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The other four-letter word

Author Bill Bounds
Submitted 30-03-2011

My wife and I have tried very hard to work with our daughter regarding sharing. Somehow, though, despite our best efforts and our going out of our way to never use this word, her new favorite word has lately become, “MINE!” We truly don’t know where she learned the concept of mine or even the word, but she has grabbed hold of it and is refusing to let go.

I have yet to determine the best way to handle this, but I’ve resorted to removing from her possession anything that she grabs with a strenuous “MINE!” and telling her it’s not hers and she can have it back when she asks nicely. Sometimes, it’s clear to me she’s only pulling the mine-card because she’s in a foul mood and is bent on arguing with me about anything that happens to be within finger’s reach. What’s frustrating to me, beyond the arguments that are bound to follow that first shout of the dreaded new word, is that some of the items she’s insistent are hers I don’t actually mind her having at that moment, but I feel I can’t reward this very negative behavior, so I take it from her and say it’s not hers and she can have it back when she stops yelling and says, “Please.”  

I don’t believe there’s much else to be done to address this very common problem at the age of two-and-change, as more complex concepts and reasons behind social cues are probably not within her repertoire at this moment, but I feel I’m at least laying a good foundation that it’s not acceptable to grab things without asking and that she can’t have everything she wants simply because she demands them.