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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ugh. I just need to put this down somewhere so I can stop thinking about it. DS is just shy of 2.5, and he has a cousin who is about 9 months younger. It has only been recently that DS and his cousin are together much, or able to interact much.

Starting a couple of months ago, DS was having a really hard time "sharing" anything with anyone else. I don't really think sharing is an age appropriate concept at this point, but we're working on taking turns, talking about how others like to play, too, about how it isn't friendly to take things from someone else, all that stuff. So at first, when cousin or anyone else was around and started to play with toys--any toys--, DS would just get so overwhelmingly upset that he would just sob. We have spent a lot of time talking about stuff, and in the space of about a month and a half, DS is not only able to co-exist with other kids playing with stuff (his stuff, their stuff, whatever), but will offer to give things to others and can talk about taking turns.

So the inlaws. My SIL (who will probably have some two year old challenges of her own before too much longer) just rolls her eyes at DS if he is having a hard time. The last two times she has been here (surprise, we were just passing by visits, so no time to talk to DS about his cousin coming over), DS has been very willing to play with his cousin and doesn't mind his cousin getting into anything with the exception of his construction trucks. I told DS that if he has something special that he doesn't feel that he can share with others, we can put it away before we have guests so that it isn't an issue. Unfortunately I was not home the last time they stopped by and the only conflict was over those trucks.

Last night we were at MIL's house, SIL and cousin were there, too. There is a firetruck toy there that both boys like to play with, and at one point, DS had it while cousin was busy and he said he would like to hide it so that cousin couldn't find it. MIL and SIL looked at him like he just sprouted a second head, or something. Moments later, he was actually offering the @$%#! truck to cousin, not that anyone noticed. SIL also tried to physically move DS when he didn't move immediately when she asked him to, and he not surprisingly wiggled away while she muttered some rude things and rolled her eyes--I was less than 10 feet away asking him to move, she just couldn't be bothered to wait.

I'm just hurt by how rude their reactions feel to me--I feel they're being completely unreasonable with regard to normal behavior on the part of a 2 year old, and it unfortunately further reinforces my feeling that I will not be leaving DS with ILs unsupervised for years to come (they may well feel that he needs a good spanking or something equally awful and totally unhelpful). I don't feel judged, so much as I feel like they are judging DS, and that whatever labels they're applying now, however misinformed or inappropriate, are going to stick with that side of the family.
 

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That sounds very unfun. I'm sorry that your inlaws are less than supportive. I keep mine a few thousand miles away so I don't have to deal with stuff like this.
 

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One exception to the "no praise" thing, IMO is to draw the attention of clueless relatives. "SIL, LOOK how DS SHARED the truck with DN!" As long as it isn't very often it won't undermine the unconditional love you show at all other times, and your DS has probably already figured out that things are weird at grandma's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
rightkindofme, you are a lucky, lucky creature!

sapphire_chan, that's a helpful idea; I usually make a point of saying something to DS, partly to help facilitate interaction in some cases (oh, you offered cousin the truck, he likes to play with that truck, too. Looks like maybe he's busy doing something else right now...) and I kind of just feel like telling the ILs, who only seem to notice when DS is doing something totally age appropriate but maybe not as charming, to bite me. Your suggestion is much more productive.
 

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It's helped us immensely that at grandma's house, there are lots of semi-paired toys. Dd has a cousin 5 months younger (she's now 3) and they're able to handle playing much better with each kid has a car, each kid has a ball, etc. If there's a way to work something like that out it might help them through the hard time sharing stage there (which is totally normal and probably get worse as cousin gets older).

I'm sure their reactions get picked up on though by the kids, and make the situation harder though. And if they haven't, they probably will. Some way to get across that their behavior doesn't help the kid's difficult situations that's not snarky might be a good project (though I can't come up with any way to do that at the moment for ya. . sorry).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by mumkimum View Post
It's helped us immensely that at grandma's house, there are lots of semi-paired toys. Dd has a cousin 5 months younger (she's now 3) and they're able to handle playing much better with each kid has a car, each kid has a ball, etc. If there's a way to work something like that out it might help them through the hard time sharing stage there (which is totally normal and probably get worse as cousin gets older).

I'm sure their reactions get picked up on though by the kids, and make the situation harder though. And if they haven't, they probably will. Some way to get across that their behavior doesn't help the kid's difficult situations that's not snarky might be a good project (though I can't come up with any way to do that at the moment for ya. . sorry).
We've done some of that, there are two of most things there at this point, which I think my SIL resents, or thinks it's silly that they each have to have something similar--as if DS is spoiled or whatever, so now we have to have more than one of each thing to play with so that her boy has something to play with/there is less to struggle over.

I will be waiting for cousin to hit the magic age, maybe she'll seem less put out when her child is the cause of some dischord. DS has been delightful his whole life, but particularly easy up until just a couple of months ago, so I'm wondering if cousin will follow a similar pattern. I just hope she doesn't decide to crack down on him if he does.
 

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DS is going through a very similar phase right now. We don't live anywhere near to family, but we went home last month and ran into some of the same problems, mainly with my sister. Her son is not quite one and is an absolute delight. DS is having a hard time sharing his toys right now and didn't always want to share the toys he brought with DN. Sister got very annoyed with the whole situation even though I told her it was very age appropriate. I'm secretly hoping DN goes through the same thing once he turns two.
 

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Maybe it's having my kid in daycare part time while I work and having gone to playgroups since she was born, but 2.5yo are perfectly capable of understanding the basic idea of sharing. Sometimes they need help to actually go through with it, but it's not out of their reach. If it was, daycares and preschools around the world would be even more chaotic than they are.

What did you say when your son asked to hide the truck? I would have said something like "Oh, these toys are for everyone remember. Cousin wants to play too. It would make cousin sad if we hid the truck." I also would have looked at my kid like she sprouted a third head too.

Our family is luckily really good about helping the kids take turns. If more than one kid is interested in a toy, we sing the sharing song. When it's done the toy changes hands. 95% of the time the kids do it on their own, and 5% of the time they need some help. "You give it to him, or I'll help you" gets us along way. Then we sing the song again and the toy changes hands. We do this over and over until there's only 1 kid interested in having turns and then they get to keep the toy until another kid is interested again. We started this early and they very quickly understood that they were going to get another turn fast (the song is ~10 seconds). So they got more patient.

Now at 3 and 2.5 they will do it themselves. They will sing the song and exchange the object in question. The 3yo is even starting to move into "when you're done your turn can I have it" and then goes away to play with something else and waits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
Maybe it's having my kid in daycare part time while I work and having gone to playgroups since she was born, but 2.5yo are perfectly capable of understanding the basic idea of sharing. Sometimes they need help to actually go through with it, but it's not out of their reach. If it was, daycares and preschools around the world would be even more chaotic than they are.

What did you say when your son asked to hide the truck? I would have said something like "Oh, these toys are for everyone remember. Cousin wants to play too. It would make cousin sad if we hid the truck." I also would have looked at my kid like she sprouted a third head too.

Our family is luckily really good about helping the kids take turns. If more than one kid is interested in a toy, we sing the sharing song. When it's done the toy changes hands. 95% of the time the kids do it on their own, and 5% of the time they need some help. "You give it to him, or I'll help you" gets us along way. Then we sing the song again and the toy changes hands. We do this over and over until there's only 1 kid interested in having turns and then they get to keep the toy until another kid is interested again. We started this early and they very quickly understood that they were going to get another turn fast (the song is ~10 seconds). So they got more patient.

Now at 3 and 2.5 they will do it themselves. They will sing the song and exchange the object in question. The 3yo is even starting to move into "when you're done your turn can I have it" and then goes away to play with something else and waits.
Respectfully, I feel that sharing and taking turns are not the same thing. DS has, in the space of less than two months, gone from being unable to understand/tolerate taking turns or playing with other children (he was fine with it generally until about two months ago) to having no problem doing so.

The fact that he mentioned hiding the firetruck isn't aberrant or unusual, more like wishful thinking that he could have the toy all to himself without interruption in that moment. He neither intended to follow through, nor did he, and immediately after, he offered the truck to his cousin. I did not find it necessary to do anything but feel shocked that the other adults present didn't have the wherewithal to understand the difference between intent and wishful thinking.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by annalivia View Post
Respectfully, I feel that sharing and taking turns are not the same thing. DS has, in the space of less than two months, gone from being unable to understand/tolerate taking turns or playing with other children (he was fine with it generally until about two months ago) to having no problem doing so.

The fact that he mentioned hiding the firetruck isn't aberrant or unusual, more like wishful thinking that he could have the toy all to himself without interruption in that moment. He neither intended to follow through, nor did he, and immediately after, he offered the truck to his cousin. I did not find it necessary to do anything but feel shocked that the other adults present didn't have the wherewithal to understand the difference between intent and wishful thinking.
I guess I feel that my job as a parent to a toddler is to make it clear what forms of wishful thinking are harmless (I wish I had a pony for example) and which forms could hurt other people's feelings if they heard. It could have been a good moment to remind him that even saying something like wishing he could hide the firetruck could hurt his cousin's feelings.

My kid hasn't had the luxury of going through a phase where she isn't able to understand about sharing or taking turns. Some kids have more trouble with these concepts, but it's pretty clear from watching the daycare kids and knowing other people with their kids in daycare, that it's more a question of whether or not kids want to share/take turns rather than if they can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
I guess I feel that my job as a parent to a toddler is to make it clear what forms of wishful thinking are harmless (I wish I had a pony for example) and which forms could hurt other people's feelings if they heard. It could have been a good moment to remind him that even saying something like wishing he could hide the firetruck could hurt his cousin's feelings.

My kid hasn't had the luxury of going through a phase where she isn't able to understand about sharing or taking turns. Some kids have more trouble with these concepts, but it's pretty clear from watching the daycare kids and knowing other people with their kids in daycare, that it's more a question of whether or not kids want to share/take turns rather than if they can.
I think we have a semantic issue. I used to work at an ECDC, with the toddler group, and there were daily incidents with toys, other items and children themselves that needed facilitation from an adult to work out. A daycare setting is very deliberately different from a home setting, and there is the possibility of learning to take turns with an abundance of items available, not one fire truck, two balls and a couple of books as at grandma's house. The children who were dropped off there in the morning rarely, if ever cried once they were habituated, whereas if I was to drop DS off somewhere and leave, he would most definitely cry. I don't see that or taking turns as a choice so much as an enforced habit. I don't think that most toddlers would choose to share much of anything of their own volition, so I don't understand why the learning process should be an opportunity for surprise or judgement. DS is learning about how to be with other children/toys and he simply hasn't had as much practice as other children who have spent time in daycare or who have siblings. It's neither good nor bad nor unusual, it just is. And he's nearly 2.5; the first half was smooth sailing, this second half is looking a little rockier. He still doesn't know the word, "mine," but he is definitely trying to figure out how things work as far as who has what and what stays where and what it means if someone else is using something that he likes/would like to have. I think that two months to work through the bulk of that is pretty respectable on his part, and I think the snide attitude and judgement of ILs is totally counterproductive.

The hiding thing was probably really too nuanced to have mentioned. His cousin spent the evening talking about hiding things. Himself, other toys (nobody got in a snit about cousin), etc... It's a new word for him and when DS was talking about hiding the fire truck, it was in that context. It was more about trying out the word "hide" in a new way or maybe even paralleling his cousin a bit than an intent to hide a toy. I, too, feel that it is my job to help DS discern what impact his thoughts/intentions/actions may have on those around him, but his saying he was going to "hide the fire truck" was like saying he was going to put it on the ceiling. He was just being silly and at this point, I don't see the value of sort of pouncing all over anything that he might say that might possibly imply an opportunity for someone else's feelings to be hurt, especially when he's smack in the middle of learning how to say everything and what it means to communicate with others in the first place. I definitely want to offer guidance and perspective, but I don't think it's useful to try to correct his every impulse or statement that might be a little awkward. I'm pretty sure it didn't hurt cousin's feelings because he (cousin) was very happily and obliviously busy with something else and cousin was the one who was "hiding" things in the first place.
 
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