most of the time! Our "I wanna's" that are driving me bonkers have to do with behavior - "I wanna be loud" "I wanna band my fork" "I wanna bump my sister" *sigh* and he is so calm about the whole thing - he looks me straight in the eye and says "But Mommy, I want to ...." and keeps doing it! Any suggestions???

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#5 of 7 Old 12-16-2002, 02:06 PM
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My ds is getting the I wants, too. I guess this goes along with the Mines (I think it should be called Toys 'r' MINE). I do like it when he says, "MY Mummie!"

Anyway, about the tantrum, the article in Mothering is great, read it. She says and I agree, the tantrum is rarely about the thing they are tantruming over. They are just looking for something to tantrum about and anything will do. My ds tantrums after I pick him up from daycare. I think he just has a build up of negative emotions that he has been keeping in check all day saving them for me. I'm flattered, I guess!
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#6 of 7 Old 12-16-2002, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The list is a great idea- I'm going to use it.

I think it's just a natural thing to want something you see.
You are absolutely right. I find myself with a bad case of the I wannas every now and again. I'm trying to understand him, but I guess I let my ego get in the way- I feel like I've done something wrong instead of focusing on how to get him through it.

I love the idea of a toy lending library... I don't think there is one near me but I wish there was.

I did read the tantrum article in Mothering when it came out, and it did change my perspective. I will reread it. By the way, I handled the tantrum in a way I felt good about, calmly and with loving kindness and firmness. But I dread it happening again.

Graceoc- we too have I wanna behaviors- and this is hard. I wanna ride on the dog, etc. Distraction works less and less. Or perhaps I just need to find bigger things to distract with.

You guys are great. Thanks for commiserating and giving me some perspective. My guy is going through a tough few days- hes whining a lot and having trouble sleeping. And I am having a rough few days of parenting. But I can already tell that it is beginning to pass, I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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#7 of 7 Old 12-17-2002, 03:05 PM
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I think it may just have to do with power, too -- it's heady stuff to be able to say "I want an apple", say, and then get it. It's a little complicated for them to understand why some "I wannas" work (they get the apple) and some don't (they don't get the matchbox car.) I agree that it's best to just be calm about it, redirect when possible (love the list idea) and recognize it's normal.

One thing I do with dd is let her go ahead and look at/ touch the object of her desire, then put it back. (I think the "I wannas" are not always about taking the object home and having it forever, but just examining it.) She does this pretty well, and gets praised like mad. She's started doing it on her own occasionally (occasionally!) We've gotten dirty looks from salespeople when she hugs a bear and then puts it back, but if they don't want kids grabbing the bears, don't put 'em at kid level, ya know?
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