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Grabbing and running

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  • Grabbing and running

    My toddler (28mo ) has recently started to see something that she wants and will grab it and then as soon as we see or ask her what she has, she'll start crying "It's Mine! It's Mine" and run away. She has also started to run away outside if she thinks we are going to do something different than what she wants (even if we weren't planning on doing anything).

    I try not to "Take" things away from her, but when things are unsafe for her to hold or highly breakable (she's a climbing monkey and gets things that I "think" are out of reach!), I do tell her that I need said item back and I tell her why and offer her a compromise. Usually, I barter for a similar item or something else interesting for her.

    I know that this is normal behavior, but I'm worried that her running away is going to get her hurt because she is not paying attention to where she is going or thinking about what item is in her hands. We have a huge stone hearth fireplace in the center of our house that I don't want her to run into and outside...well, grass is fine, but today she did the run away thing in a parking lot and it scared the heck out of me. Plus, she has started doing this with items that do not belong to us (they might belong to a store or a complete stranger)

    Tonight when she did this again it was with a silly item. The coffee spoon on the counter. After she calmed down from crying, I sat down with her and spoke with her and she told me that she really wanted the spoon. I asked her to next time, just ask Mama for it and if it is safe and okay to have that I'd happily give it to her. And if something wasn't safe or okay, we'd come up with a compromise of something else she might like.

    I think she understood some of this, but I realize she is only a young 2 so, this may have been to much.

    Have any of you dealt with this and if so, how did you handle it? Any suggestions on how I can better handle it?

    Thanks Mamas!

  • #2
    Hmmm. Okay, I may be completely off-base here, but I'll throw out my initial thoughts.

    It seems your daughter is seeing you as someone who will stop her from doing what she wants to do. I remember reading somewhere (was it in the Sears Baby Book in the 'yes environment' section?) to count the number of times in a day that you say 'no'. Even if you're not saying the actual words, how many times per day are you stopping her from doing what she really wants to do? Redirection is still a fabulous tool at this age, but it isn't as simple anymore because she now has the cognitive ability to understand and remember that she is being redirected. So if she feels like she is compromising too much of the time, and not really getting to do what she really wants much of the time, then that might set you up to be someone she wants to run away from in order for her to be able to do what she wants to do. I do not know if this is the case, just purely speculation.

    If this is the case, then the "answer" would be to reposition your relationship with her as someone to come "toward" in order to do things. This isn't an easy answer, though. Since I happen to know you, and I know your daughter, and I know that you have a baby son as well, what worked for me probably wouldn't work as easily for you. So I'm going to throw it out there in hopes that it will spark some alternate ideas from someone in a more similar situation to yours.

    Rather than redirecting as much, at this age we were beginning to teach our daughter "how" to do things. We tried to reserve the "no" (in whatever form) for when it was really, really necessary. Instead, we worked on ways to do things together. So, if she wanted to play with the Tiffany crystal figurine, she needed to sit down and play with it over a pillow. If she wanted to stand on the top of the ladder, she needed to do it while we were standing underneath. If she wanted to hold Grammie's antique doll, she had to sit down next to me and hold it very gently. In this way, we tried to build a relationship where she would want to come to us and show us what she wanted so that we could find a way for her to safely do it. We very rarely said she couldn't touch something or hold something or do something.

    Now, admittedly, this required a huge amount of time and energy, and I spent most of my day helping her navigate her various desires. This would be much more difficult to accomplish in your situation because of the needs of your son. And we were able to control our home environment so that anything truly dangerous or untouchable was in the attic or otherwise out of site. I realize you can't move a fireplace. So, while my gut feeling is to change the relationship, I'm not sure that any of my suggestions really help you.

    Hoping somebody else will jump in here....?


    • #3
      Hey I just found this post!
      I baby sit a timid boy about that age and he doesnt do that.. but a friends child that age really does the grab and run.
      I see a lot of kids do that too.
      I think kids see it as a game and cannot comprehend that it is serious at that age. They see mommy or daddy running and getting all excited--How fun! and they were just sitting there talking and not playing! Here lets play mommy! and that spoon is SOOOO interesting!
      I never chase unless they are running to an unsafe place (out to the street--out in a crowd etc) because if they are in that stage, they just run more and faster! I try to never take even if it is another child's or an adult or whatever....that just shows them that is OK to do. You can put them in the carrier or buckled in the stroller for that if you are in a truly dangerous place....... Its a stage, It'll be over soon!


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses! I've been focusing on trying to give her more attention and trying not to say "no" so often. The grabbing and running behavior has gotten better. She still does it on occasion, but not very often.

        She's really starting to problem solve on her own and it is so cute to see. Just the other day she wanted to go outside but the bugs were horrible, plus it was rainy and yucky out and my DH told her we couldn't go outside because we didn't have any bugspray on, so she says to him as soon as we were inside (we were coming in from the van), "Daddy, go get the bug spray and we go outside!". A very simple solution to my daughter.