It's not sharing if you rip it from her hands

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Categories Behavior, Toddlers

Other-envy.  The bane of the toddler-mom’s existance.  Doesn’t matter what it is that child A has picked up; child B simply MUST have it. Right. NOW.  There’s no lead-time on child A playing with it and making it look fun to entice child B.  Literally, from the moment A picks up the cap from an empty water bottle, B desperately neeeeeeeeds to have it.

In my house, it’s Daniel who must have whatever Rebecca is holding.  She picks something up, and he scrunches up his face and whines “my turn, my turn!”, which, in toddler-ese means, “give it to me right this very second.”  I have tried to explain to him that, no, it’s Becca’s turn and he has to wait his turn.  He then shrieks “Becca turn! Becca turn! Wait-a turn! Wait-a turn!” and continues to snatch it from her.  Sigh.  Every now and then I think we’re starting to make progress on the concept of waiting and sharing, but it’s slow going.

The simultaneously heart-warming and concerning part of this story is that, more often than not, Rebecca will decide fairly quickly to give whatever she has to Daniel.  Not always, of course, but often.  Is she just being kind and empathetic?  It really is quite sweet to see.  On the other hand, is she just doing it to shut him up? Is she too much of a pushover when it comes to her brother?  Hard to say.

Sharing markers

And I can’t decide what my reaction to her generosity should be.  Obviously, I continue to try to get Daniel to wait his turn.  But when Rebecca decides to hand over whatever she has, do I praise her kindness?  Gently refuse her gesture and give the toy/book/bottlecap back to her and insist that she take her own turn (thereby inciting a spectacular meltdown from Daniel)?  Let them work it out on their own?

We certainly work on our “please” and “thank you” (Daniel’s “sank-u Becca!” is awfully cute) and other general manners. But I find myself again feeling a little sensitive to the gender thing. I don’t want to inadvertently encourage my (larger) son to be physically dominant and my (smaller) daughter to be the one who always has to make others happy.

Reading too much into this? Yeah, probably. Rebecca may be wee, but she’s feisty as hell and has no trouble getting her way when she sees fit.  And the more-verbal Daniel is getting better and better at spontaenous “please,” “thank you,” and “wait-a turn.”  This, as with all toddler-isms, shall pass.

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11 thoughts on “It's not sharing if you rip it from her hands”

  1. My twins are eight and they still do this. If I buy them something (recently they are obsessed with Littlest Pet Shops) then one of my twins will whine or try to boss the other into giving her the one she likes best. The other will always give in. I finally put my foot down a couple days ago and told them that my little quiet ones gets first choice the next two times.

    So I don’t think you are reading too much into it. I think they will continue to do this unless you address it early on, something I didn’t do. Mine are older and easier to reason with but it’s something I should have done along time ago. Kudos to you for thinking ahead!

  2. Faith hollers at Jonathan “no crying!!!” when he starts bellowing…I think they have really been on eachothers nerves lately, and the non-sharing thing doesn’t help.

    Jonathan can be a bit bullyish, but he is much kinder and a better share-er with food. He has a strong sense of fairness and equality, and is always running food to Faith to make sure she has her share. It helps make up for the other stuff!

    I have seriously been entertaining the though of seperating them soon. They seem to really need some time apart…do you think you will keep Daniel and Rebecca together when you transition to toddler beds?

  3. God, is it possible that even at 11 months they can sense one “wanting” something and then beat them to it just because the other had a fleck of interest in their eye? It’s going to be a long few years…isn’t it?

  4. I read too much into it too. Years of therapy would tell me it’s bc my sister was one of those loud ones who demanded things and I often gave in to shut her up! But then, I think it’s part of having a sibling and they’re learning to navigate these relationships. And it’s a good lesson to learn that sometimes giving in to someone loud and demanding is good for your own peace :)

    You can probably guess Nate is my loud crying demanding one and Alex is the one who often gives in. But when Alex doesn’t want to give in, WORLD WAR 3!

  5. I honestly do not know if there is a way to change this behavior. I feel, in my heart, that they are born this way and it’s up to them to figure it out. That said, we do everything we can to help them along including separating A LOT lately, taking the toy and putting it in time out and when things get physical putting them both in time out. I read that somewhere and it has been a good tip. We’re also trying to let them figure things out on their own but it always gets too rough so we’re still intervening. I think I read recently that even 3 year olds do not yet know how to share. We practice taking turns at our house and that does help. I set the timer on the stove for a minute or two and they are usually cool with trading at that point. It’s a constant battle, I know. I have a bully and a victim, too.

  6. I am right there with you. In my house, it is less predictable though. Both Bree and Cullen will demand what the other has and tend to give in if the other starts throwing a fit. I worry that it is teaching them that pitching a fit gets you what you want, but at this point, if they are willing to give in, I generally let them. I do try to praise whoever is willing to share and make sure that the other understands that sharing is going on. I am not sure if they actually get it, but at least I feel like I am making an effort.

  7. like most things, it will get better, and get worse, and get better, etc. and just when you think daniel is the demanding one and rebecca gives in, they will flip-flop, and then flip-flop again. consistency is one thing that we will never be blessed with.

    that being said, i’ve noticed the boys getting better about taking turns and sharing and not just ripping things out of each other’s hands. they may follow the other around and torment them to no end, however. it’s a long, hard road, and for us frequently escalates into screaming, pushing and hitting, but big picture wise, it has gotten a lot better!

  8. My kids already show signs of this and Ned is fitting into Daniel’s role and Penny in to “Becca’s” (still not used to her nickname!). Ned has a hard time “waiting” his turn for food when we’re working with Penny and he whines when Penny plays with something he wants. Since Ned can’t (won’t) crawl I tell him he’ll have to figure out how to get it away (aka, crawl). He’s wise to my game.

    I struggle with “turns”. I’d almost rather say that x toy is Penny’s while she’s using it and Ned can have it when she is done. It seems kind of false that people take turns as adults. My mom never talked about turns with the three of us – she just let us battle it out.

  9. Yep. You just described Burke and Maggie at that age. (and now, sometimes too.) I over analyzed it as well…and worked on Burke taking a turn (and still sometimes do…they’ve gotten very good at counting to 10 to wait their turn).

    Then I realized that Maggie got *very* smart, *very* quickly and learned to grab something that she only sort of wanted so that Burke would go for that item and then she’d pick up the toy she REALLY wanted to play with…it was at this point I figured they could duke it out on their own 😉

  10. I have boy/boy twins and they do exactly this. The smaller twin always gives in and gives the scary tantrum throwing 2 year old the size of a 4 year old, whatever it is he wants. Even though H had it first. I don’t think it is a gender thing so much as a dominant and submissive twin thing. I usually grab it back from E and give it to H saying “This is yours, you had it first, he can wait till you are done with it.” Usually because E starts as soon as H picks something up. I let E throw a tantrum. I learned to ignore him long ago.

  11. I have 2 year old boy/girl twins and a daughter that is 15 months older. In my house it seems to be a dominant/submissive thing and not gender. My girl twin is the smallest and the loudest. The other two rarely win in the “I want that” fight. I take a mostly hands off approach. I think they need to learn to work it out…with a little guidance. We try to encourage sharing of course but I let them have things that they don’t need to share as well. I grew up with 4 siblings and vividly remember having to share even things I valued. I let them each have things that are theirs alone and special…then we work on caring for those things with respect…

    I’m laughting as I re-read what I wrote …maybe I was just not a good sharer…yikes.

    I’ll just keep repeating to myself…try not to over think everything…try not to over think everything…

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