Did I handle this toddler to infant incident correctly?

Lydia - posted on 08/07/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My now 3 year old daughter is friendly and shares with others, particularly children younger than herself. See, we are leaving my building, and my neighbors 1 year old walks up to my daughter and snatches her ball from her. She stood there while I made a joke about him being a bully already. So, his mother takes the ball from him and gives it back to my daughter, but with an attitude. She never apologized or anything. As I'm buckling my daughter's seat belt in the car, I tell her that is good to share your toys, but do not allow anyone to snatch anything from you and take your stuff back. It seems that those words upset and confused her. Was I wrong? Feedback please.

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Mary Renee - posted on 08/08/2011

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I agree with Jamie. The mother probably took offense to you calling her one-year-old a bully. One-year-olds don't "get" sharing and that's just what they do, they don't mean anything by it.

I agree with what you did as far as telling your daughter to share, but when you say "do not allow anyone to snatch anything from you and take your stuff back" might have been encouraging the wrong type of behavior, and probably confusing to your daughter. She hears you say it's good to share, and then she hears you say, "but take your stuff back." and it's a little conflicting.

If you imagine the scenario again as if your daughter took the advice you told her afterward, the situation would have gone like this. The one-year-old took your three year-old's ball. And then, following your advice, your daughter would have snatched the ball back from the one-year-old. To me, that's not appropriate. There have been times my one-year-old has been at the playground and found a ball that no one is playing with. She picks it up and then a "big" kid comes over and is like "No! Mine!" and grabs it back, when they weren't even playing with it.

I think everything happened correctly. You daughter acted mature, let the one-year-old see her ball, and waited patiently for the adult to return her ball, because she knows the one-year-old didn't know any better.

At that age, I think it's best to teach your daughter the simple thing, which is to share, and that if someone takes something from her, she should tell an adult - a parent or a teacher. I understand you don't want her to be bullied, but I don't think she's at risk of being bullied by a one-year-old.

Jamie - posted on 08/08/2011

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Hi Lydia,

Unfortunately, we as parents are going to have share the floor with bad parents. I think you should ignore the mothers response. The mother at least did the right thing and that was to give the toy back. Of course she should have told him not to take the toy. It is possible she was offended by your remark of calling her son a bully. I deal with this a lot, my daughter who is 2 1/2 is in several classes and unfortunately you really have to just hold your tongue, especially this early on.

What you said to your daughter, the part about sharing toys is perfect. Although, regarding the second part, "but do not allow anyone to snatch anything from you and take your stuff back", I would feel the same way but at the same time it's encouraging combative behavior. I think I would have told her that "It's good to share your toys but unfortunately some children don't know how to do that yet." Especially since the child that took her toy was only 1. Don't worry that you upset her, I'm sure it won't be anything to her in a few days (or even minutes). Later in life we can teach them to be assertive and to find a tactful way of getting their toys/stuff back but until then we just need to mind our own parenting and explain to our child how it doesn't always work out the right way and move on.

Sincerely,
Jamie

Keri - posted on 08/15/2011

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It sounds like your daughter had no problem with what had happened. I think adults often forget how differently children see the world. If your daughter is as personable, friendly and giving as it sounds like she is, she may have thought she was sharing already. If you want to show her the difference between a sharing situation and a taking situation, highlight the fact that when you share, you say please and thank you and play together, as opposed to what happened in this case where the child just took your daughter's toy without any sign for the little boy about wanting it.

Mary Renee - posted on 08/14/2011

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A one year old doesn't know how to say sorry. My daughter is one and she says "Hi" and "Mama" and "Papa," I could tell her "Say sorry" but it wouldn't do any good. That's ridiculous. Sorry is RARELY in the vocabulary of a one year... maybe if they're almost two, but not one!

Didn't the mom take the ball from her child and hand it back to you? I don't think the mother did anything wrong either.

When my daughter (15 months) takes a ball, if there is no problem and the kids are playing, I don't do anything. If the kid wants the ball back or yells "Mine!" I gently take the ball from my daughter and say "That's his/her ball. They want it back now. Thank you for sharing." But I wouldn't tell her to apologize because she's only one! I don't think either parent acted wrong in this situation.

Sarah - posted on 08/14/2011

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Hey, my son is 3 and often plays with his 1 year old cousin who does take toys quite a lot because hejust learning to share. My fear with teaching my son to take his toys back is that he will hurt the younger child because the baby is new to walking and quite a bit smaller than my son. My solution was to tell my son 3 things. His cousin is still learning to share, that does not make it ok for him to take toys, but to avoid hurting someone else, he should ask for a grownup to help him rather than taking the toy back himself. That is a good solution to the problem because my son is not being a pushover but is also not being aggressive back. Hope this helps!

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Kristen - posted on 08/15/2011

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Your Daughter did the right thing. She didn't call a 1 year old a bully. And she didnt instigate a fight with a baby, because then your daughter would have been the bully. She waited for the grown up- which seems to be the other mother, to solve the situation. If anyone needs to appologize, its you, for name calling. A 3 year old should have, or be learning, the empathy to not snatch toys from babies, even if the baby snatched it from her. Its the other mothers job to teach her child that we dont take other peoples toys. Can you imagine her holding her toy over the babies head, so the baby couldnt reach it? while the infant cries, and learning that making babies cry is the right way to handle the situation? yikes.

Teresa - posted on 08/15/2011

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Your daughter felt you were telling her she did something wrong by allowing the other child to take her ball. To clear this up all you would have had to say is " you didn't do anything wrong... and exactly what you did say about not allowing anyone to snatch something from her hand. My only problem with what you did is that you called another child a bully and if I was that mother I would be angry enough to not apologize either. Her child clearly did somethng wrong but I think you are the one who owes her an apology. A 1 yr old is not a bully he's a child who needs to be taught right and wrong and calling him names isn't going to change his behavior nor earn you the friendship of his parents.

Amanda - posted on 08/15/2011

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Keep in mind that when you made the joke about the 1 year old being a bully, it is VERY easy for another mother to take it the wrong way. Whether you meant it that way or not, you basically set the situation up for some hostility or attitude. In the same situation, if you had offeneded me, I would NOT have apologized either. My 2 year old is very much like yours, she shares without being prompted and is helpful with other children. I would say something about how it seemed like the other child likes balls too and I was glad that she let him look at her ball. Like others have said, they are still pretty young to be picking up on social cues like that. Your daughter might be starting already, but the little boy definitly will not. This is a great opportunity if it happens again to model for her what words to use to get her toys back, then gently help the little guy give the ball back to your daughter. How you handled it wasn't wrong, but could have been taken the wrong way. Even if you think she is being overly sensitive, look at things from her perspective, and keep in mind that you don't know what else is happening in her life to lead her to one conclusion or another. We are all in this together!

Rebecca - posted on 08/15/2011

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I think you did the right thing. If the child couldn't say sorry, the mother should have done. I would have made my kids apologise if they'd done anything like that, however old they are (provided they could talk of course!).
Do you think your daughter understood what you said? Perhaps talking to her a little more would be helpful. It may be useful to explain that, while she is kind because you have taught her, there are other children (and parents) who are not like that. Maybe she didn't like the idea of taking something back if it was taken off her.

Jenni - posted on 08/11/2011

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I understand that Jennifer. And I agree the mom should have said 'sorry' and modelled the behaviour for her child. But most one year olds are not that advanced in speech, 'sorry' is a rather complex word for a one year old. And the lack of opportunity to say the word compared to more commonly used words would probably mean it took some time to learn it.
I always apologized for my children's behaviour, but my son still didn't learn the word 'sorry' until closer to 2.5 years old. Even though I encouraged him to say it every time he received a timeout.

Of course there may be exceptions where the child is advanced in language. But generally speaking, 'sorry' is not usually one of the first words children say, despite many parents efforts.

Jennifer - posted on 08/11/2011

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Hey Jennifer Tofflemireeply one year old can say sorry if you have them try even if the mom said sorry it would have helped. Kids repeat what they hear.

Casey - posted on 08/11/2011

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your right shareing is wonderful but she also needs to stand up for herself. If she doesn't start now then people will walk all over her when she gets older. I don't think you were wrong at all. Some parents just have a different seance of humor or none at all. LOL I think you comment about the bully was funny.
I totally agree with you. She may not understand because she knows that sharing is good and that goes against what she thinks is good.
Try explaining to her that there is a difference in sharing and letting someone have everything you have. Maybe try telling her "You don't have to give your toy to anyone unless they ask you if they can play with it."
Your daughter should like a great girl. Your doing something right. Keep it up.

Jenni - posted on 08/10/2011

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True enough, I agree to a point.... he's one. A one year old is not capable of understanding right from wrong. Nor does a one year old have much impulse control. And Jennifer... I don't know many one year olds who can say 'sorry'. My one year old's vocabulary consists of; "Up", "bath", "duck" and "cat". But the mother should have shown manners to you and your daughter, Lydia.



When my daughter takes things from people, I take them back, give them back to the child and say: "No, that's not yours." But yeah, that's usually followed by a bit of a fit because she doesn't understand yet, the concept of "his", "yours" and "mine". A one year old is not developmentally ready and lacks impulse control.

Jennifer - posted on 08/10/2011

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Teaching your child how to stick up for themself is a hard job all on its own. Some kids are just mean to begin with that other mother should have told her kid to say sorry. I dont think your word upset her as much as the kid taking her ball from her. It probably only really sunk in when you said something. But I dont think you where NOT wrong at all if that helps.

Lydia - posted on 08/10/2011

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I truly agree with you all, but you said the key point...she didn't take responsibility in correcting his mistake. I was wrong for calling him a bully, because he doesn't know any better just yet. However, she was suppose to tell him that we do not take other things without asking. It just proved that some parents don't take the time out to teach their children right from wrong. I'm not perfect, no one is, but right is right and we both were wrong. Once again...thank you for your response and honesty and advice.

Amanda - posted on 08/09/2011

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I meant to say, I would THINK of another way to explain it. I would also like to add, that I think it is awesome that your daughter shares so well and did not react badly when the little boy took the toy from her. That is amazing, on her part and yours! Congrats on that part. Your daughter would probably not do that if she hadnt learned it from you.

Amanda - posted on 08/09/2011

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I also agree with the other parents. I dont think you did anything wrong, but I would have said it differently to my child. I would not have told them to take it back. I agree that is encouraging aggressive behavior. Also, the 1 year olds mother probably did take offense to her child being called a bully, I would have too. A one year old does not understand what sharing is, or impulse control. He wasnt trying to be mean or be a bully, he was acting age appropriately. When my one year old son takes things out of the hands of others, I simply take it out of his hands and tell him we dont take things from others. It will take a while before a one year old fully understands this. I am sure you didnt mean anything by what was said, but I would of another way to explain that kind of situation to your child. Good luck!

Jenni - posted on 08/09/2011

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I agree with the others. The mother was probably angry you called her son a bully. Even in jest, that is probably one of the LAST things a parent wants their child to grow up to be. So I can see how that might have hurt the mother's feelings.



Regarding your daughter. Awesome job that your daughter understands and is good at sharing with younger kids! In my experience my little ones are usually shunned by older kids at play places. lol I've seen a lot of older children show aminosity towards younger babies and toddlers. I think they're afraid they might wreck or take their toys! It sounds like your daughter is mature and caring.



It's great that you told her it's good to share her toys. But I can see the second part of your message could lead to problems. It may be hard for a 3 year old to understand the context of say, another child 'stealing' her toy vs. a 1 year old (who doesn't know any better) taking a toy off her.



I probably would have said: "I love that you're so good at sharing! That is very kind. Babies don't understand how to share yet. They're still learning how to be good sharers like you. I'm happy you were so patient with him!"

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