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#1 of 8 Old 11-20-2001, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I need your opinions, please! Today at a birthday party 3 y.o. dd asked the birthday boy (also 3) if she could try a new toy of his (and asked politely, too, I should point out). He responded with a loud, "No!" She burst into tears. Because I don't think any child should be forced to share (especially a shiny new birthday gift), I simply comforted my daughter and agreed that it is upsetting to be refused when you make an effort to ask nicely. But later, the same boy asked to share a toy she had, and she said no rather loudly herself, which is pretty out of character for her. When I asked her about the incident later she explained that she didn't want to share with him because he wouldn't share with her. I really wasn't sure how to respond. I do want her to learn to treat others as she wants to be treated, but on the other hand, this boy NEVER wants to share with her, and shouldn't she see that the "do unto others" rule applies to everybody? If I had told her that what she did was wrong, is that interfering with her learning to choose friends wisely? Okay, I'm starting to ramble and babble (and obsess) a little, so I'll stop, but I'd love some opinions!
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#2 of 8 Old 11-20-2001, 09:06 PM
 
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I made that mistake with my older dd (she's 16 now) I would insist (nicely) that she be kind and polite even if some one didn't treat her the same. I am now retraining her, so to speak, to stand up for herself and be more assertive!
With my 4 yr. old dd I am trying to strike a balance. I don't want her to hit back or use bad language on people but neither do I insist that she be nice to them.
I think it was right for you to let your dd not share if she didn't feel like it even if the reason was only because the other child wouldn't share with her. If your child always behaved this way that would be different but in this instance, I think she was just standing up for herself.
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#3 of 8 Old 11-21-2001, 04:30 PM
 
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#4 of 8 Old 11-21-2001, 05:12 PM
 
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I also agree that kids should not be forced to share. I think it is fine to put a special toy away and just say something like "we need to put this away, because it is special and too hard to share".

I encourage sharing if it is appropriate and not a big deal, but I think it is unrealistic to expect small kids to share.
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#5 of 8 Old 11-22-2001, 06:47 PM
 
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I think you did the right thing! Especially because she is a girl - girls are so often socialized to be "nice" even at their own expense or when they don't want to. I also, think she was standing up for herself. I would want to do what you did - and not make a big deal about her motivation for not sharing - because I want my daughter to be able to let people know when they are being jerks. How many times have we women put up with someone way too long when they were being mean or unfair with us?
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#6 of 8 Old 11-27-2001, 05:00 PM
 
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I let my 2 1/2y.o. son decide if he's going to share. If somebody asks, I gently remind him, "If you share, your friend will be happy, too." Then he can choose to share the toy and get joy from watching his friend have fun, or not share the toy. If he doesn't want to share the toy, he'll often just say "Sorry" or offer them a "little turn".

One day we were so impressed. A 1y.o girl was at our home a few days after Halloween. She found ds's plastic pumpkin with his treats in it. He watched her playing with his candy from a few feet away. It was obvious he was unsure about this. He patiently waited until she finished playing with the candy bucket, then walked over, picked it up, handed it to DH, and asked him to "put this up, please" and pointed to a high shelf. We all just melted about the way he handled it. He didn't want to be mean and take it from her, but he sure didn't want her to try it again!
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#7 of 8 Old 11-27-2001, 06:08 PM
 
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I just want to say I totally agree. I have always encouraged my son to be nice and polite no matter what and I just realized as I read your posts that this is what my mom did to me. No wonder I can't stand up for myself and I hate to say no. I am changing today.
Last week at Thanksgiving, my son kept moving away from his baby cousin. He is 7 and the cousin is 3. I told him to quit because it would hurt his cousin's feelings. About half an hour later, I saw the 3 year old punching my son in the eye and strangling him, while my son was just trying to get away. When I stopped it, the 3yo said "He won't play wif me!" I felt bad because I should have realized that my son had a perfectly good reason to not want to sit near his cousin. His cousin is growing to be a tyrant at 3 and I am raising someone who thinks it is wrong to protect himself. Boy am I an idiot. I am starting today to teach my son to stand up for himself and to set limits.
I wish my mom had done the same for me.
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#8 of 8 Old 11-28-2001, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all, for your replies. It's nice to hear others' opinions. You made me feel better about my reaction this incident. As many of you mentioned, I did feel the need to acknowledge my daughter's need to stand up for herself. I, too, often catch myself wanting to tell her to be "nice" all the time. A cousin of mine once made a very good point by telling me that she did not want to make her children feel responsible for everyone's feelings but their own. Now I stop and think before I let myself say things like, "If you don't share, you'll make **** sad," or other statements of that nature. It is true that many girls in particular are raised to be "pleasers" and I certainly don't want my daughter to become one. She is a kind and friendly child with good manners most of the time, so I think she is learning good social skills while at the same time learning that it is not her responsibility to make everyone else feel good all the time.
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