Dealing with Your Kid’s Possessiveness


“Mine! No, he can’t contact that!” Does this sound acquainted? No worries. Of their early years, kids frequently undergo levels of possessiveness that may appear completely unreasonable and excessive. They are going to need the whole thing their sibling or peer displays pastime in and take a look at to take it. They do not want to proportion.

On this episode, Janet explains why this conduct in fact is smart and what we will be able to do to lend a hand children go via those levels readily and in a wholesome way. She illustrates by way of addressing a query from a guardian about his 5-year outdated’s incessant impulse to offer protection to his territory and possessions from his child brother. Whilst he and his spouse attempt to take care of an figuring out, respectful method to the conduct by way of acknowledging his emotions and his area, they’re at a loss for words by way of their son’s calls for which appear unreasonable and ceaselessly nonsensical. Worse, he can act aggressively towards his sibling, which is alarming. Janet provides explicit recommendation and verbal examples for dealing with “mine” and different controlling conduct between siblings and friends.

Transcript of “Dealing with Your Kid’s Possessiveness”

Hello, that is Janet Lansbury. Welcome to Unruffled.

Nowadays I’m going to be responding to a guardian who requested about their kid’s possessiveness. And one form of common bit of recommendation that this rings a bell in my memory of is that a ravishing means to determine what’s happening with our youngsters and what they want from us and the best way to lend a hand conduct shift, or a minimum of realize it, is to believe ourselves in our kid’s footwear. Reminding ourselves that our babies are new to the sector, the whole thing is recent. They don’t have those preconceived notions about now not sharing, possessiveness, stealing, all of these items. They don’t perceive what any of that is. And that is to their receive advantages, in fact, that they don’t have these kinds of judgments of their head about how different kids are meant to behave, how they’re intended to act.

Sure, they want our steerage, evidently. But when we will be able to information from a spot of that roughly empathy or creativeness—in point of fact, it’s us imagining what it’s love to have this recent viewpoint that they’ve—that’s how we’ll be capable of be really attuned to them. To in point of fact see them and lend a hand them really feel the relaxation of being observed.

So with that creation, right here’s the query I gained in an e mail:

Expensive Janet,

In recent times, my spouse and I’ve been suffering with the best way to take care of a deferential way when our 2.5-year-old protests our six-month-old taking part in with and even touching anything else that’s now not explicitly designated for him.

Every time the infant touches, say, the wall or the kitchen desk or the basket of clothespins, his older brother yells, “No, that’s my wall!” or “The child’s too little to play with that. He can’t play with that!” We try to stick unruffled and recognize that he doesn’t need his brother to the touch the ones issues. And in addition let him know that the wall or desk or no matter it’s is for the entire circle of relatives and that the infant’s in fact sufficiently old to play with clothespins (they’re the plastic, non-pinching type). Our older son most often accepts this with chagrin, however in some other few moments, it’s a brand new protest over a brand new merchandise.

Every so often when he discovers the infant touching one thing, he’ll run over and try to pull the infant away bodily, his lips pursed with aggression. We intrude as briefly as imaginable and restrain him, pronouncing, “I received’t mean you can harm your brother.”

We’ve drawn a line for his personal toys, acknowledging that they’re certainly his, and that he has a cheap expectation that the infant now not contact them if he doesn’t need him to. When the infant starts to roll eagerly towards one in every of his toys, we trainer our son via transferring the toy out of the infant’s achieve or taking it to his play area we’ve partitioned off in order that he has his personal shelter from his brother. However we don’t need to need to allocate each and every unmarried toy as for one boy or some other. And nor are we able to readily abide our son’s proceeding expectation of the infant’s less-than-equal function within the circle of relatives. However greater than anything else, we don’t need to set our son as much as resent his little brother.

Any recommendation you’ll be able to be offering could be nice.

K, wow, those oldsters are being extraordinarily respectful and delicate and they’ve numerous empathy. In point of fact they’re doing a exceptional process, and I like that they’re being so thoughtful of this case.

Right here’s what I’d upload: When their son says these items, I’d take into accout one thing that I assume may just more than likely be the name for this podcast: consider the emotions. What I’m listening to here’s one thing that I enjoy with little toddlers in my categories and when my very own kids had been little. I pay attention so much about this from oldsters that I seek advice from. And that’s, by way of the way in which, the explanation that I select positive questions. I select them as a result of they bring about up a theme or a query that I’m listening to about from a lot of different assets, messages in social media, oldsters I paintings with in consultations or in my categories. I notice that those are not unusual issues, and so it sort of feels that they’d be excellent to proportion at the podcast.

I’ve to mention, I roughly love that this boy goes to the level that this guardian is pronouncing he doesn’t need the infant to the touch the wall or the desk. As a result of this makes it so transparent to me. It makes it so transparent that that is completely past reason why. I imply, there’s no query, proper? It doesn’t make sense. And what that implies is that it’s now not going to make sense. That those are emotions, now not info, that he’s expressing in regards to the scenario. That he has a child brother, and the infant got here and took over his complete existence and altered it together with his oldsters. And moved him a bit bit out of being the middle of the circle of relatives, which he was once used to. And that may be very horrifying and painful. So he doesn’t in point of fact need him to be right here in positive moments. Simply don’t contact the wall. That’s my wall. This was once my complete area, those are my oldsters, that is my the whole thing. And right here’s this child short of to the touch issues, and it’s consultant of the way he’s invaded my existence.

And ceaselessly this additionally occurs in categories with kids and their friends. If a kid has a child at house that the guardian has added to the circle of relatives, then it’s very most likely that I’m going to abruptly see a transformation of their conduct, that they develop into extra possessive with different kids. They’re in that preserving on mode as a result of they really feel their position of their house slipping away. In order that they’ll say mine!, they would like the whole thing that each and every different kid has, occasionally. And do they in point of fact need the ones issues, the ones specific issues? I don’t assume so. I believe they need to specific, I’m feeling scared or anxious or unsettled. I’m short of to keep watch over issues. I’ve misplaced keep watch over of what I knew of my existence how it was once.

This may additionally occur for developmental causes. When kids are toddler-age and different kids come to their area and so they don’t need the ones kids to the touch the whole thing. It’s now not that they’re appearing that they’re imply, egocentric brats. They’re appearing that they’re experiencing a sense of feeling out of keep watch over of one thing that they’re used to having keep watch over over: their house, their toys. Now someone else is right here and I’m dropping keep watch over. And if we acknowledge how briefly and fully little toddlers are growing those first 3 years. Youngsters expand extra within the first 3 years than they do in the entire leisure in their years of existence put in combination.

So it is a time we will be able to have that impulse to need to grasp onto one thing, anything else. The whole lot’s converting, with out even having a brand new child within the circle of relatives. A baby’s existence can really feel like, Gah! I need to grasp onto issues. I would like anchors. And that’s why they want us such a lot to be an anchor and, if imaginable, to not be reactive together with them. Additionally they get pleasure from having a predictable regimen, which isn’t an excessive amount of stimulation, now not a brand new magnificence on a daily basis. They’re maximum relaxed in what we may imagine dull, predictable, regimen days. Why? As a result of there’s one thing there they are able to grasp onto.

My level is that there are numerous causes that kids really feel like this, and fairly than judging them, as we may need to in those moments, or seeking to communicate to them about what’s cheap, what is smart, No, this isn’t your toy, and That is the wall that holds up our area, it’s everyone’s wall. I will surely perceive the urge to need to give an explanation for the ones issues, however that’s now not in point of fact addressing what’s happening right here. What’s happening is our kid simply short of to mention, I need this. I don’t need him to have it. That is mine. I need to grasp onto these kinds of issues and feature all of them.

With the intention to lend a hand our kid really feel extra relaxed and glad and healed, expressing those emotions, all we need to do is in fact what this guardian is doing, which is recognize him. Recognize that he doesn’t need the infant to the touch the ones issues. That’s it, that’s the easiest reaction. We don’t want to give an explanation for what’s cheap, and what I strongly imagine that this kid already is aware of, which is that the wall or the desk or no matter is for the entire circle of relatives, the infant is certainly sufficiently old to play with this sort of clothespin. That is the tendency that comes up for many people. As oldsters, we wish to give an explanation for it, the way in which we’d to an grownup or an older kid. Let me inform you what’s true. And it appears like if shall we simply persuade him and reason why with him, he’ll see what a foolish factor this is to mention. However it’s foolish as it’s an impulsive, emotional factor to mention. I imagine whilst adults, we will be able to say issues we don’t in point of fact imply as a result of we’re expressing a sense within the second. Smartly, more youthful kids do that much more. So I’d simply persist with acknowledging, welcoming him to really feel like that.

After which, as a result of he’s tell us that he would possibly come to a decision he’s going to push his brother clear of that wall or take his hand off the wall or do one thing else bodily, we’re in a position to forestall that. In order we’re pronouncing, “You don’t need him to the touch the wall,” we’re in a position to lightly intrude if we wish to. After which if he tries to do one thing bodily together with his brother as a result of he doesn’t need him to the touch the wall, that’s after we say, “You in point of fact don’t need him to the touch the wall, and I will’t mean you can transfer his hand. I’m now not going to mean you can prevent him,” whilst we’re blocking off him with our hand. “However I pay attention you. You don’t like him touching that.” And if the infant’s expressing one thing then, that’s wholesome. We recognize that too. That’s it. That’s all we need to do.

The opposite advantage of this: now not handiest does our kid get to specific what they wish to specific to us and feature us settle for it in a non-judgmental, completely accepting means, the way in which that they in point of fact can really feel heard and understood and now not judged. We’re now not handiest giving them that, however we’re additionally now not winding ourselves up. As a result of after we’re seeking to reason why with any person that isn’t expressing cheap issues, they’re expressing those flashes of emotion, unreasonable issues, we’re going to wind ourselves up. As it’s a irritating endeavor, proper? It’s now not going to get us any place. That’s additionally what I like about this enjoy that this guardian shared. They were given to peer that it doesn’t lend a hand, as a result of what did their son do? Smartly, they are saying he “most often accepts this with chagrin, however in some other few moments, it’s a brand new protest over a brand new merchandise.” So sure, that’s what makes it so transparent that it’s emotions, now not info.

One of the crucial many causes I like kids this age is as a result of they’re so transparent that means. It’s so excessive, proper? One of the vital stuff that they are saying that we understand it’s now not intended to be a cheap reality. Small children are very simple. They simply wish to specific it. So if I will’t specific it with you right here and also you’re simply now not getting it and also you’re now not listening to me, now I’ve the impulse to stay seeking to specific it in in a different way, to do one thing else. You’re now not letting me specific it. And once more, the extra unreasonable those feedback are, the extra we will be able to really feel positive that they’re the usage of this as a self-therapy, which is what kids do. They’re now not pondering consciously, I wish to inform my oldsters that I don’t like this child in my area. However that’s what their subconscious is telling them to do.

You might have heard or learn someplace that after little toddlers say, “Mine, mine!”, mine approach numerous issues that it could now not imply to us. It approach I need it, I find it irresistible, I would like it, I believe like having it, or I don’t need him to have it. It doesn’t imply that my oldsters purchased this on the retailer for me. Youngsters aren’t pondering of it that means. They’re very within the second with the sensation, and so they’re pronouncing it to specific one thing in that second. They’re now not pronouncing what’s true factually, however expressing one thing.

So proceeding with the main points from this notice, occasionally when their son discovers the infant touching one thing, “he’ll run over and try to pull the infant away bodily, his lips pursed with aggression.” There’s that man entering my stuff and he’s taking on my area. He’s taking on my oldsters. I need to keep watch over this man. Which could also be the explanation kids need to take the entire toys clear of a child. It makes numerous sense, proper? This child ripped my existence away. Possibly if I simply keep watch over each and every unmarried factor he does, then I’ll really feel higher about him. He received’t be a danger.

Youngsters really feel this. It’ll flare up at other occasions for every kid in several techniques possibly, nevertheless it’s roughly a grieving procedure. And the way in which we grieve about any given scenario has its personal existence and its personal procedure. As an example, we may cross to our pal’s funeral or our circle of relatives member’s funeral, and we’re now not even crying then. And we surprise, must we be crying? What’s flawed? I don’t really feel unhappy presently. However then possibly some random factor occurs, we see one thing, we pay attention one thing. And abruptly, we’re bawling. That is how kids grieve this loss, this alteration of their existence. There’s this new particular person form of pushing them apart. The emotions come after they come.

That’s why oldsters will ceaselessly proportion with me their issues that, simply randomly, the older kid is lashing out on the child. It doesn’t make sense. No, it doesn’t make sense. And that’s why I urge oldsters to take a look at now not to pass judgement on their kids in those scenarios, as a result of they’re grieving and so they’re doing it in an overly immature, messy means. And sure, they want our lend a hand to not do flawed issues, but when shall we let the little issues they are saying and the ones emotions that don’t make sense cross by way of and simply recognize them, they get via it extra briefly and with out the resentment that this guardian says they’re anxious about.

So in the event that they’re simply taking toys a couple of occasions, I’d permit that, if it’s now not this rampant factor that the kid assists in keeping doing. After which I’d prevent them to lend a hand that kid, whether or not it’s with a sibling or a peer, that’s once I would say, “You need that one too, that he’s preserving? I’m going to forestall you right here, as a result of it sort of feels you’re roughly caught doing this over and over again.” With out judgment, we lend a hand. However him expressing such things as, “I don’t need him touching this or that,” we will be able to let that cross by way of, simply validating.

But if he’s operating over there, sure, I’d attempt to recover from there. I don’t know that I’d run except it was once in point of fact an emergency. As a result of coming nearer with that calm reaction, simply strolling over there at a pleasant, brisk tempo possibly, and attempting to not run except it’s an emergency, is helping us to show a extra accepting, calm, non-judgmental angle. As an alternative of telegraphing, Wow, you’re doing one thing in point of fact urgently horrible right here that I believe I will’t maintain except I prevent you in an instant! Despite the fact that we don’t imply that, that’s roughly the way it comes throughout, that my guardian isn’t assured of their management right here and that I’m doing those in point of fact horrible issues.

And the tone that’s useful to create is extra of a relaxed, secure tone. Hmm, I’m going to peer. I don’t need you to the touch him that means. That’s a bit too laborious. After which blocking off accordingly. So if there’s just a little of one thing happening, if it’s now not hitting or completely grabbing in an unsafe means, if he’s simply possibly touching his hand a bit more or less, then I more than likely wouldn’t even say, “I received’t mean you can harm him.” That’s form of pronouncing the most obvious, proper? At that time, I’d simply say, “Hmm, that’s a little bit an excessive amount of.” And I’d have my hand there. “I see. You don’t need him touching that in any respect. You’re now not liking him touching that. Hmm, yeah, that’s a little bit too laborious. I’m going to wish to prevent you there. You didn’t like that. You didn’t need him to do this.”

So the ones roughly issues display that we’re now not perceiving the whole thing as this large emergency. We’re projecting that calm self belief that may be so vital and useful to our youngsters. And to us, for the reason that extra we’re in that zone, the extra we see how useful it’s and the extra self belief we really feel in ourselves, and due to this fact, it could possibly develop into a herbal means that we have got with our youngsters. It’s all about the way in which we’re perceiving this. Hmm, he’s entering a bit little bit of bother there, I higher cross lend a hand. As an alternative of, Ugh, there he’s doing it once more! I were given to forestall him.

After which possibly in the event that they in point of fact wish to be separated as a result of our older kid assists in keeping going again and he can’t prevent himself and he will get in a rage, or he’s simply so misplaced in his impulses, dysregulated, then yeah, then I’d separate them. However every time imaginable, I’d do one thing a lot smaller, the least factor. Do much less, as a result of that provides the message that we’re now not freaked out by way of his conduct.

This guardian says “We’ve drawn a line for [their son’s] personal toys, acknowledging that they’re certainly his, and that he has a cheap expectation that the infant now not contact them.” Sure, in order that’s excellent to do. And I believe it could lend a hand to mention extra like, “If you wish to stay the ones issues clear of him, right here’s some way to do this.” Possibly making much less of a deal about these items are yours and these items aren’t yours, which is able to roughly feed into that possessive conduct with out us that means to. Once more, as a result of this logical a part of the placement, that’s in point of fact now not what that is about.

And that can lend a hand with what this guardian mentions later within the notice, which is: “We don’t need to need to allocate each and every unmarried toy as for one boy or the opposite. And nor are we able to in point of fact abide by way of our son’s proceeding expectation of the infant’s less-than-equal function within the circle of relatives.” So there it appears like the oldsters may well be veering a bit bit into seeking to stay issues so equivalent at this level. And in reality, with kids, the whole thing isn’t equivalent. I in point of fact love how that is expressed in Siblings With out Contention, that superb ebook. I stored it on my bedside desk for years. One of the crucial views that it provides is that the whole thing isn’t going to be equivalent with siblings, however everybody’s going to get what they want. So if you wish to have 10 Playstation, our older kid, and the infant handiest wishes two Playstation, that’s the way it’s going to be. It’s now not, Smartly, he were given this many, so he has to get that many. I discovered this concept to very a lot resonate and be true and useful.

This child was once born into an overly other scenario than his older brother was once, with the entire pleasure and the bonuses of getting a sibling. However there’s additionally some, I don’t know, I assume I don’t even assume a child thinks of it that means, however possibly negatives to that, or some issues that there’s simply much less of. There’s much less time on my own to be the only with the entire toys, possibly there’s much less one-on-one time. However the trade-off —and the infant doesn’t know any other— is that this wonderful daily social enjoy with someone else, this thrilling particular person. Many people have spotted that our young children, they know the variation between a kid and an grownup, and so they’re a lot more within the kids numerous the time. They roughly illuminate. And if toys are taken clear of the infant and we haven’t made a fuss about it or been too judgmental, then it’s in point of fact now not a large deal to them. Maximum of them don’t thoughts it in any respect. No person desires the stuff up to they would like the eye of the opposite kid or the eye of the guardian.

And sure, seeing it this manner additionally is helping us as it makes for lots much less paintings for us relating to, K, that is yours and that is yours, and Who had it first?, and all of that stuff. That may be laborious to decipher now and then, particularly after we’re speaking about kids taking part in with friends. That’s now not our process. Neither is it useful to our youngsters as they’re studying social behaviors, continuously being the police or the referee that’s in there. And as a substitute in point of fact trusting much more that kids can determine these items out numerous the time, possibly to not our belief of the way it must be, however to their liking, to one thing that satisfies them. However sure, if one thing’s nonstop, he assists in keeping taking each and every toy clear of the infant, then I’d say one thing mild, a bit tip, and possibly prevent him. “You’ve taken a few issues. Let’s let him stay that one.” No longer in a judgmental means. We’re nonetheless on either one of your aspects and we’re simply training either one of you to navigate this courting.

That’s the way in which that we get this want that this guardian expressed. It’s the similar that I indubitably had and I imagine all oldsters have. We don’t need to set our kid as much as resent their sibling. That is the way in which to do this. We needless to say you’ve were given those impulses. We perceive they’re now not cheap. We’re going to forestall you while you get too in the market with them, as a result of we’re on either one of your aspects. That’s how we give our youngsters the chance to in point of fact expand a mutually respectful courting and lend a hand our older kid not to resent a sibling. Or resent us, or really feel that we don’t perceive and that his emotions are flawed and that he must someway proper them. None people can proper our emotions. We will paintings on our behaviors, the way in which that we specific our emotions, however the emotions are simply there. We simply have them. They don’t make sense numerous the time.

Once more, I ceaselessly see those scenarios with now not simply siblings, however with friends pronouncing, “mine, mine!”, taking toys. And as oldsters, we need to say, “Smartly, no, that in fact isn’t yours,” and we need to ensure that they get this proper. However what’s much more vital is to consider them to only vent the sensation, the short-term feeling. I’m preserving that, I don’t need him to carry that. That’s all they’re pronouncing. They’ve were given that. It appears attention-grabbing of their fingers. I need it. And when no person has it, when it’s to be had, it’s ceaselessly now not as attention-grabbing.

That is very similar to pronouncing “proportion” to an overly younger kid. They don’t in point of fact know precisely what this implies with buddies. We will give an explanation for “proportion” by way of the usage of it in our behaviors with our youngsters. Right here, let’s proportion this umbrella so that you don’t get rainy. Or, I’ve some further carrots right here. Do you want me to proportion them with you? Or, Thanks for sharing the ones with me. That’s how kids discover ways to proportion, now not by way of it being demanded in scenarios the place it approach giving one thing up that they would like.

Know that these kind of awkward behaviors are impulses. They’re now not cheap ideas that they’ll needless to say they shouldn’t do if we simply communicate to them about it extra. And the extra in the market the conduct is, the extra you’ll be able to consider that. Once more, serving to our youngsters really feel secure with all their emotions is in point of fact all we need to do.

I am hoping that is useful. And there’s much more details about those concepts and lots of, many extra on my web page and in my books, No Unhealthy Youngsters and Raising Kid Care. And in my No Unhealthy Youngsters Grasp Direction, in case you in point of fact need to deep dive. That offers you the whole image and is helping you internalize this way. Move to

Thanks once more for listening. We will do that.



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