Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Playing Nice

Feel free to file this one under "you probably don't care" but here I go anyway...

I think one of the hardest things for me as a mother, will be refereeing my child's interactions with other children. For a while I just sat back and observed what other moms did while taking some mental notes. But now coach has put me in the game and it's go time! I'm already running into some sticky areas where I'm trying to balance the delicate task of knowing when to stand up for my child and when to help her share while simultaneously not hurting another child's feelings or unfairly favoring my child and not creating any tension with other moms and their parenting styles. Whew! For example, another mom friend and her daughter were at the park recently (trust me it's not you--this person doesn't read my blog). Beanie kept walking up and swiping her daughter's ball...I told Beanie not to take the ball, while her mom kept telling Beanie it was OK and her daughter could share the ball. Confusing. I mean Beanie doesn't get it now, but in a couple of years who's right? Me telling her not to "take" or her friends mom insisting they share? In my opinion, when I bring a ball for Beanie to the park I'm bringing it for BEANIE to play with--she should get priority. Lets not forget the obvious--it's her ball. Of course I want her to learn to share, but I also want her to understand the context of when it's OK not to share--or at least delayed sharing (I'm not done playing with it, but when I am then you can play). Specifically I think this deals with being at the park....now I don't mind if other children want to play with her and her ball, or play with the ball when she's not playing with it but I'm not so super keen on the idea of having to share her toys with total strangers when I did bring it for her. In fact, sometimes (and I do mean only sometimes, not all the time people) I think this whole sharing business goes a little too far. If you are at someone's house for a play date and we all want to play with the new tricked out Dora doll, sure we need to learn to take turns and share...BUT when you go out and bring toys for your child that they specifically wanted to play with at the park with why do they need to share with the whole neighborhood, or even one kid? I try to be consistent--if someone takes Beanies toy away from her I tell them it's her ball and she was playing with it. If Beanie takes someone's toy away from them, I tell her the same thing. I think it's hardest though when you have 2 moms doing opposing actions even when they're backed up with the best intentions. I think it's best to stick to your guns and realize that other moms are doing what they feel is right too. I'm not out to try and make other moms do things my way, but I still believe in doing what you feel is right and allowing for other moms to do the same.

4 comments:

  1. yeah i'm not looking forward to making these kinds of decisions either...

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  2. I was seriously thinking of writing a post on this subject (just this week) so that's so funny that you wrote this...although you said it much better than I would've. :) I like your reasoning...I have a hard time deciding when my kids should share because I want them to be good at sharing, yet there are cases where I don't think I should expect them to. I think what makes it the hardest is helping the little ones to understand when they have to share and when they don't, so I probably confuse my kids - being a parent can be so complicated :)

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  3. I found this post really interesting, since I periodically feel anxious about the fact that I will at some point have to do this....but really it sounds like you're doing an amazing job. You're so rocking the whole mom thing, dude.

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  4. Definitely you should let your child play with her own toy and if someone else wants to play with it, say, "Oh, she's playing with it now, but maybe you can have a turn later." Your friend was just trying to be extra polite. Sharing is about taking turns, not giving all your toys away! The attention span is so short with them anyway that it's not worth getting too stressed over each toy. Bringing duplicates or extra toys as distractions is always helpful in avoiding these situations in the first place :)

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