In what is surely an anti-Mom move, I don’t make my son share. What is his, is his and what belongs to another is theirs. Personal belongings are just that – personal.
Community objects are another matter. School toys, public playground equipment, family items – these things are not to be claimed as his.
I’ve been trying to make the distinction clear to him. He’s a big boy. If he ever moved toward being a bully, there will be trouble and someone would undoubtedly get hurt.
Mine! is such an issue with so many children that it seemed to make sense to allow Quinn control over some things, in an effort to head off his attempt to claim all things. And the pushy-shovies that come as a result.
So far, it’s been working beautifully. He is respectful of others’ belongings, and returns them when asked to do so. He shares well at school, and offers to play with a child if he still wants the item he’s been asked to share.
And often he shares his own things as well. Because though we tell him he doesn’t have to share, we do tell him that it is nice to share. We emphasize that he will have more playmates if he is willing to share, and that people will be more likely to share with him as well.
As an added bonus, it has taught him patience.
“Mom, can I have some of your cookie?”
“In a minute, buddy. I’ll share when I get done working.”
He knows that if he pesters me, the ‘when I get done’ turns into a ‘no’ instead.
So tonight, I really got what I deserved.
I ran late working, it was nearly 7:00 and I had to take the babysitter home before I could fix dinner. I chose the easy solution.
I picked up the pizza before I took Em home, and let Quinn begin eating as I drove.
And that pizza smelled delicious. It also made me realize I had missed lunch.
“Quinn, can I have a piece of your pizza?”
“No. It’s my dinner.”
“Okay, you can have one piece.”
“Thank you, buddy.” I snaked my arm around back, my hand extended.
“When we get home.”
“Come on, buddy, can I please have a piece now?”
Am I really wheedling a four-year-old?
“Be patient, Mama. I could just eat this for lunch tomorrow.”
Touché, little man.
What to do?
Keep wheedling, and teach him the behavior I am trying to avoid?
Or I could be the bully I don’t want him to be and demand a piece.
Or I could stay hungry and mentally berate myself for my mothering techniques all the way home.
Or . . .
Yeah, I know.