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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  mimi trenk 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • September 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm #747

    mimi trenk

    Hi Shifi,

    I have a question regarding my 2 older boys.  My oldest, 5, can be possessive.  Sometimes I try to give my 3 year old something just so he can have something that belongs to him.  But what line should I draw?  How often should I allow my 2nd child be “mevater” to the older one? 

    Small example: we bought a huge bear to put in the 2nd one’s room, just to cozy it up a little.  The older one will come up with any idea to keep the bear either in his own room, or in the basement, so the 2nd doesn’t get it.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:29 am #751

    Key Master

    Hey Mimi!

    Thanks for posting :-)

    You ask a good question, which can be answered on different levels:

    ** We expect a lot from children. Sometimes, I suspect parents expect too much. I’m wondering if the notion of having a big snuggly cute bear in one room and not in the other, is just too much for your 5 year old to handle right now. You began the question by noting that he gets possessive, yet you’re hoping that he’ll be able to deal with this bear not being in his room. It seems like you get disappointed every time he takes the bear, when you know he is going through a possessive stage (I’m also curious how you deal with that feeling of disappointment). I’m wondering if by him taking away the bear and coming up with many different clever ideas to get this bear out of his brother’s room is his way of sending you a message of “Mom, this is simply too hard for me! You are expecting too much from me!” So I ask you to think about this: Could this just too hard for him right now? Perhaps we can pay attention to the real messages he is trying to send us while he takes away the bear…

    ** Also, you expressed that you’re older son is possesive. Yet, you bought a bear for your younger one so that he can have something that belongs to only him. It almost sounds like you’re breeding possessiveness! From my understanding, your younger is not (yet) possessive- so he probably doesn’t even mind sharing his bear! But it seems to me again, like your 5 year old is getting tested, on the exact trait he’s having a hard time with. Also, how do you think this might be affecting his self-esteem of not rising to the occasion? Something to think about.

    ** If your 3 year old son does not actually Want to give in to his older, but does so out of fear or out of feeling helpless, then I believe you are using the word “mevater” incorrectly and we’d have to deal with each kid differently, depending on what’s really going on.

    ** It is an important premise to remind yourself to stay out of your sons fights, to the extent that it’s possible. Many have said that sibling rivalry is caused by children wanting to get parent’s attention and fighting for their love, and by you choosing one over the other and directing one “to give it back” or asking “was that nice?” is in essence proclaiming your love for one son over the other (that is how they hear it). Unless it’s a consistent “bully situation,” it is actually better that you stay out of their fights. You can distract them or re-direct them to another activity, but be careful that your responses to them about the current situation should be relatively equal.

    ** You mention in your question that you essentially have the power to “allow or not allow” your 3 year old to give in. As much as I’m ‘in favor’ of parents being in control, your son is developing a warm and generous personality, even if it’s the result of an “older brother syndrome.” I wouldn’t fight his nature! He’s going to make a woman very happy one day!! In fact, I’d make a big deal about his giving nature and positively reinforce that behavior so he feels accomplished and sees that this behavior is actually praiseworthy and worth continuing (and also hopefully your other son will watch and learn this beautiful skill).

    **Additionally, I know it’s hard for us moms, but you need to differentiate yourself from your son. Although he’s only 3, he’s making his own decisions- and should be!- regardless of what you allow. Natural consequences should shape him, but it’s a healthy process for him to make his own decisions (in this case to be mevater or not)…

    Was this at all helpful to you? Please let me know :-)

    P.S. I found this on http://www.thefreedictionary.com as i was looking up how to spell “possessiveness”. Am I the only one who sees the irony? Just a cute coincidence ;-)

    pos·ses·sive (p-zsv)
    1. Of or relating to ownership or possession.
    2. Having or manifesting a desire to control or dominate another, especially in order to limit that person’s relationships with others: a possessive parent.
    3. Grammar Of, relating to, or being a noun or pronoun case that indicates possession.
    n. Grammar

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 6 months ago by  Shifi.
    October 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm #803

    mimi trenk


    You definitely made some interesting points.  I think the point that I need to mostly remember (and it’s so hard to do!) is to really stay out of it as much as possible.  You’re right, so let the younger one share as long as he wants to.  Stay out of it as much as possible.

    And about the “possessive parent” thing…oh boy! :)

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