I am just wondering what you all do with this aspect of two year old behavior, if all two year olds behave like this, and your thoughts about teaching children to share.
My daughter is about a month over 2 years old and is a pretty easy going, friendly child, doesn't have tantrums or anything but occasionally getting mad which she generally gets over quickly. She is an only child and stays at home with her dad, so doesn't get that much interaction with other children.
I'm not worried that something is particularly wrong with her behavior, it seems like all children her age I have met have this possessive thing going on, "that's mine" and grabbing things from others. I have not spent a lot of time around children before having one, so I'm interested in ways people deal with this. It is especially of concern to me when she is with a baby or smaller child and she could hurt the child- I feel I need to intervene. But also, I wonder why they go through this (I'm assuming- hoping!- it's part of development), and what way to react to it, and what my child might learn from my reaction.
I think it's totally natural and nothing to worry about. All kids do it and all kids grow out of it at some point. Really what they grow out of is acting on their feelings. No one really likes to share, but at some point they have the maturity not to flip out if someone takes something they want. I have a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old and there are a few things I do which have differing levels of success.
1) The initial thing I tried was saying that "Mine" was a bad word and I didn't want to hear anyone say it in our house. I think this helped a little bit (at least with screaming "That's mine!") except it became apparent at some point that my 3 year old was equating the word "mine" with actual naughty words (like "stupid"), so I had to correct him and explain that really it was just a word I didn't like, but it wasn't naughty.
2) In our house each child has a couple individual special toys that they never have to share. The other child is allowed to play with them, but if the actual owner asks for them back, there are no questions asked. They both accept this. Even the 18 month old.
3) If there are toys that kids are fighting over for the sole reason that they see someone else playing with it, we have a kitchen timer that I set for 2 to 5 minutes and then tell them to switch. We even do this on play dates and it works pretty well. My older child is basically at the point now that if someone wants what he has, I'll say, "Okay, you have one minute left" and he'll play for like 10 more seconds and hand it over. Usually both participants get tired of the object after a turn or two.
4) The final thing I do is try to be sympathetic. There were times when my older child was going on 3 that he would be upset his little sister was playing with something that was technically his. I would explain that it was her turn and he would cry. I'd give him hugs and tell him I understood that it was hard to share and take turns, but sometimes we had to do it anyway. I also tried to be fair and make sure there were times when I wouldn't let the younger one take things away from him either.
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It is normal, although I seem to have the child who doesn't do that (yet anyways) and seems a bit confused, bothered, even upset when someone else does this to her. She's an only for now and just turning 2, stay with my FIL during the day, only occasional play dates. But not like she never sees other kids. She loves other kids and loves to share with them. And while at lunch with a friend who's LO kept taking crayons from her, she was very upset by this. I also noticed her looking to me for direction while we were at a friends house and 3 of their 4 kids were playing "tackle"...my poor kiddo had NO clue how to react to all this pushing and yelling!
But that said, every kid I've ever known (and I did my fair share of babysitting) went through this and it passed as they became better at expressing themselves.
As far as kids go, especially when they're that young, they're not really wanting to play with other kids...they're happy playing with the adults they trust. When they start wanting to share is when they decide they want to play with someone else and they figure out that the way to do that is by sharing something. It is a process, and when we had playdates, we would talk about what being a good host is...and that not sharing any of our toys would make someone feel bad. So we focused on the other child's feelings, and put away any toys that my child wasn't willing to share when we were hosting a playdate. If we went to someone else's house, we would only bring toys that we were willing to share. At a playground, all was fair...I don't see why my kid should share his toys with a complete stranger any more than I would. Sometimes, I would point out that the other child was wanting to play with ds, and that he had brought toys he could share with my son, and then ds would more likely share with him. Because he had a reason to. As far as younger kids, I would just talk about that younger kids don't always understand about toys belonging to someone and they're weaker, so we must be more kind to them. I have to say, my 2nd ds was a much earlier sharer ( I can't remember a time when he didn't share) and I don't know if that was him being #2 and having to share w/his big brother whether he liked it or not, or just a different character, or a combination. Ds1 though really understood from very early on about things not being necessarily his, and has always been very good about not grabbing other kid's toys w/o permission (except for his little brother's LOL).
Btw, I'm assuming your child is grabbing HER things out of another child's hands, not the other child's things.
If the item in question really belongs to the child stating "It's mine", I usually affirm that it is, that the other is using it, but we will get it back. That's usually followed by "don't worry. Her mommy won't let her leave with it."
It took a long time to realize that it wasn't fair to ask a small child to "share". We socialize children to share, but I think we (as a society) tend to expect it much younger than might actually work. As someone upthread posted, young kids want to play near other children, but they don't really play together until much older. Until they are playing together, sharing is just going to be difficult.
we talk with her whenever it makes sense, which is most of the time, and we rarely- almost never- yell no at her- I think once or twice in a dangerous situation. most things we have been able to explain to her and she has learned well. so it is interesting to me the way she is. this is just one thing that no matter how we try to explain it to her, so far, she cannot abide any reasoning about. some of the things people have suggested to say have worked once or twice with her, but not for long.
the other thing she does which seems mean, is to hand a child something and then pull it back saying "that's ayas!". her dad and I are super polite and very laid back, and don't engage in physical force or violence with her (or each other), so I don't think she is learning this from us or anyone else in her life. we tell her all the reasons why that is not the best thing to do. it seems obvious that she is demonstrating her control over things. I think that being an only child, to parents who are very permissive and really kind of pushovers might have something to do with her strange tyranny. or, she's just a character.