Parenting

Trading Toys With Friends: Do You Let Your Kids?

Cynthia Dermody
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dogs fighting over toys

Photo by andrea1011

My 6 year old is into Bakugans, those Japanese fighting warriors in the shape of little balls that pop into figures with legs, arms and claws when you do as they are designed and drop them on magnetic cards, but even if you purposely hurl them at the hardwood floor or wall, which is mostly what happens around my house.

The other day, I saw Aidan stuffing one of his new Bakugan figures, a really cool black one with lots of spikes that my son loves, into his backpack to take to school.

"No toys in school, buddy, you know the rules."

"But I'm not going to play with it, I'm going to give it to Ben. Ben's going to give me one of his."

I was thrown, much like a Bakugan. Up to now it's been a struggle to get my son to share anything with anybody (especially his sister).

But now I remember that this is the age where sharing really kicks in, the point when children start to value their friends as much or more than their possessions, which is why they are more willing to share. Developmentally, the experts says, a toddler tends to view his possessions as an extension of his own self, thus the reluctance to give up part of himself.

Suddenly I remember an Elmo book I used to read to my son when he was little. In the book, about Elmo's first day of preschool, another kid cons Elmo into trading his brand new pencil box for a banged up toy truck with no wheels. Elmo does it out of a feeling of wanting to be accepted, afraid that his new "friend" won't like him if he doesn't make the trade.

My son is just like Elmo. He's a friendly, outgoing kid, but pleasing others and being accepted is a little too important to him. I pictured him coming home with a well-loved (thrown?) warrior ball with missing or defective limbs, so the mama bear in me confiscated my son's Bakugan.

Maybe we should attach a caveat to all those "make sure you shares" we utter during toddlerhood. Something to think about!

 

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