Not Sharing

by Rachel

Since the birth of our second son four months ago, our two and a half year old son is not sharing. He is ALL BOY and I love this about him, but he has begun showing a lot of aggression at other children, especially his age and younger. Sharing toys with friends when they come over, and even when we go on outings to the local Children's Museum, or local play groups has become an embarrassing fiasco for me! I talk to him before we see any other children about playing nicely with our friends and using gentle touches, but nothing seems to work. He even screams at the top of his lungs when he doesn't get what he wants from the child, or when I intervene. It has become so embarrassing that I have found myself dreading going anywhere with him. Everyone tells me that it's a normal part of being 2, but I don't think that it's okay to justify that kind of behavior on his age. He is a very intelligent boy. How do I get back to seeing my son interact nicely with other children?

Kristina's Reply to Not Sharing:

Well that's a very good question and a common one, too. I'm not experienced with toddlers and actually seeing him would help me recommend the best option. Even though I feel underqualified to answer your question, there is one thing I would like to suggest.

Create a situation at home where he can practice listening and obeying. You will completely control the environment, circumstances and consequences. For instance, set up some play dates at home, maybe with cousins or close friends whom you can tell what you're doing, and plan for them to do something special like playing with new toys or doing a craft or activity like that. Explain to him before anyone even gets there that they will all have to go home and he'll have to stop playing and go to his room (with you of course - just to separate him from his friends for some time) if he hits anyone, or is not sharing, etc. This way you can respond immediately and decisively because you set the boundary with him ahead of time. Hopefully you will only have to do this a few times before he realizes that he gets a lot LESS of what he wants if he tries to take things or hit, rather than sharing and being gentle.

Hopefully you can find willing participants that might be willing to give this a try. It will help you avoid embarrassing public moments and make the consequences more swift and easy to comprehend for him.

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