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assertiveness and sharing

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  • assertiveness and sharing

    My daughter is 4yo, an only child. She is very social and generally well adjusted. She eats well and sleeps well. She loves babies and is very gentle. She loves to play with older children, following their lead.

    I have a concern about helping her deal with slightly younger children. 2-3 year olds take things without asking, which is age appropriate. If our daughter says no, they take it anyway. Iím glad to say, she doesnít fight or snatch it away again. Instead, she wails. The tears roll down her cheeks, and the cries pierce my ears. She is genuinely upset. If I try to talk with the other child and ask him or her to share or give it back, it hasnít worked. The child is too young and is confused (and awed) by our daughterís huge reaction. Iíve also tried to distract our daughter with other activities, but she is single minded at this point. She wants the item back, and nothing else will do.

    This type of scenario has happened in multiple environments, with different younger children and different objects. I donít want to suggest to her that she take the desired item back by force. Suggestions?

  • #2
    I agree, her emotions are important and she shouldn't take an object back by force. But you can intervene and be assertive on her behalf. With the younger child, you can tell them, "Oh, I'm sorry! She wasn't done with that yet!" Not asking them to give it back, but telling them, "You can have your turn when she's finished." (especially if she specifically said she wasn't done yet.)

    The fact that your daughter loves babies, knows how to be gentle, and plays well with others shows that she is sensitive to the needs of others. It is difficult for sensitive children to be assertive without being "mean"; they know they shouldn't hit, grab, yell, etc, but don't know how to stand up for themselves in a respectful way.

    You can help demonstrate this by being kind and firm for her. Your kindness and firmness towards others on her behalf will model that she's worth standing up for, and someday she will be able to to it on her own.


    • #3
      My DD can be very emotional, too. I find it most helpful to sit with her through the strong emotions, allow them, offer empathy or sympathy. Then, after the emotion has let itself out, it's easier for us to troubleshoot.

      For example, "wow, you seem so sad that he took your toy!" "yeah!" "are you afraid you'll never get it back?" or "you didn't want to share it?" etc... She typically cries (screams) for 2 or 3 minutes then is done and ready to move on, problem solve, etc.

      I remember posting on our local API group when DD had her very first tantrum and I asked what I could do to prevent it. One mama told me she didn't feel it needed to be prevented, but supported. I read a lot about that and really thought it made sense. I have to say, it has truly amazed me how useful it is to not try to distract or reassure or otherwise *stop* the emotion.