Another mama's gentle discipline is affecting my kiddo--WWYD - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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In response to the post by junipermuse:

I see your point about not intervening as long as there isn't damage being done to the toy, but I disagree that "just because she became hysterical" isn't a good enough reason or "damaging" in itself. Only the OP knows how her child was reacting - whether in tantrum or truly hurtful hysterics. As a mother, I'm not willing to err on the side of my child hurting b/c others might think it's just a tantrum and see my action as giving in. He depends on me to stand up for him and I see that as my job.

I had to do this today while out with a friend and her dd - she always brings special toys with her and has a very hard time sharing. It's awfully hard on my ds, every time, and I'm never quite prepared b/c of our rule of leaving things in the car. She did let my ds play with a few things today but when she wanted them back, I talked to him about it and one item he gave back willingly and the other I removed from his hands b/c he just couldn't get to the place where he could do it. It sucked for a few minutes but he knows I would do the same for him.

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#62 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:05 PM
 
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I hate scenarios like these - there never seems to be a right answer.

Yes, the obvious future thing to do would be to leave important/comfort objects at home.

Yes, the original little person dropped the toy, and the second one picked it up, so he didn't do anything wrong.

BUT, I truly think that as the situation escalated, it was the other mother's responsibility to remove the toy from her child and return it to the owner.

I would never, EVER allow another child to become that hysterical while MY child 'explored' a toy that she randomly picked up. Even if dd became upset at that point, I would redirect/explain/hell.even.leave. if we had to...

I've had other mothers do this to dd at playgroup, if I wasn't paying attention or wasn't close enough to intervene - and I've also done it to other children.

Maybe it depends on your relationship with the other parent and other child? Obviously the best course of action and/or result is to not have to physically remove the object from the second child's hand - however, this situaton was getting out of control and I would have definitely reached gently in, taken the toy, and said we had to go home.

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#63 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
I am really curious how the other mother would have handled the situation if it had been reversed.




I agree, and dd and I were always conscious of keeping "special" toys at home (or in the car....or mommy's bag) when with friends. But what if the child realizes when they are out that the toy they brought is too special? What if they intended to share, but then felt unable?

I always said, "dd didn't realize how special that toy is, and she isn't willing to share it right now. Could I please have the toy so I can put it away?" (and then the toy got put away until after the playdate). I've never had a child refuse, and I'm not sure how I would handle it if I had. I would hope that the other mother would support me in getting the toy put away for the duration of the playdate.

Now, if dd were unable to share *any* toys, we would simply go home. It had to be one or two truly special toys--not every toy in the house, lol. But dd never had a lovey, so her special toys were always changing.
I totally understand a child changing their mind. I already suggested that a child who changes their mind after arriving at a playdate, hand the toy to their mama to "keep it safe". However if the child changes their mind once the other child has begun playing with it, I don't feel the other child should be punished by having the toy forcibly removed from their hands. Sometimes children have to feel the natural consequences of their choices. And in that case the natural consequence of bringing the toy is allowing the other child to play with it until they are finished. At that point the mama can hold on to the toy to "keep it safe."

I think the words you choose to use about the your child changing their mind are very appropriate, and it sounds like you aren't taking the toy from the other child only requesting that they return it. I have no problem with that, in fact I think it really helps your child to know that their feelings have been heard. My biggest issue is with the idea of forcibly removing a toy from a child's hand, especially when that child has already shown an inclination to take toys from others. Taking a toy from a child just shows that its okay to use force to get your way because you are bigger and stronger. I think when the other child refuses to return the item the two best choices are to patiently and persistently insist that the child return the item, or to model graciousness in allowing the child to play with the toy until they are finished.

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#64 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
My biggest issue is with the idea of forcibly removing a toy from a child's hand, especially when that child has already shown an inclination to take toys from others. Taking a toy from a child just shows that its okay to use force to get your way because you are bigger and stronger. I think when the other child refuses to return the item the two best choices are to patiently and persistently insist that the child return the item, or to model graciousness in allowing the child to play with the toy until they are finished.
I hear you, and I totally agree in theory. I wish this worked all the time. I have a friend who does this with her two boys and it is SO good to watch. I think it's a great thing to do with siblings (and I'm sure you get TONS of practice with siblings )

It's a hard situation. I just know that I do sometimes make the choice to remove a toy from my child's hands and I empathize and explain and talk about it MORE after he's calm and can actually hear me. These things can always become learning experiences. IME my DS remembers everything and seems glad to talk about hard times after the fact, and even what we could do next time to make things better. I would have a much harder time removing a toy from another child's hands, but depending on the level of upset and the reaction from the other parent, I would do it if necessary to get out of there.

I don't know, maybe it's a lesson that if an adult asks you to return a toy and you refuse, that doesn't mean you get to keep it? Just thinking out loud. Maybe I'm a lot less consensual than others of you. There are some things that just have to be done, and I have never yet found myself saying "because I said so" and wouldn't need to in this situation either, but the fact THAT I said so and explained why IS a good enough reason, and if you can't handle doing it yourself I guess I will help get it done. I don't know. Good, thought-provoking stuff

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#65 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LianneM View Post
In response to the post by junipermuse:

I see your point about not intervening as long as there isn't damage being done to the toy, but I disagree that "just because she became hysterical" isn't a good enough reason or "damaging" in itself. Only the OP knows how her child was reacting - whether in tantrum or truly hurtful hysterics. As a mother, I'm not willing to err on the side of my child hurting b/c others might think it's just a tantrum and see my action as giving in. He depends on me to stand up for him and I see that as my job.
.
I am honestly trying to imagine what possible hurt could come from a child having to wait a few minutes to get their toy returned. I also said that the OP had every right to insist that boy return the toy by being firm patient and persistent. I truly believe that it is an abuse of the adult's power to physically remove an item from a childs hand just because its quicker and easier then working through the problem with them.

I also find it interesting that you mention not caving into social pressure with regards to protecting your own child, and I think its very important not to cave to social pressure when parenting one's child, but if the other mama had forcibly removed the toy from her son against her better judgement, it would have been caving to social pressure as well.

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#66 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:35 PM
 
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I'm also a bit surprised that so many posters felt that the 2.5 boy and his mother were unreasonable in this situation when the actions of the little girl to both abandon a toy and then have a tantrum were really her choices. Maybe this wasn't a common reaction for the DD of the OP, in which case maybe that was unnerving in itself. My third daughter especially reacted quite dramatically if she was thwarted and unfortunately I gave in quite quickly to these tantrums out of both embarrassment and frustration. However, at 18 this DS often carries the attitude of entitlement and disrespect that my older two daughters never had. I just don't think giving in to her immediate demand for her is helpful in her socialization process.

Although it seems that the other mother was a bit over the top to ask that her son " keep the toy for the afternoon", she doesn't have a voice here and may have been misunderstood. It is quite likely and reasonable that she just thought a bit of time would have her son lose interest and the toy easily returned. She certainly should not have expected to take the toy home no matter how attached her son became to it.

But in the end the little boy is no more in danger of becoming a spoiled brat by not immediately giving in to the demands of the little girl than she is by having her tantrum appeased.

The best advice has been given...plan ahead and avoid bringing "special" toys into common areas and prepare your child to share those that they do bring as they will share those of others.

Suzanne
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#67 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
I think when the other child refuses to return the item the two best choices are to patiently and persistently insist that the child return the item, or to model graciousness in allowing the child to play with the toy until they are finished.
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Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
I am honestly trying to imagine what possible hurt could come from a child having to wait a few minutes to get their toy returned. I also said that the OP had every right to insist that boy return the toy by being firm patient and persistent.
I agree with most everything you said except for the above quotes. I think the big issue with the OP is that the other mother wanted her son to take the toy home with him, not just let him have a turn for a few minutes. She was explaining to the trantruming child how important HER toy was to this boy and that he should be able to take it home with him. I think that is hurtful to a child and that is abuse of adult power. That makes no sense. That's a BIG difference from wanting to explore it, take a turn, taking a LONG turn... that's wanting to transfer ownership! At that point, IMO, the OP should have said it was time to go and we need our toy and leave it to the other mother to get it from the child - they already did patient and persistent.
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#68 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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I'm also a bit surprised that so many posters felt that the 2.5 boy and his mother were unreasonable in this situation when the actions of the little girl to both abandon a toy and then have a tantrum were really her choices.
(bold mine)

I guess it is significant to me that she dropped the toy as she ran to the potty (as stated in the op). To me, that isn't abandoning the toy. That is going to the potty, lol. I want my kids to feel comfortable going to the potty (not risking accidents) knowing that they can return to their activity afterwards. Just another angle to consider.....
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#69 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LianneM View Post
I hear you, and I totally agree in theory. I wish this worked all the time. I have a friend who does this with her two boys and it is SO good to watch. I think it's a great thing to do with siblings (and I'm sure you get TONS of practice with siblings )

It's a hard situation. I just know that I do sometimes make the choice to remove a toy from my child's hands and I empathize and explain and talk about it MORE after he's calm and can actually hear me. These things can always become learning experiences. IME my DS remembers everything and seems glad to talk about hard times after the fact, and even what we could do next time to make things better. I would have a much harder time removing a toy from another child's hands, but depending on the level of upset and the reaction from the other parent, I would do it if necessary to get out of there.

I don't know, maybe it's a lesson that if an adult asks you to return a toy and you refuse, that doesn't mean you get to keep it? Just thinking out loud. Maybe I'm a lot less consensual than others of you. There are some things that just have to be done, and I have never yet found myself saying "because I said so" and wouldn't need to in this situation either, but the fact THAT I said so and explained why IS a good enough reason, and if you can't handle doing it yourself I guess I will help get it done. I don't know. Good, thought-provoking stuff
I hope my last post didn't sound snarky, I didn't mean it that way but I can see how it might have sounded that way. So I'm sorry if it came off that way Also it probably was a little redundant but we kind of cross posted.

I think you're right about a child needing to know that if an adult asks for the toy to be returned that they don't get to keep the toy. That's where the persistence on the adult part comes in. Also I think it is totally normal that all families are going to have a different level of consensuality. That's why I suggested that the op sit down and talk to the other mom and figure out in advance how they would like to handle this sort of situation in the future, that way the could present a united front.

Coming back to the idea of consensuality, I think it is unfair to assume that the op's dd's need (or want) to have the toy back was any greater than the little boy's need (or want) to play with it. From the little girls perspective it was HER toy and she didn't want anyone else to use it. But from the little boys perspective he found it just lying there on the ground with nobody using it, so it was legitimately his to use. No one was really right and no one was really wrong it was just a problem to be solved. Obviously the little girl was very upset so the op wanted to solve the problem as quickly as possible but ripping the toy from the little boys hand would have probably resulted in him crying and the problem would have been no more "solved" than it was before. It just would have been a different problem.

I use to teach preschool and have dealt with similar issues and what I usually do is say to the upset child "That's your toy and I see you really want it back. I'm going to help you but let's try to calm down first." I don't insist the child calm down before helping them, just suggest it. I then start talking out the problem with both children until we come up with a solution that works. Problem solving can work for children this age I did it all the time when I worked in a two-year-old classroom. You have to be persistent and stick with the situation until both children are satisfied with the result. You also have to approach the situation from the point of view that there are infinite possible solutions and its just your job to find one that works for everyone.

I believe that the problem can be solved without physically forcing the item out of the child's hand, however I do think the OP probably would have needed to intervene to make sure that situation was handled properly because obviously leaving the toy with the little boy for the afternoon was not a workable solution to the problem.

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#70 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Although it seems that the other mother was a bit over the top to ask that her son " keep the toy for the afternoon", she doesn't have a voice here and may have been misunderstood. It is quite likely and reasonable that she just thought a bit of time would have her son lose interest and the toy easily returned.
I completely hear your concern and really respect it. I've done the best I can to represent what happened, because I really need to solve this--it's not just this incident, but a series of incidents where the extent of the mama's gentle discipline with her kiddo is at the expense of my kiddo. Obviously, I'm not handling things very effectively. And I live in a close-knit neighborhood with this family, and so I don't have the option of just not seeing them anymore. And I'm ok with that--I'd rather find a way to deal with this than to just avoid them.
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#71 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
But from the little boys perspective he found it just lying there on the ground with nobody using it, so it was legitimately his to use. .

See, I just don't agree with that logic, and I didn't teach my dd that is true. I taught her to respect ownership....to ask if it is ok to play with another child's toy. When we have guests in our home, it is assumed that we are sharing our toys. But we (dd and I) do not make the same assumption about toys we find laying on the ground. We ask first. If there is no one to ask (for instance, when coming across sand toys in an abandoned sand box), we might use them but are prepared to return them if the owner appears and requests that we do.
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#72 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:09 PM
 
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I agree with most everything you said except for the above quotes. I think the big issue with the OP is that the other mother wanted her son to take the toy home with him, not just let him have a turn for a few minutes. She was explaining to the trantruming child how important HER toy was to this boy and that he should be able to take it home with him. I think that is hurtful to a child and that is abuse of adult power. That makes no sense. That's a BIG difference from wanting to explore it, take a turn, taking a LONG turn... that's wanting to transfer ownership! At that point, IMO, the OP should have said it was time to go and we need our toy and leave it to the other mother to get it from the child - they already did patient and persistent.
I don't think the other mother handled the situation in the best way at all. I just suggested that she may have been trying to offer multiple alternatives, on the other hand maybe she's just loony I don't know because I haven't met her personally. I definitely see the hurt in seeing your toy to go home in the hands of another child against your will. So if my comments were interpreted in a way that suggested that, then I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I just don't think it's harmful for the crying girl to watch the child finish his turn while waiting to have the toy returned, or in waiting while the mother helps problem solve. As long as the little girl gets to go home with the toy when the playdate is over, I think physically removing the toy from the little boys hands can be avoided. I didn't get the idea from the original post that the toy needed to be returned so they could leave that instant. My impression was that the op felt the toy should be returned immediately because of how upset her daughter was. I think that's the difference. Of course the boy should return the toy if the owner of the toy is going home.

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#73 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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See, I just don't agree with that logic, and I didn't teach my dd that is true. I taught her to respect ownership....to ask if it is ok to play with another child's toy. When we have guests in our home, it is assumed that we are sharing our toys. But we (dd and I) do not make the same assumption about toys we find laying on the ground. We ask first. If there is no one to ask (for instance, when coming across sand toys in an abandoned sand box), we might use them but are prepared to return them if the owner appears and requests that we do.
I think I'm also coming from a specific set of experiences where we are often in a situation where it is hard to even tell who's toys are who's because the child who owns the item has long run off to play with other toys. My child would be unable to ask the owner for permission because the owner of said toy isn't around to ask. That seems to be the case in this situation as well. How could the little boy have asked the little girl if he could play with her toy when she wasn't there (she was in the bathroom) Since the toy was just left lying there I would have assumed that it was okay for my child to play with it. Of course if it had been made clear a head of time that I wasn't meant to be shared than I would have prevented my child from ever picking it up to be played with in the first place.

This happened to us just today at the park. My daughter was very interested in another childs doll stroller but everytime she came close to it, the child made it very clear he didn't want to share. So I just removed my chld from the situation and explained that he didn't feel like sharing. But if my child had just found it and then the other child came back and got upset, I would help her to finish up quickly, but i would not have removed it from her hands.

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#74 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:31 PM
 
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I completely hear your concern and really respect it. I've done the best I can to represent what happened, because I really need to solve this--it's not just this incident, but a series of incidents where the extent of the mama's gentle discipline with her kiddo is at the expense of my kiddo. Obviously, I'm not handling things very effectively. And I live in a close-knit neighborhood with this family, and so I don't have the option of just not seeing them anymore. And I'm ok with that--I'd rather find a way to deal with this than to just avoid them.
I think I would talk to your neighbor and say that you'd like to come up with some guidelines for handling these types of situations in the future since right now you guys aren't quite on the same page and you're afraid that might be stressful for the little ones. And then go from there. I'd explain especially how it bothers you when her child pushes yours off the trike or takes a toy out your child's hand. I would also mention how stressful it was for your daughter to hear the suggestion that she allow the boy to keep the toy for the afternoon when she was already so upset. Tell her how you would feel comfortable handling the situation and ask for her ideas and input. Come from the point of view that no way is right or wrong, that you just want consensus between the parents so the children aren't confused. I think that's your best option for dealing with something that is going to be on going.

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#75 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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So many wonderful and different replies....

I think I would have been middle-of-the-road....

In terms of the initial conflict--if my ds were the child who lost the toy, I actually would have been more concerned with helping him manage his emotional outburst until a solution was reached. It sounds like your dd was *really* hysterical. Once it became clear that a swift solution wasn't going to happen with the child who had the toy, I would have focused on helping my own ds calm down. I probably would have held him and just spoken to him quietly, perhaps taking him to another room, because I honestly couldn't brainstorm in the midst of such hysterical strong emotion. I think at 3 I would have kept our focus on a simple message like 'You will be okay until we get the toy back. You are safe and you can calm down when you are ready". And just held ds for comfort until he calmed down.

Somewhere on a small level in that moment, if ds were flipping out and totally losing it emotionally, I would want to model for ds some perspective on what was happening. I wouldn't be inclined to grab the toy and hurry it back into his hands. That wouldn't be my instinct. My instinct would be "whoa, he is totally hysterical, and needs helping calming down".

The situation was that her toy was momentarily in the possession of another child. Feeling hysterical about that--my gut would be to help my child, first, not to be hysterical in a situation like that.

I also want to clarify the above is not because I think the other mother was in the right...I don't. I would feel very concerned if, in the midst of an emotional breakdown, the other mother asked my 3 year old to let her child keep the toy. It would strike me as detached from how my child was processing what happened. I would be hoping at least for a "He will give it back very soon, I know this toy is very special to you". Because on the flip side, if my ds took the toy, my priority would be exactly the same--helping him realize he could handle the situation even if it brought out strong objections and emotions.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by a hysterical toddler. I'm guessing the other mother feels overwhelmed by her son, thus leading her to think he can only "handle" a situation as long as it doesn't upset him at all.

It's easy to get caught up in the original possession of this item--but because this was a playdate and the toy was left on the playing field, so to speak, *ideally* it's a learning opportunity for the kids in handling interpersonal conflicts in a safe environment. Ideally both parents are on the same page in how to resolve those conflicts, but in this case, you weren't.

I would have said to the other mother "it isn't acceptable to me that your son keep the toy after the playday is over. Why don't you help him find a way to give it back while I help my child calm down in another room. Perhaps you can find something to trade for instead. There are some small trinkets he could have in the box beside the backdoor. I'm sure we can find a way to help the kids resolve this problem". Perhaps this mother needs help with clear boundaries as well? It might just be that she needs to hear what your limits are so that she can help her son process them.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#76 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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I am overwhelmed by how icky this situation was for you and for your dd. That mother handled it horribly!

If I am understanding correctly, this doll is a special attachment object -- a lovey, or sorts. And in that case, IMO, all normal rules of sharing are off. Attachment objects are a special case -- a 2 yo. child thinks of a lovey as an extension of themselves. It IS potentially damaging to feel that terror of loosing it. I don't even necessarily think it should be left at home or in the car, because you never know when she might need it or need to be near it.

The little boy probably didn't understand this, but the mother really should have.

I don't know what I would have done in your shoes. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking it from him forceably with the mother standing right there. But I think she should have. Whatever frustration he might feel as a result would be minor compared to what your dd was going through. I don't know -- I suspect I would have asked the mother to take it. Something like, "That doll is particularly special. DD needs it back now, please. And then I think we'll call it a day."

As far as the overall problem, I think you have two choices. You can practise being very direct and assertive in terms of asking her to take action with her child in each situation that problems arise. Or -- you can sit down over a cup of coffee and gently lay out the problem for her, and ask her for input on how to solve it. You know her best -- and can determine which approach would be better received.

I don't envy you the task!
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#77 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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So many wonderful and different replies....

I think I would have been middle-of-the-road....

In terms of the initial conflict--if my ds were the child who lost the toy, I actually would have been more concerned with helping him manage his emotional outburst until a solution was reached. It sounds like your dd was *really* hysterical. Once it became clear that a swift solution wasn't going to happen with the child who had the toy, I would have focused on helping my own ds calm down. I probably would have held him and just spoken to him quietly, perhaps taking him to another room, because I honestly couldn't brainstorm in the midst of such hysterical strong emotion. I think at 3 I would have kept our focus on a simple message like 'You will be okay until we get the toy back. You are safe and you can calm down when you are ready". And just held ds for comfort until he calmed down.

Somewhere on a small level in that moment, if ds were flipping out and totally losing it emotionally, I would want to model for ds some perspective on what was happening. I wouldn't be inclined to grab the toy and hurry it back into his hands. That wouldn't be my instinct. My instinct would be "whoa, he is totally hysterical, and needs helping calming down".

The situation was that her toy was momentarily in the possession of another child. Feeling hysterical about that--my gut would be to help my child, first, not to be hysterical in a situation like that.

I also want to clarify the above is not because I think the other mother was in the right...I don't. I would feel very concerned if, in the midst of an emotional breakdown, the other mother asked my 3 year old to let her child keep the toy. It would strike me as detached from how my child was processing what happened. I would be hoping at least for a "He will give it back very soon, I know this toy is very special to you". Because on the flip side, if my ds took the toy, my priority would be exactly the same--helping him realize he could handle the situation even if it brought out strong objections and emotions.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by a hysterical toddler. I'm guessing the other mother feels overwhelmed by her son, thus leading her to think he can only "handle" a situation as long as it doesn't upset him at all.

It's easy to get caught up in the original possession of this item--but because this was a playdate and the toy was left on the playing field, so to speak, *ideally* it's a learning opportunity for the kids in handling interpersonal conflicts in a safe environment. Ideally both parents are on the same page in how to resolve those conflicts, but in this case, you weren't.

I would have said to the other mother "it isn't acceptable to me that your son keep the toy after the playday is over. Why don't you help him find a way to give it back while I help my child calm down in another room. Perhaps you can find something to trade for instead. There are some small trinkets he could have in the box beside the backdoor. I'm sure we can find a way to help the kids resolve this problem". Perhaps this mother needs help with clear boundaries as well? It might just be that she needs to hear what your limits are so that she can help her son process them.
I just want to say that I agree with everthing you've said here. This is a great perspective on the whole situation.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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#78 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Posting again -- I don't think it is right to expect a 2 yo. to calm down and learn about surviving without their attachment object. I think it is too high an expectation. There are certain sorts of things that we just don't share -- we don't tolerate other people handling. I don't feel comfortable with other people picking up my purse and exploring it, for example. Even close friends.

And with a doll or a teddy that is important, its more than an object. From the child's perspective, its a personality -- her baby. To make it more personal, imagine yourself as the mother of an infant -- and imagine that someone else is holding your baby and refusing to hand it back when you asked for it. Its not rational to expect that you would calm down, or learn to accept that you can be okay without your baby for a minute. You would really just need your baby back -- now.

This little girl has plenty of time to learn that her doll is just an object. She doesn't need to learn that as a toddler.
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#79 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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I agree, that is excellent perspective heartmama I'm so glad I read it too, b/c leaving the room with DS is something I would totally do if possible, and it's good to be reminded of that option!

It's funny how we all only have our own experiences (many from TODAY ) and all of our thoughts include those scenarios.

junipermuse that is a good point about the social pressure. I see two separate issues though - one that I do "cave" to and one that I tend not to. I don't really usually care what others think about my parenting. If they think I should do something else that's fine but whatever, I'm doing what I think is best, you know? So I react differently to tantrums than many parents, and that's fine, my goal is to keep my son safe and be respectful to him as he gets his feelings out. However, when it comes to a situation where the volume or something is actually affecting others, as in the restaurant today, a quicker action is warranted b/c I really don't think it is respectful to others to let my kid scream in the restaurant. That is a time I think the "social pressure" overrides what I'd really rather do in the moment. And truly, stepping outside to calm down is the right move to make anyway and I would love to have done that today. Too many things going on, I was responsible for both of the fighting kids at the same time (the other mom was trying to talk to someone else in the restaurant) and in those moments the quick decision and solution is what I did.

BTW I have found all of your posts to be respectful and non-snarky

GOOD conversation! I'm really filing away the things to talk to the other mom about b/c I really need to do this with my friend (and if you're reading, friend, it's only b/c I really want to continue to get the kids together and resolve these issues that seem to come up every time )

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#80 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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I am overwhelmed by how icky this situation was for you and for your dd. That mother handled it horribly!

If I am understanding correctly, this doll is a special attachment object -- a lovey, or sorts. And in that case, IMO, all normal rules of sharing are off. Attachment objects are a special case -- a 2 yo. child thinks of a lovey as an extension of themselves. It IS potentially damaging to feel that terror of loosing it. I don't even necessarily think it should be left at home or in the car, because you never know when she might need it or need to be near it.

The little boy probably didn't understand this, but the mother really should have.

I don't know what I would have done in your shoes. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking it from him forceably with the mother standing right there. But I think she should have. Whatever frustration he might feel as a result would be minor compared to what your dd was going through. I don't know -- I suspect I would have asked the mother to take it. Something like, "That doll is particularly special. DD needs it back now, please. And then I think we'll call it a day."

As far as the overall problem, I think you have two choices. You can practise being very direct and assertive in terms of asking her to take action with her child in each situation that problems arise. Or -- you can sit down over a cup of coffee and gently lay out the problem for her, and ask her for input on how to solve it. You know her best -- and can determine which approach would be better received.

I don't envy you the task!
My understanding was that the object was something she was particularly attached to on that given day but was not her long time "attachment object" I personally feel there is a big difference. I don't think children see the "toy of the day" as an extension of themselves the way they do with their "lovey."
Even if it was her special attachment object she could have lasted long enough for the mom to continue working with the little boy to get the item back. Yanking it out of a child's hands is responding in "crisis-mode." It validates the child's idea that they can not live even for a minute without the object. You can validate the child's feelings (frustration) and validate their right to have their toy back, without succombing to the idea that the child can not live without the toy being immediately returned.

And even if the toy was not immediately returned the child would have survived unscathed. When I was small I left my doll (which I was very attached to) at a friends house 40 min away. At bed time I realized it was gone, but my parents were not able (or willing) to go back that night to retrieve it. I was pretty inconsolable, probably for several hours, but the next day we drove back to get my doll and after I had her back I was fine. It was a difficult night, but we got through it without any irreparable harm. Frankly if my parents had gone back to get it, they would have been reinforcing the idea that I couldn't live without my doll which was obviously untrue.

ETA: i don't think that a child SHOULD go through this sort of experience. Just that if they do they won't be harmed. I don't think that a child should be left to deal with their upset but I think we can give them love and empathy while working to solve problems. And some problems just don't have immediate solutions.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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#81 of 228 Old 11-27-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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In my experience, it works.

You don't want one hysterical child and one happy child, that isn't fair to sobbing child and it isn't a very fun playdate if one child is hysterical. If the toy is out of sight both children tend to move on.

I do that with ANY fights over a toy. I have ended up with half a toybox on top of my fridge but they learn eventually.
it only works (or might work) if the children are used to the concept of time out. my 3 year old, who has no idea what a time-out is as we don't practice it either for children or for their toys, would be very upset if his--the toy that he intended to play with--were removed.

not only the toy that the OP's child wasn't required to share was taken away, but now it is not available at all? it looks like punishment, and i frankly don't see what the OP's child did to be subjected to such a harsh treatment.

children "move on" when they know that their property can be removed from them and are used to this treatment, which doesn't seem fair at all.
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#82 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:00 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies.

For us, we recognize that there are certain special toys that a child doesn't want to share. It works both ways - when we're on their turf and it's the other child's toy, or if kids are at our house with our toys. Although 2.5 is young, most kids do seem to get and respect this concept.

If it's a generic toy they're fighting over, especially at that young age, and they resist the efforts to troubleshoot, then the toy goes up on the shelf and nobody gets it.
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#83 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:19 AM
 
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Does anyone else think dropping the toy to use the potty is significant? I wouldn't want very small potty-users to have to worry about who will pick up the toy they are playing with while they run to the potty, kwim? I would want them to go, and to trust that they can resume their "turn" when they get back. I think it is reasonable for another small child to understand that.....she dropped it to use the potty, but she is still using it. It is still her turn.

I know that if I am watching a tv show and leave to use the bathroom, I expect to be able to finish watching my show when I get back. If dh turns the channel while I am gone, that is fine. But I expect it to be turned back when I return!
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#84 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:22 AM
 
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I explained to him that it's her favorite toy (she carries it around like it's a doll) and asked if he would give it back to her. He refused, so his mama tried to get him to give it to her but he still refused. My DD is sitting there hysterical, begging me incoherently to get it back from him. And the mama is explaining to the little boy "look at how upset she is...it sounds like she's trying to tell you that she really wants her toy back...wow, she's really upset."

When that didn't work, the mama asked my DD if she would leave the toy with her son for the afternoon because "look at how much it means to him." My DD is so hysterical at this point that she's red in the face and stuffing her fist in her mouth. And I'm telling the mama that it's not a good idea, that it seems like my DD is indicating that it's too important of a toy to her. But the mama continued imploring my DD to have empathy for her son and to look at how important it seems to him and would my DD be willing to leave it with him. This went on and on and on.
I needed to go back and read the OP just to remember the exact scenario that unfolded. I bolded the parts that really stuck out to me. CLEARLY the OP gave the boy and his mother time to get this resolved and her daughter was not doing well here. As much as I love the idea of waiting it out and calming my own child and all that, I'm all on fire again imagining this as my child and another parent being so... grr I don't even have words. I do think it can be damaging to be this upset and not have your mother stand up for you. I really do. We can agree to disagree.

WAHMama to Allen (2-10-05) and Alexa (6-27-08)
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#85 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:23 AM
 
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Does anyone else think dropping the toy to use the potty is significant?
Yes, I do completely agree. That was important in my original response as well.

I mean I don't think it's important in the sense of the boy realizing it on his own and just handing it right back, but if it were my son I would DEFINITELY be explaining to him that his friend is back from the potty and he needs to give the toy back to her.

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#86 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My understanding was that the object was something she was particularly attached to on that given day but was not her long time "attachment object" I personally feel there is a big difference.
It's very special to her. I don't think she has a long-term "attachment object", unless you count me . We've done our best to reduce materialism in her life (we have no tv, we don't go to malls, we never bought toys until recently because we had access to a toy lending library, we don't even own a car). But I guess she does care very deeply about a few material objects in her life, despite our efforts to avoid that.

I haven't said what it is, because it's just sounds so unbelievably ridiculous. But, maybe you all could use a laugh. We moved to the U.S. from Europe about 4 months ago, and her favorite trip while we lived there was to the south of France. We arrived in the evening on a Saturday and absolutely EVERYTHING was closed that night and all day Sunday. We had nowhere to eat, and so we ended up at McDonald's, hanging out with the teenagers in the middle of nowhere in Provence. My DD got a happy meal, and it came with this little surfboard that speaks French...with a surfer accent.

That's right. This was over a French-speaking surfboard.

A french-speaking surfboard that reminds her of travels in her real home, one that has been a running joke with our family, and one that seemed to terrify her when she saw this little boy with it (probably given the history between them, to some extent).
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#87 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:26 AM
 
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Ha! That is awesome! I knew it had to be something funny when you didn't say what it was, just that she "carries it like a doll." I love it

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#88 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:40 AM
 
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nope no way i am not going to let my dd get all upset just so that your ds is happy. : i would of said to the mom that is your dd's toy and now it is time to give it back that is that at no if's and or buts. just get it back from ur ds or i will get it back myself.
no way to fix the past but try to prevent it happening again. at 3 your dd understands that he took and will take her toy from her just tell her to make sure it is safe we are going to leave it at home (if walking) or in the car (if driving)

ya i am all for gd but not a the price of one child getting hurt and stressed over the other one. clearly he was not upset it was your dd who was and he was holding the toy hostage. watching and seeing her reaction at that age he would understand what he is doing and have done.
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#89 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:50 AM
 
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Posting again -- I don't think it is right to expect a 2 yo. to calm down and learn about surviving without their attachment object. I think it is too high an expectation. There are certain sorts of things that we just don't share -- we don't tolerate other people handling. I don't feel comfortable with other people picking up my purse and exploring it, for example. Even close friends.

And with a doll or a teddy that is important, its more than an object. From the child's perspective, its a personality -- her baby. To make it more personal, imagine yourself as the mother of an infant -- and imagine that someone else is holding your baby and refusing to hand it back when you asked for it. Its not rational to expect that you would calm down, or learn to accept that you can be okay without your baby for a minute. You would really just need your baby back -- now.

This little girl has plenty of time to learn that her doll is just an object. She doesn't need to learn that as a toddler.
I can appreciate this perspective, because you are capturing the kind of panick-y emotional state I am sure the OP's child felt. But I would put it another way--we expect children this young to manage to share the most powerful and potent attachment object of all--their parent--with new infant siblings, for example. We trust that the initial tears and tantrums over sharing parental attention will resolve with the child realizing they are still loved and cherished even if they don't have 100% immediate parental attention the way they did before the new baby arrived.

I just want to be clear I place the highest priority on supporting attachments. I would never expect a child to tolerate a break in attachment--for example having a lovey given away, or having a parent leave them alone to cry in a room. But that is very different than what was happening here. In the same way sharing attention with a new baby is not abandoning attachments, sharing a lovey for a few minutes doesn't mean a full blown crisis.

I realize the distraction here is the other mother--who did suggest keeping the toy--and which was IMO totally inappropriate. But I think it is highly unlikely that was more than a fearful suggestion on her part, not really knowing how to handle her own child's emotions. I think the remedy for the upset dd would be seeing her own mother assert a simple boundary "No, he may not keep it. However we will give you some time alone to help him put down the toy, while dd calms down with me in another room etc....".

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#90 of 228 Old 11-28-2007, 12:54 AM
 
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I think the remedy for the upset dd would be seeing her own mother assert a simple boundary "No, he may not keep it. However we will give you some time alone to help him put down the toy, while dd calms down with me in another room etc....".
and this is why I dont ask for advice on here

there is no way in heaven or he double hockey sticks that ds would EVER EEEEVER leave a room while someone else had his attachement object.
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