Ownership is a very important concept to most children and the younger they are the more important it is. Obviously if they’re infants and spend the lion’s share of their time on their backs in baby grows staring at the ceiling, possessions aren’t that important unless you’re talking bottles, dummies, boobs and possibly a fluffy toy or two.
My boys are always testing the boundaries regarding the ownership of things. Actually though, for our eldest who’s a little older now, the mine vs. yours is not as important as it once was. Whereas he used to spend his time fighting over playing with toys with his younger brother, he now spends an equal amount of time trying to prevent his brother from playing with a toy. It would seem then that his focus has changed from “It’s mine” to “It’s not yours”, a subtle difference.
He tests us as parents when he thinks he can get away with it, tests his brother non-stop and I’m guessing that he does it at school as well, though possibly to a lesser degree since we haven’t heard any complaints. I’ve explained to him many times that he doesn’t actually own anything in the house, he’s merely the primary user of certain things under my roof and I am in fact the owner (I being the collective I of my wife…and I). If I’m honest, all of these types of discussions with him have ended in tears because he refuses to accept the reality of his situation. I have a feeling he’s going to be the type of person that people describe as being stubborn later on in life. Perhaps he’ll list that trait as one of his areas for improvement on psychometric tests and job interviews, at least then he’ll own it and let’s face it, stubborn people aren’t pushovers.
He’s a good boy, but he’s a thinker. Some things he refers to as ‘mine’, so certain toys obviously, his room, his bear, friends and so on. Other things that he’s less than interested in are ‘yours’ or someone else’s, anyone else’s for that matter, so things like toys he no longer wants to play with. Finally there are things that are ‘ours’ and this is where his genius shines through, these are new toys that his brother has that he’d like to play with They become ‘our ‘ toys and obviously anything that’s ‘ours’ must be shared because that’s a rule of the house. It’s brilliant! Imagine applying that philosophy in your adult life.
I’m going to have to keep a weather eye out for these kinds of things from our eldest at pocket money time or I may just find myself converting the lion’s share of ‘my’ salary into ‘our’ pocket money and doing it of my own volition too.
Something about being able to sell ice to eskimo’s comes to mind…