What’s Mine is Mine! (And What’s Yours is Mine Too)


© iStockphoto.com/piskota76

When your toddler hits the dreaded "terrible two's," many little things will appear to set them over the edge, emotionally. There are several developmental reasons for this, and chief among them, I feel, is the fact that your two to three year old child is now able to grasp the concept of possessiveness. MINE! Becomes their new favorite word (along with NO! Obviously.) They are proud of this new understanding: This is not just any old bucket. This is MINE! And this is not the team's soccer ball (anymore), it's MINE (because I'm on the team, right?) And this is not the preschool's blue crayon or glue stick, it's MINE, of course, because I'm using it. And I WANT it. So there.

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You can see, when you start to think about how understanding the concept of possessiveness evolves, how a kid can start to latch onto things all of a sudden and have a really, really, REALLY hard time sharing, sometimes. How it can be confusing that some things are theirs, but not always. Or not exclusively. Or not forever. Emotions are all tangled up and understanding is, of course, limited to simple thoughts. The bucket is MINE. And you might be MY friend and I want to play with you but you can't have what's mine. In fact, I also want what's yours to be MINE because I like your stuff too. Your bucket is nice and I could use two, right now, for MY sandcastle.

It can be rough, navigating this stage for moms - staying sane, remaining calm. Keeping your cool. Soothing your crazed, overly-possessive toddler. But when things heat up, just remember this phase of development will pass, as they all do, and try to explain to your toddler as calmly as you can that even if something is theirs, sharing is important, friends are important, and if everyone shares nicely, everyone has more fun together, always. (But moms, at the end of the week when you get a free moment to yourself, hopefully, without your kids, you don't need to share your wine, I promise! Isn't that nice?)

 

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