Sharing vs. Ownership

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by jkendrick, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

    Our boys are just about 2.5. This isn't a new problem, but it's really coming to a head right now. Most of the boys' possessions are communal. They share clothes, they share dishes and cups, they share toys. I'm realizing that perhaps this was a mistake. I joke that I naively thought having twins would teach them to share. Instead it teaches them to hoard. So I think we need to start making some things strictly the possession of one or the other. My question is how to do that. Should I just divide things up and mark them as each child's? Do I only allow each to play with their own toys? Or do I allow the other to play with it only if it is okay with the child who "owns" it? In this case I forsee the owner child always claiming the toy when the other child wants it thus causing meltdowns. We do spend time each day specifically practicing playing together with activities such as pushing a car back and forth to each other. But this is not their natural state (ha!). Any advice is appreciated.
  2. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

  3. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

    Honestly, that's what we already do. My experience is that rarely works in real life. The children only want the toy because the other wants it. I never force them to share something they are playing with. What happens is child one is playing with something and child two decides he wants it. I tell child two to wait his turn. Eventually, child one puts the toy down and child two swoops in to grab. That sets off child one yelling "mine!" I tell child one he had his turn and now it's child two's turn. Tantrums all around. The issue is often that one child has assumed ownership of said toy, despite no official ownership given. If child one has assumed ownership of a toy car, this will provoke child two to want to take it simply because he knows child one wants it. This has been going on for a long time so I don't think it's a matter of just continuing to work through it. At some point they have to have things that are theirs, right?
  4. monica77

    monica77 Well-Known Member

    Our kids are boy/girl and we still have the issues you describe - they are 4.5. For example - for Christmas they got 2 identical planes - they both love planes. At times they both pull at the same plane even if there's an identical one around. It's funny at times - you get used to it. What we found useful to some degree is using a timer -we set the stove timer to 2 minutes - then when time is up - they give up said toy and we remind them they will get the toy back next time the timer beeps. Usually after 5 minutes both give up the toy and they move on to something else. I hope this helps - I learned this trick here on Twinstuff.
    I also wanted to add my kids share a lot of the toys and even if some things are obviously hers - such as dolls or wands - or his - cars - they play with everything and we don't really emphasize ownership. I think we have enough conflicts without the MINE thing going on 24/7. In my experience the timer is more helpful than to tell them "this is your sister's/brother's and you can't have it".
  5. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    This reminds me of something that happened when my twins were toddlers.  They BOTH had the same exact toy.  Exact, to the same color.  Clayton had one and was playing with it.  Audrey wanted it.  Clayton didn't want to give up the one he was playing with so (on his own) he went and got her identical toy for her.  She STILL wanted the one he was playing with. 
    Sometimes it is a no win.  At that age, understanding asking for permission to play with a toy doesn't work.  Try to make the solution something that they come up with or can agree upon if possible.  The more problem solving solutions they come up with themselves is a plus.
  6. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    First of all, it is normal for 2.5 year olds not to share, just because they are twins, doesn't they develop faster than their peers behaviorally.  Most kids don't really understand sharing until closer to 4 years.  They do understand turns, and others have covered that.  My boys are 12.5, and very few things are "owned".  The only time they really had toys that belonged to them was around 3-5 when one was into Thomas, and the other Power Rangers, so those weren't really shared, but that was due to interest more than anything else.  Actually, the only thing that mine truly claim ownership of is their books.
  7. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    In the long run, allowing them to mediate it will pay huge dividends. To me it sounds like they're actually working out what ownership means already. It's a frustrating developmental stage when you have two doing the same thing at the same time though; for most kids there would be an older sibling stealing from an unsuspecting younger sibling with far fewer tantrums and takebacks. It improves a lot when they're a bit older, and they develop preferences for certain items. My boys play together famously now, and they have a few special toys that are "theirs" and the rest is fair game. But I had to sit back and let them work it out because it felt unfair to everyone when I tried to impose order.
  8. mom2gc

    mom2gc Well-Known Member

    We often use an egg timer for taking turns.  The time is short enough and they can turn the timer around when the sand has run through.
    All kids have to learn to share as there is not always two of everything in life, but I do believe that they also must have a few things that are only theirs. They have to ask the other one before they are allowed to play with it and often they will happily give it to the other to play with.  
  9. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    This is what we did when they were littler. Now I have shifted to either longer turns for things like our iPod, which are time limited, or asking the kid who is playing with it to please bring it to the kid wanting to play with it when s/he is done with it. When we started making that shift, the kid that had to wait sometimes needed assurances that s/he would get a turn eventually and sometimes needed an activity with me to distract themselves with waiting. They don't usually struggle with that anymore, but in the beginning it was hard.
  10. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    We've had this issue, too.  For things we have two of, we label them for each child, and that solves most of it.  Then if an argument breaks out, we look to see whose it is.  It also taught them to recognize their names very early on, which was a side benefit.
    Bigger things, they have to share and we take turns.  For example, they have a giant Imaginext castle.  They have to share that because it's huge and we simply can't have two of everything.
    Even at 5, they still have some disagreements over things, but now they are usually able to work that out on their own because we've modeled it by taking turns with the bigger things.
  11. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

    It's not a huge deal when you see which child had a toy first. But, as I'm sure you all know, you aren't always watching every move. Suddenly they're fighting over something and there's little I can do other than take it away from both of them if they won't play together.
  12. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    What do you mean when you say it "rarely works"? What are you hoping to achieve or what is the bigger goal for you?

    In the example you gave I would either sportscast and say something like "A had the train. Now B has it. A is upset. I wonder what we could do?" or mediate "A had the train. Now B has it. A is upset. I wonder if he was done his turn? B, let's ask him." When they reach a conclusion/resolution, if someone is still upset then acknowledge, validate, and support. But let them be upset if they are. It's ok if they're angry or sad or otherwise frustrated with the situation - they have the right to feel what they feel. Giving them space to express their feelings is healthy. It also teaches them that big feelings come and go and that they'll be ok.
  13. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    In that case, I usually take the toy away and give the TOY a time out out of reach.  Once they can start to work things out themselves, it will get easier, but 2.5 is a hard age for toys and sharing.
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