Thursday, September 10, 2009


Emily was busy stacking blocks, and seeing how high they could go.  This playgroup was a challenging experience for both Emily, and for me, her mom.  She was almost two, and her behavior had never been more difficult.  So as Brandon approached Emily's block tower, I was on edge, waiting for the tantrum.

Sure enough- as soon as Brandon reached Emily's invisible force field of six feet, the shrieking started. Feeling pressure from the other moms, I thought I needed to "do something." I took some of the blocks and gave them to Brandon, saying, "Emily, we need to share with Brandon." Needless to say, the screaming did not decrease in intensity.

What was learned that day?

Emily learned that sharing is a bad thing.  It's a bad word, I don't like sharing, I don't want to share. (It takes awhile to un-learn these things if you have enough of these lessons.)

Maybe Brandon learned that when you want something someone else has, they have to give it to you even if they don't want to.  (That can take some serious un-learning too.)

I learned that I am too easily influenced by my perceptions of what other adults are thinking of ME.  Because I feared the other moms would think I was a bad mom, I made the mistake of forcing my toddler to do something she was not developmentally ready to do.

When Emily was ready to share, she shared. Today, she is a loving and very social twenty-two year old who spends hours creating hand-made birthday cards and gifts for each of her dozens of best friends. She would give anything she has to anyone who wants or needs it.   But when I tried to rush her readiness, I was actually defeating my goals of raising a generous, sharing child.

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