When I dropped Sam off at nursery the other day, it took a while to distract him enough that I could slip out. When the distraction came, it was in the form of cars--which he promptly began fighting over with another child. I wanted to intervene and make him play fair, but I didn't want to insert myself back into the situation since I was trying to leave unnoticed. I mentioned that there were some sharing issues to one of the nursery leaders who responded, "Oh, we just let the kids work things out for themselves." I chuckled and then realized she was serious. One year olds? For themselves? Are you insane? On reflection, I could see the wisdom in this. I can't be there all the time to enforce truth and justice among the toddlers, and therefore he's going to have to learn the people skills to resolve disputes with his peers. I just didn't expect it to come so early. But, I guess, why not?
So, today when I was in the library and Sam kept stealing a toy from another child, my inclination was to intervene. The kid's mother didn't seem to mind, and the kids worked it out. But I realized I get annoyed when other parents don't intervene. When one kid bullies another, are we supposed to stand back and let them sort it out for themselves? I think I would err on the side of making Sam too nice--not stand up for himself. I would make him share with others, but never demand that they share with him. And this is equally inappropriate.
So, does anyone have advice for this clueless dad on how to be a toddler arbiter?