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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today we were at a playgroup. Simon had two brooms. A girl of about 3 or 4 wanted one of them. This seemed reasonable. I asked Simon if she could have one. He refused to give one of them up. I asked if I could have one. No luck there either. I made a call on the spot and pried his hand off of one of the brooms and gave it to the girl. He wasn't thrilled with this, but didn't really protest and went on with his play, grabbing the dustpan instead. It seemed reasonable for him to have 1 broom and the matching dustpan, so when the girl came back with the intent of yanking the dustpan away from him, I told her that Simon was using that right now. She tried to pry it from his hand. This p'd me off (I know I shouldn't get p'd off at a child, but I was worried she'd be too forceful and what she was doing was rude). I said in a voice that is louder than usual (I guess a stern voice -- which I tend to dislike quite a bit and don't typically use) "Please be gentle!" I didn't quite know what to do. It didn't look like she was going to give up; I picked Simon up and moved him (with the broom and dustpan in his hands) across the room and away from the girl.

Now I was setting an example for the girl by giving in to her demands in the first place and prying a broom from Simon's hands. I didn't feel comfortable doing this. It wasn't a safety issue and he had it first. I don't let him grab toys from other children. (Well, if he takes something from a very young baby who doesn't really care and is easily distracted, I do let it go; I'm talking about when the child it is yanked from really wants to play with that particular item.) If he tries to take something away from someone who is engaged with it, I say something like "S/he is playing/working with that. Let's go find something else to do." I think it's important to respect that a child's play is their work and that they take it seriously and don't want what they are using to be yanked away from them any more than I would something that I'm using.

So what would have been a good response? I'd like to be more prepared next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Eeek. I should have mentioned that! Simon is 14 months old.

Please mamas, someone help me come up with a better way to respond in situations like this!
 

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Okay, here is my stab in the dark. Simon may not have realized that having two of the same thing isn't normally socially acceptable in play circles. To him, the two brooms were different objects, so he may have been confused about why he had to give one up. I liked how you explained to the other girl that Simon was playing with the dustpan, and then moved him away from her. Perhaps you should have done that same thing when he was playing with both brooms.

I've been trying to avoid prying things out of my 6 month old's hands--but she has a fast grab and I'm still learning how to really babyproof. I guess, to answer your original question, I would only take an item away from a child if it posed a danger to them.
 

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At that age most kids don't play with anything very long, I probably would have told the little girl, when he is done playing you can take a turn too and if he kept playing longer than 5 more minutes with it, I would have tried to show him another interesting toy to play with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses! I guess I just have to get over feeling a bit rude about not letting a child play with something when Simon has two of them. He has strong prefereces for brooms and phones and tends to play with them continuously, so it can't be guaranteed that the other child would get a turn very quickly if s/he just had to wait until he was done. There are a lot of other toys there, though, so I could deliberately try to get him interested in something else after he has played with the coveted item for awhile. It's hard to be part of a play group where the parents and children are all following different rules! Someday I'll have to create one of my own with like-minded parents and we can discuss things like this in advance.
 
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