Trying to understand... toys at the playground - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-27-2006, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have not yet read Unconditional Parenting, but have several aquaintances who are very into it. One said something on her blog recently that she never takes a toy away from her child if he snatches it from another child at the playground. When I see her next, I think I'll ask her about it, but maybe in the meantime someone can explain this to me.

If your child takes a toy from another child... wouldn't you require them to give it back if it belongs to the other child or the other child had it first? I can see talking to your child and encouraging them to give it back, explaining that their snatching has upset the other child ... but in the end, would you really just say "oh well, he doesn't want to give it up?" I don't understand this at all, and I don't think it's appropriate in a playground setting particularly.

In a private playdate setting, I think the natural consequence of such repeated snatching would be that I would no longer invite that parent and child over. But playgrounds are different. In a playground setting, I think I would take the toy from the snatching child, and give it back to my child. And I would avoid the snatching child as best we could after that. If the parent got upset, well, I'm following the child's logic exactly (snatch toy, now it's mine to do as I like), and if she had no problem with her child employing it, then why would she have a problem with an adult employing it?

Also, if her child didn't want to give up a toy my family owns when we're leaving the playground, I'm still going to take it home with me in the end. If her child keeps it, it's robbery or theft as far as I can see.

So someone give me the other side of this scenario, please.

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Old 08-27-2006, 04:04 PM
 
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I would encourage my child to give the toy back. If they could not do that, I would give it back for them.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-27-2006, 04:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama
I would encourage my child to give the toy back. If they could not do that, I would give it back for them.
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Old 08-27-2006, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Which makes perfect sense to me... but what I got from the post (which of course, is a blog post and probably not thought through like this) is that she would NEVER give it back. That concept just keeps bumping around in my brain today and I can't figure it out.

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Old 08-27-2006, 04:48 PM
 
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I would encourage my child to give the toy back. If they could not do that, I would give it back for them.
Okay I get that and agree (assuming I'm not trying to encourage my child forever) but what does "give it back for them look like" At times here it looks like Mommy prys toy away from toddler death grip. Mommy gives back toy as toddler screaming and trying to snach said toy back. Mommy get to half drag her very mad toddler to a safer spot and try her best to reflect and redirrect.

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In a private playdate setting, I think the natural consequence of such repeated snatching would be that I would no longer invite that parent and child over
I've found especially for toddlers a lot of these strugles can be prevented by playing with them. I encourage a lot of independent play but truth is a toddler really doesn't interact as "adults do" their is a lot of parrall play and thir minds are still into the "its mine " thing. SO play dates around here means mommy gets involved and sits with them or provides activies that both can play "together yet apart" like providing paper and crayons (each its own set) or plaing games where we take turns and helping make it happed, Things still happen of course but it certainly helps.

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Old 08-27-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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nothing that I have read from alfie kohn would imply that if your child takes another childs toy that they shouldn't give it back.
*shrugs* sometimes people misinterpret him.
I teach my children that they need to take turns but also that they need to respect other peoples things. for a 2, this would mean...helping the child give the toy back, "sara has that toy, you can have this toy." and then also letting the child know that they would like to play with the toy that sara has when she is done.

in our house, even if the toy belings to dd4 but she wasn't playing with it at the time, then dd2 can have a turn...the exceotion is for their lovey items, those are not shared. there are things we share as a family but there are a few things that are just mine or hubbies.

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Old 08-27-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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Maybe she would wait for the other mother to ask for the toy back in which case the child would probably give it back. That sure would feel strange though.
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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Octobermom~yes I would take the toy from my child and give it back, and then move to a quiet place with my child where they could vent any anger/frustration. I would be very calm and supportive of my child, with lots of explaining. There would be nothing punitive or angry in my manner.

I personally believe that people have a right to their own property. So for me it's a matter of fairness. My personal experience is that this particular concept makes sense to children from a very early age. Not so young as 2 or even 3, but by 4 most kids can appreciate the problem with taking a toy from someone who is using it. I'd say by 5 or 6 it's just a matter of reminding them, not having to explain anything (assuming it's a kid who's parents explained the concept all along).

Letting the second child keep the toy reflects a belief system I just don't share.

Additionally, there is the option of "let them fight it out for themselves" which feels neglectful of my commitment to guide and teach my child how to live in the world.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:35 PM
 
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Katie, I don't take toys away from ds (28 months) when he's taken them from another child, but this doesn't mean I allow him to keep it and don't say anything. I usually ask ds who had the toy, (and he tells me the other child had it,) then I tell him he needs to give it back. He often says, "No. I'm playing with it right now." I then say, "I know you want to play with it, but so-and-so had it and you need to give it back." Then I wait. After a short time, if he still hasn't given it back, I say it again, "You need to give it back." He always gives it back on his own, without me physically taking it from him. I'm not sure what I would do if he didn't give it back; I haven't encountered that situation yet, (although I'm sure it's only a matter of time.)

I have found in the past that if I try to take something from ds, he clutches it even tighter, (surprise, surprise,) but if I give him time to comply, without being forceful with him, he will do what I ask without putting up a fuss.

I do a lot of waiting.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama
Additionally, there is the option of "let them fight it out for themselves" which feels neglectful of my commitment to guide and teach my child how to live in the world.
I think there is a time when children need to work to resolve conflict on their own. I wouldn't say, "Let them fight it out for themselves," but I do let them try to work it out on their own sometimes, watching in case my guidance is needed. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:04 PM
 
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Abac what I had in mind was a couple of two years olds crying and clinging to the same toy. Left to their own at that age, "might makes right" tends to be the operating principle that wins without adult intervention.

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He always gives it back on his own, without me physically taking it from him.
I would give every chance for this to happen too. Giving the toy back myself would be a last resort.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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I would give every chance for this to happen too. Giving the toy back myself would be a last resort.
But how long do you ask and wait?? If my child took something that belonged to another child that means the other child is with out his/her toy that she has to wait around while my child decides. I'm all for modeling appropoate behavior being patient but I also think their quickly becomes the moment where not returning property is just mean and inconsiderate to the other child. Another question would you (gently of course) take back a toy from the other child (assuming the parent is aither not around or doesn't care a situation we often have around the appartments)

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Old 08-27-2006, 10:57 PM
 
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Possession and grabbing and sharing are such tough issues, especially here at home with my girls, ages 4 and 18 months. In theory, I would like to model appropriate behaviour for my dd's by not grabbing toys no matter how badly I want them (to give back to their rightful owner/user). And really, for kids who have not yet formed an idea in their head of what is right and moral and what isn't, their desire to have to toy so badly that they grab it isn't any different than your desire to have to tpy so badly that you grabbed it from them.

That said, it's hard to stick to when you can't always encourage the child to return it. Things I have done that have worked include suggesting, in as non-threatening way as I can, "I can help you give it back", which may involve guiding the child's arm in the right direction. I also encourage bartering if one child is playing with something the other is trying to grab, but I guess that's more preventative. I have resorted to prying, and probably threats, too. I hate to, but I agree it's not fair to the other child. It's not easy, really.
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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I had a parent take a really really long time to give a toy back to my child. She waited and waited for her son to be ready. She did end up taking the toy from her son but it took Forever while my child was sobbing. Both my daughter and I were frustrated.
I kept trying to figure out what I would do the next time something like that happened. But it turns out my dd figured it out for herself.The next time the same boy took my daughter's toy, on a totally different day, his mom starting the whole letting him be ready to give it back and my dd just reached over and grabbed it back for herself. I was fine with that.

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Old 08-27-2006, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mama2mygirl
I had a parent take a really really long time to give a toy back to my child. She waited and waited for her son to be ready. She did end up taking the toy from her son but it took Forever while my child was sobbing. Both my daughter and I were frustrated.
I kept trying to figure out what I would do the next time something like that happened. But it turns out my dd figured it out for herself.The next time the same boy took my daughter's toy, on a totally different day, his mom starting the whole letting him be ready to give it back and my dd just reached over and grabbed it back for herself. I was fine with that.
This is the sort of thing I'm envisioning... I don't know if I'd have that kind of patience, honestly, and I don't think I'd be very nice to the boy or his mother while she encouraged him to give it back. I wouldn't want my dd to learn to snatch toys back. I'd probably rather her learn that I'll take toys away from another child if necessary than have her learn that she has to snatch them back on her own.

It's totally possible that what my acquantaince meant was that she'd never HAD to make her child give a toy back, that he'd always returned it on his own. But I gotta get dd off to bed!

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Old 08-28-2006, 12:02 AM
 
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...highlight=grab Post #8 This link is about aggression vs. standing up for yourself. It also discusses modelling communication and conflict resolution skills for children having difficulty sharing.


http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ng#post5762126 Post #6 This thread is about children having conflicts over toys and interpreting those physical messages as a child needing space, support or modelling of effective sharing.


http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ng#post4452743 Post #3 This thread discusses possessions and "threats to property rights" and "possessiveness". It also mentions the dangers of early socialization of toddlers to peers as role models.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=501967 Post #2 This thread discusses children using physicality to communicate underlying needs and helping the child to meet those needs in mutually agreeable manners.



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Old 08-28-2006, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Pat, those are interesting, but they're really geared more toward playdates, where one family or the other owns the space and the toys and they intend to get together. I'm mostly confused confused about such behavior at the playground, a public space. The child snatching toys is the one whose parent needs to distract him or meet his needs in some other way, imo, not the child whose property is being, in effect, stolen.

No one here has back yards, so playgrounds are for everyone, and kids take their toys there. I usually discourage taking real lovies, but you know, dd sometimes says her doll wants to go to the playground to play too. I don't think of it as a socialization activity for her, it's physical exertion.

I don't expect my dd to share her toys that she takes to the playground, anymore than I expect to share the book I'm reading with a stranger at the park. I also don't expect other kids to forcibly take her stuff, and their parents let them do that, any more than I expect someone to steal my book and have the police just shrug and say "well, he doesn't feel like giving it back yet."

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Old 08-28-2006, 01:19 AM
 
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Curious not snarky--why wouldn't you want your daughter to learn to take her own toys back? I see it as her learning to defend herself. I won't always be there. I mean, literally, I won't always be there so I won't always be there to take her toys back for her. I actually saw it like she was secure enough to take her toy back.

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Old 08-28-2006, 01:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2mygirl
The next time the same boy took my daughter's toy, on a totally different day, his mom starting the whole letting him be ready to give it back and my dd just reached over and grabbed it back for herself. I was fine with that.
I would be too (although I would prefer the other child returned the taken toy in a more timely manner). I'm curious, what was the other childs response to having the toy taken back?
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:54 AM
 
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After she took the toy, both kids stopped fighting.They had both been yelling and then my daughter grabbed the toy. In the moment of silence I picked her up and we found something else to do for a few minutes.

Sharing when kids are this little, is so hard anyway. There are so many takes on what is fair and what's not fair. I probably drive other moms nuts. Our family rule is that if my daughter has a toy or is using a swing or whatever, it is her turn until she is done. Lots of moms want to time turns--Jimmy's turn for five minutes, dd turn for five minutes--but we just don't do that. If my daughter is in the swing, say, and someone wants to use it, I will ask my daughter if she is done and if she's not, I'll say, "She's using it right now. I'll let you know when she's done." And then I make sure I DO let the child know when she is done.
I know, though, lots of moms don't approve of this.

Also, about my dd taking the toy back, I really want her to be able to stand up for herself. My whole life I've struggled to stand up for myself and I don't want that for her.

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Curious not snarky--why wouldn't you want your daughter to learn to take her own toys back? I see it as her learning to defend herself. I won't always be there. I mean, literally, I won't always be there so I won't always be there to take her toys back for her. I actually saw it like she was secure enough to take her toy back.
I get that, actually. I want my daughter to learn to stand up for herself, so maybe I would be okay with her snatching a toy back. It hasn't happened yet, honestly, I was just thinking about it b/c of an acquaintance's post. Definitely more to think about!

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Old 08-28-2006, 10:53 AM
 
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I just wanted to add my thoughts about a child snatching a toy back. While I can see this happening and certainly being a solution, I think it would be a far better solution if the child were encouraged to ask for the toy back rather than snatching it back.
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Originally Posted by octobermom
But how long do you ask and wait?? If my child took something that belonged to another child that means the other child is with out his/her toy that she has to wait around while my child decides.
I don't usually have to wait too long. He is usually pretty quick to comply. I don't force it, and I don't stand there repeating myself, but I do gently insist.
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Originally Posted by mama2mygirl
I had a parent take a really really long time to give a toy back to my child. She waited and waited for her son to be ready. She did end up taking the toy from her son but it took Forever while my child was sobbing. Both my daughter and I were frustrated.
I find in situations such as this it's helpful to speak calmly with the child who is waiting, explaining to them that they will get their toy back in a moment and encouraging them to ask for their toy back. And while I don't think it's fair, children (and adults) will sometimes be frustrated by the actions of others. I would try to see this as an opportunity to help the child learn to cope with frustration and learn some problem solving skills.
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:37 AM
 
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I had a parent take a really really long time to give a toy back to my child. She waited and waited for her son to be ready. She did end up taking the toy from her son but it took Forever while my child was sobbing. Both my daughter and I were frustrated.
I kept trying to figure out what I would do the next time something like that happened. But it turns out my dd figured it out for herself.The next time the same boy took my daughter's toy, on a totally different day, his mom starting the whole letting him be ready to give it back and my dd just reached over and grabbed it back for herself. I was fine with that.

I don't understand this "waiting" stuff at all. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think you should beat the child and snatch things away from them in a mean way or yell, but I also don't think it is teaching them anything to make the other child wait and cry, either.

I think I would encourage them to give it back, or gently tell them to do so. If they did not do it within a small amount of time, I would take it from them as gently as possible and give it back to the other child.

I am glad your daughter stood up for herself.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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I think there is a time when children need to work to resolve conflict on their own. I wouldn't say, "Let them fight it out for themselves," but I do let them try to work it out on their own sometimes, watching in case my guidance is needed. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.
: I think it depends on the situation. I would react depending on how the children were acting. If the child who had the toy taken away didn't seem to care, then I probably wouldn't do anything. If he was angry or upset, I would probably take it from my son to give it back. But, I do like to give the child in question a chance to try to get it back on his own and give my son a chance to either give it back or put it down on his own too.

I agree that experience is the best teacher - both for the kids involved and for the parents. This is one of those things that I was really right on top of with my oldest and I think I overreacted often. So many times a parent stepping in can make a situation worse. I agree with the pp who said that toddlers don't look at this kind of situation the same as adults or older children do. I am so much more relaxed on this issue with my youngest and it rarely is a problem because I don't see it as one. Just part of toddler behavior.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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I had a parent take a really really long time to give a toy back to my child. She waited and waited for her son to be ready. She did end up taking the toy from her son but it took Forever while my child was sobbing. Both my daughter and I were frustrated.
I kept trying to figure out what I would do the next time something like that happened. But it turns out my dd figured it out for herself.The next time the same boy took my daughter's toy, on a totally different day, his mom starting the whole letting him be ready to give it back and my dd just reached over and grabbed it back for herself. I was fine with that.
I love this! I think this is the perfect example of giving children the opportunity to work it out for themselves. Also, instead of focusing on "that other child is so mean, what can we do to make his mom snatch the toy from him to give it back to my, not mean, child" it focuses on what you can help your child learn to resolve these situations him/herself. Often the kids just figure it out for themselves. That, really, is the most important thing, whether your child is the toy snatcher or the victim of a toy snatcher (and they all will be both at some point).

So, instead of stewing over another mom who doesn't snatch a toy from her child to give back to yours, try to teach your child to be proactive. Snatching a toy back isn't the only answer. Often, kids are just as happy to find something else to play with or to begin to learn how to negotiate a trade.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by abac
I just wanted to add my thoughts about a child snatching a toy back. While I can see this happening and certainly being a solution, I think it would be a far better solution if the child were encouraged to ask for the toy back rather than snatching it back.I don't usually have to wait too long. He is usually pretty quick to comply. I don't force it, and I don't stand there repeating myself, but I do gently insist.I find in situations such as this it's helpful to speak calmly with the child who is waiting, explaining to them that they will get their toy back in a moment and encouraging them to ask for their toy back. And while I don't think it's fair, children (and adults) will sometimes be frustrated by the actions of others. I would try to see this as an opportunity to help the child learn to cope with frustration and learn some problem solving skills.
I have to ask this, but why should the child whose toy was snatched/taken have to "ask" for it back or wait? What am I not understanding here?

I have three kids so its not like I havent ever dealt with this, but if a child takes a toy away from my daughter or son, why should they have to wait? I mean its *their* toy?

And shouldnt the child who took the toy have to learn a lesson in frustration too? That not everything is theirs? That they cant always have what they want?
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:19 PM
 
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I don't understand this "waiting" stuff at all. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think you should beat the child and snatch things away from them in a mean way or yell, but I also don't think it is teaching them anything to make the other child wait and cry, either.
But it's not like the kid is just playing with the toy while the other child is waiting and crying. The mom is working with the kid, discussing solutions and providing information (largely about the other child who is waiting and crying, in my experience).

See, I think it's teaching them sharing--real sharing, where you *voluntarily* offer up something to someone else. Forcing someone's hand (figuratively or literally, here) isn't sharing, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerBelle
I think I would encourage them to give it back, or gently tell them to do so. If they did not do it within a small amount of time, I would take it from them as gently as possible and give it back to the other child.
Is it OK for the children to do this? Ask another kid for something, wait a few seconds, and then take it--however gently? I just don't think this is the right thing to do--for anyone. I know I wouldn't want it done to me.

I've had lots of success encouraging turn taking, offering trades, finding ways for both kids to use a toy simultaneously.

I have not had success prying things out of my kids' hands--it works, in that it gets the item to the other person quickly. But, there is some fallout that I don't think is worth it: resentment, anger, selfishness, and a real lack of generosity. I try *really* hard not to do the prying thing--I don't think it teaches what we think it does.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Twocoolboys

So, instead of stewing over another mom who doesn't snatch a toy from her child to give back to yours, try to teach your child to be proactive. Snatching a toy back isn't the only answer. Often, kids are just as happy to find something else to play with or to begin to learn how to negotiate a trade.
But wy should a child have to negotiate for his own toy?
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:12 PM
 
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I think many people in this thread are picturing slightly different situations. My reaction would be swifter if we were walking through the mall and my toddler snatched a toy from a passing stroller.

If I were with a casual friend at the park, I would spend a minute hoping to help my child learn to give the toy back willingly.

If it was a playdate with a very close friend with the same parenting approach, I might spend several minutes on the issue, hoping to help my child learn new skills from the work of giving the toy back willingly.

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But wy should a child have to negotiate for his own toy?
When it comes to friends and family, I think "negotiating" property is a lifelong skill. Friends who borrow clothes without asking, siblings who take your car without permission, neighbors who help themselves to lawn equipment in your yard. Real life isn't black and white. There is real skill in learning to assert your expectations without losing sight of the relationship involved.

To me the "negotiating" here would be the child saying "I was playing with that. Please give it back". At that point if the other child won't, I would intervene and spend at most a minute helping the child give the toy back...then giving it back for them if they couldn't.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:16 PM
 
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See, I think it's teaching them sharing--real sharing, where you *voluntarily* offer up something to someone else. Forcing someone's hand (figuratively or literally, here) isn't sharing, in my opinion.
That is not sharing not even close.
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where you *voluntarily* offer up something to someone else.
Except one key thing Its not theirs to offer :

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