40 answers

Neighbor Child Wanting to Trade Toys

The neighbor child is a very aggressive little boy that I do not much enjoy, but I put up with him because my older son thinks of him as his "best friend".

I found out that he recently traded a tiny piece of Lego for my son's entire Lego set that he just received for his birthday! This made me upset, and upset my son as well when he found out he could not get it back. He couldn't even trade back because he had by that time lost the original tiny piece of Lego. This involved a lot of crying since my son had to realize and learn that he can't just trade things away and expect to have them come back - EVER. Learning experience, I thought. I also told my son that he could no longer remove toys from our house without mom or dad's permission.

This morning, the neighbor boy came back and I thought he was here to play. He said "oh no, I am ready to trade" to my younger son. I said "trade what?" It turns out he was going to trade cars. He had been here playing and decided we had nicer, fancier Hot Wheels (his words) and he wanted them, so he arranged a trade with my younger son (who is 4) because he knew he was not allowed to trade with the older son.

I feel like this child takes advantage of my children and their lack of understanding of trading. He is trading his ugly old junk toys for nice new toys. Part of it is the maturity level (he is 15 months older than my older son).

My question is - do I let it go on so my kids learn "the hard way" or do I just tell them no trading? What would you do? I do not want to take the joy out of my kids thinking they got something new and fun as well...but...I felt the entire Lego set was a bit much and not at all fair.

FYI, I do limit their exposure to this boy. I just cannot stand his aggressive behavior and so we see him a minimum of time.

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the great responses! I am glad you all gave me such great suggestions. I hadn't really thought I should take it up with his mother about the Lego set because my son had lost his "little Lego piece" part of the trade...and due to my personal convictions about fair play, I felt that the trade could not be un-done fairly unless my son had the actual piece of Lego to trade back.

This all came to a head this afternoon when the little neighbor boy showed up at our door with a green bag, ready to fill it up with Bionicles! (He didn't even bring anything to trade...sheesh!) I marched right over to his house and explained to his mother very nicely what had been happening. He hid behind her the entire time, and so he got to hear it all too. I explained that when my 6yo son was not allowed to trade with him (an 8yo), he had circumvented it by going to my 4yo son. I explained that he had heard from me four times that trading was not allowed, and heard from my husband two times that trading was not allowed, YET he still continues to show up. I explained about the original Lego set trade and how it had not been fair from our perspective. She asked her son if he had returned the original Lego set, and said that he had not. I told her that was fine, I did not expect it back and that it was a learning lesson to my son to not trade in the future.

She had no idea it was going on, what our house rules are, and she even told me her son was "sneaky" at times, and he was NOT allowed to trade toys! It really was eye-opening. I feel so much better and less upset about the entire situation. And I don't think he will be showing up here expecting to trade any more.

This boy does not attend the same school as my son, so that is helpful in the friend department as we head into September. I know that I will be very happy to see my son with his "school friends" outlet again!

Featured Answers

I would definitely put a stop to the "trading." We have a similar situation. My daughter is 4 and we have a very aggressive neighbor girl who is 6 and isn't nice to my daughter at all, but keeps coming over and asking to play with her. Ugh. Good luck.

More Answers

Kristen - I would have done a few things differently. First of all, I would have gone over to that little boys house and demanded the cool new toy back. I am not about to spend money on something for my son to foolishly trade it away. And, it would have clued the OTHER mother in on what was going on as well and let the boy know that he couldn't get away with that.
Second, the minute that little boy came to my house and said he was there to trade again I would have put him in his place. "Nope Johnny, we don't trade toys at this house. You are welcome to play, you are NOT welcome to trade. If I hear or see that mentioned again I will have to ask you to go home."
You didn't mention how old your kids were, but if the child was crying and crying because he couldn't get a toy back that he didn't realize was not coming back, I really think you should re-think that. Go back to the boys house and get it back. Trading is something young children just don't get.
Good luck, L.

6 moms found this helpful

OH NO _-- you protect your little innocents from a greedy little boy who is using his experience, age, and sneakiness to get nice stuff for old stuff--- you make a house rule - if this boy reads - you post a short sentence '''' NO TRADING OF TOYS FROM OUR HOUSE'' with a picture of one of your kids handing over a toy--- with a circle and a line ---my 4 year old grandaughter recognizes that symbol as meaning ''' no (whatever is in the circle)--- -- NO WAY -- do you let this happen even once more --- this boy needs to learn that adults don't approve of his behaviour and that they will put a stop to it- that will help HIM, Too--- yikes.

And good for you for putting limits on the child's presence--- if he improves his behaviour--you might tell him '''you played so nicely today-- perhaps we can have you over more --- if things go well-''' -- he needs to learn that sneakiness and greediness don't work.

Stick to your standards - K.-- good for you.

J.- aka- Old Mom

4 moms found this helpful

There is no learning in a negative situation, only more pain. You must bring a constructive element to the interaction or bring it to a stop. Your children deserve to have decent children to play with and not to be treated poorly. This can be a life long set up if not addressed. Too often in the name of being nice or polite we teach our children to be victims.

Talk with the child's parent. If the parent is agreeable to bring in a fair resolution and use this as an opportunity to be compassionate, then there is a possibility that the child can mature and become a decent playmate.

I would explain to my children that people who treat others unfairly should not be playmates. I would put a ban an all trading of toys. Your children need your protection here to learn how to deal with the world.

This situation requires more strength and clarity than politeness, you don't have to be rude but you would be setting a good example by being clear and direct about what is right and what is wrong. Manipulation is never right and if we sit quietly by it will flourish in our children's lives.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

I would ask the neighbor child if he thought the Lego trade was fair & why he thought that. I would tell him how it was unfair and there is a no trading rule for the whole house. If he can't follow that I would send him home. I would talk to his mom and let her know what has been going on and what your house rule is. You need to protect your children from others taking advantage of them. I wouldn't loan your toys to others either but have a rule that your children's toys belong in your house only for playing there. I would supervise the limited playing time rather closely too.

2 moms found this helpful

How old are these boys? If your younger son is 4, I'm guessing the older one is 6 or more. You are the parent here. Your post makes it sound like these are two adults and you have no authority. This is your house, and your son, so you make the rules!

If you don't like what's going on, then you should say, "(Little Neighbor Boy), that's not a fair trade. My son enjoys playing with you and is good at sharing toys, but you are not allowed to take his toys from him for one little lego. You can play nicely here with (Son) and his toys, but you are not allowed to take his toys. And (Son), you are not allowed to give your toys away or trade without asking me or your dad!"

There's no need to go tattling to his mom in that case. My kids' friends have a good understanding of our house rules, and they respect us.

2 moms found this helpful

I understand you want to go about this in a way that fosters growth and understanding, but seriously? This kid is a future politician!! He's milking your kids' kindness and lack of understanding.

Tell this kid that he is no longer allowed to try to trade with your kids. You didn't say how old the neighbor and your older son are, but I'm assuming your kids are too young to understand the concept of trading in a way that allows them to DEMAND fairness.

You've already said you limit their exposure to him--why let him manipulate them when you DO allow exposure to him?!?? If your son is too young to understand the concept of trading, he's also not really "best friends" with this boy... I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Get tough Mama! Tell your kids and him NO TRADING ALLOWED.

If you want your kids to enjoy something "new and fun", take them to Goodwill and let them pick out something. They can bring something they no longer play with... it will feel kind of like a trade!

Oh, and get yourself over to his place and get the lego set back. Seriously, find that "tiny piece" and demand the trade back. The boy knows he didn't do the right thing, your son had tears over it because he didn't understand how it was going to work... it's okay to enter the situation and make it right, as long as your son now understands it cannot happen again.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with others that you little one is definitely too young to learn the lesson by himself and I would just institute a NO TRADING policy for all toys.
If you are on reasonable terms with the boy's parents, talk to them and let them know in a nice way, that your children are not allowed to trade or give away toys or anything else for that matter.
If they are not receptive to your approach you will either need to limit the child's presence in your home or supervise closely.

In turn you could set up an occasional "garage sale/ swap meet" with your boys and invite more children so they can trade toys they really do not want any longer.

2 moms found this helpful

Has it been laid out to the other child? "I think you're taking advantage of my kids; that your trades are unfair. What is your opinion?" If the conclusion you reach after talking to him is that he has mal-intent (which I assume he does - but you can't really know until you ask him outright what he's thinking). Then I would tell him that as their mother it is your job to protect your children from being taken advantage of. If during his explanation you learn he views your kids as his victims then you know he shouldn't be there at all, for any reason. But at least this way you have him thinking about the way he's treating other kids. He may have never had a lesson in empathy and this could be his eureka! moment.

Also, let your kids know that if they lend or trade with someone that they might as well view it as giving it away. We lend out toys from time to time, but if it comes back damaged or not at all we don't end friendships or cry about it. If it was a treasured item it should not be loaned or traded. That's how I view my own belongings as well (books, etc.) Things are things, finding good, fair, caring people (this boy has not proven to be one yet) to share them with is the stuff of life.

2 moms found this helpful

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