Ask Maggie: Advice on Learning to Share

July 3, 2018

Dear Maggie,

So, this happened. My son is 3 and an only child. We were at a friend's birthday party and the kids were all playing with a set of trains. My son gathered up ALL of the trains in his arms and wouldn't let anyone else play with them. I intervened, of course, and he had a complete meltdown. We quickly left so as not to disrupt the other child's birthday party. Without any siblings, I'm afraid my son will never learn to share! What can I do?

Dear Train Grabbers Mom,

 We the jury find the defendant a pain in the booty but… NOT GUILTY!  

Let’s go easy on him for now and assume that like most things toddler and preschool age, this too shall pass.  Then you’ll think it has passed only to be proven wrong.  It’s the beauty of parenting.  It’s meant to always keep you on your feet, literally and figuratively!  

Before you know it, he’ll soon be in 8th grade.  He won’t dare snatch up anyone’s beloved mechanical pencils or calculators in bulk format and run down the hall squealing with glee.   Those types of problems tend to solve themselves via peer assistance.  The worst and sometimes best judges in the world.

However, until then you are the judge and pretty much the jury!  I’m here to tell you that you did a great job!  Whether you have one child or more than one (like crazy me), as a parent it’s our jobs to remain consistent, fair and firm.  You did just that and for me would have been a parental role model at that party.  No one wants to be the mom who can’t handle her kid or worse chooses not to even try.  Note to everyone -- don't be #thatmom.

Continue to offer opportunities for socializing with his peers.  Seek out interactions that offer the chance to model good behavior and social skills.  A birthday party is loud, fun, full of cake and maybe not the best chance for your little one to learn.  

But a one on one playdate, sure thing!

Keep at it, don’t fret too much and give yourself a big old Maggie self-high five because you did great!  Remember how?  Two hands in front and SLAP together.

Because you rock!


P.s.  If the trains were Thomas The Tank Engine trains then it’s a whole nother story.  No one should have to share Thomas. (Just kidding!)

About Maggie:  I'm a mom of three, master of none and all of my insights come from experience and personal opinion, so feel free to take what you like and leave what you don't 'cause truthfully, I don't know any more than you do.