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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Blessings,
J.- aka- Old Mom

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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.

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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.

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K.,
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sorry your child has been taken advantage of. This is such a painful situation. I haven't seen this approach mentioned yet:

As you describe yourself, you are indeed so blessed. I wonder whether the neighbor boy with the shabby toys and aggressive behavior is blessed, too. It's possible he's not. This is an area where I see our moral principals most severely tried – with our own neighbors.

Of course it's good and healthy to set clear boundaries. And I hope your boundaries will be consistent with whatever spiritual truths you want your children to learn. That people are more important than things? Or, love your neighbor? In the actual, messy, give-and-take of life, what does that mean? That we love our neighbors only when we like how they treat us? The Golden Rule is actually pro-active, not re-active. Forgiving, too, is pro-active. When broken down, it means "giving before," and in that sense it acknowledges that we're all capable of fault and in need of mercy just for being human.

In this case, I see loving this neighborhood child as treating him with tender respect and careful listening. This is not easy, and I haven't always done it well myself, so I'm not casting stones. But consider sitting down with him and asking him what he hoped to achieve with his trade. Asking him how he would like to be treated by others. Asking him if the trade was fair. Telling him that if your son had traded for something of such value, you would have made him give it back. And finally, requesting that the boy return the Legos. Since your son lost the bartered piece, ask him to pitch in – a quarter or a dollar – in its stead for the return of his toys. (A reasonable consequence.)

Then talk to both children together about appropriate boundaries. Be sure they hear in each other's presence the what and why of your household rules. And I love the suggestion other moms have made about setting up neighborhood trading days. It doesn't have to be trades of equal value – all sorts of considerations can come into the valuation. Including simple generosity.

Bear in mind that this boy reflects a combination of upbringing and genes, and is not entirely to blame for the way he is. If he is still very young, he's probably simply acting the way he knows how to act, based on what he sees in his family. I would guess that his parents may not be too receptive if you contact them directly, though you can certainly try. They may be just as shocked as you were by this trade. But even without their cooperation, you can still interact with their child in a way that doesn't label him.

Labels have the unfortunate effect of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. "Bully" now, "delinquent" in high school, "criminal" as an adult. I've seen it happen too often, and it's not loving to the child or to the society of which he's a part. Care and guidance are loving.

An afterthought: the neighbor boy may go home with a story about how YOU bullied HIM. It happens. I see two ways to minimize fallout. (1) Write down your intended conversation ahead of time (this will also help you stay clear during your interaction), and add afterward his answers and anything that didn't go according to plan. Make a video or tape recording of the chat, if you have the tools. That way you are less likely to be yelled at by parents that have never learned a better way. (2) After you talk to him, tell the boy you will talk to or write a note to his parents about everything the two of you said (or invite them to hear the tape/vid). He'll be less likely to confabulate that way.

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In this situation, either one of two things is probably happening - either his mom doesn't know how he is acting and would try to put a stop to it if she did, or she is ok with his behavior. I think it would be good to find out which it is. If it's the first option, then she will put a stop to his behavior without you having to be involved. If it's the second, I think you would be doing this child a favor if you told him that his requests to trade aren't fair.

I have neighbors who don't have enough parental supervision. Lately, I have been telling them when they are behaving badly and explaining why. This is in the hopes that maybe a little more guidance might help them learn a few lessons that their mom is too busy to teach. It seems to be helping a bit.

I don't think you need to let your kids learn hard lessons from a bully. If you tell them not to trade and they do it anyway, then they can learn the hard way. But if they can learn the lesson without having to suffer, I think it's better.

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My advice is to expain to your kids that they should not trade their toys unless Mom or Dad is there for the trade. Trading is a great way to get something different to play with, but while they learn, you and Dad can help them make the final transaction.

There was a post here a couple of months ago where the moms of several kids arranged trade days a few times a year. One parent would host, and the kids would bring things they wanted to trade. All the parents are there and knew what their kids had brought to trade. It has turned into an event that everyone looks forward to. These were older kids and they understood that the value of some things was greater than others, but I know it would work with 5 & 6 year olds as long as the parents are there.

Good Luck.

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Ugh. I HATE this. I really really hate it when people do this. My friends do it with their son, allowing him to "trade" (temporarily...theoretically...but the stuff is always the other child's favorite things traded for stuff their son doesn't like, and if it comes back at all, it's damaged. His parents just want him to be happy and screw anyone else.)

Ugh. HATE this.

Like you, the first time it happened with US, I didn't know about it. The upside was that the trade was for a "week". It was such a pain getting our son's stuff back, that when his friend wanted to trade again, my son wouldn't. Which is "good for kiddo", but really really sad for kiddo, because his toy came back (a triceratops fossil replica that he'd "dug up") it was broken with giant chunks taken out of it. And our "friends" swearing it had been like that when their son took it home. Argh. And when my son wanted it back, the PARENTS kept trying to let him keep it longer. Even when my son had returned their son's thing MONTHS earlier...he STILL didn't have his triceratops back. Argh. Argh. Argh. Hate it.

In the meantime, and since, this boy our neighbor STILL tries to get our son to either out and out give him his stuff...or to "trade". My son learned his lesson alright. He no longer shares with anyone without running down a lengthy list a Jesuit would be proud of. Has gotten really protective of his "things", and has started judging everything that everyone says as a possible lie/trick. Yep. JUST the lessons I wanted him to learn. It's going to take a long time and a lot of work (or a whole bunch of luck at just the right time/place) for me to fix my mistake in how I dealt with the situation, because I was more concerned about keeping the friendship than looking at the longterm effects on my son. Gawd, I hate the live'n'learns.

I fumbled this one badly. And am sooooo still dealing with the fallout. So take everyone else's advice. Put this one right, & be your son's hero.

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First of all, you go talk to the mom and say "Apparently, when your little Johnny was over playing last week, the boys played a trading game. MY little Timmy forgot to get his toys back." Then you tell your kids that no trading is allowed unless it is approved by you. Then tell this little boy next time he comes over that trading games for play are just fine, but when he goes home, he needs to leave the toys that belong to your kids behind. Explain to him that they can trade to play, but no trading for keeps.

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Hi Kristen,
I also agree with Laura. If that happened to my son who just turned six, I would have gone over to the neighbor's house to ask for it back. The other mom needs to know what is going on, regardless if she agrees or not. At least then she will know how you feel. Confrontations are always uncomfortable, but as a parent we are our childs advocate. Learning lesson for your son? Absolutely - but it's still not fair to him since he didn't understand nor to the person who spent the money to give him the gift. Legos are not cheap.

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This happened to me when I was about 7. I was very nieve and thought it would be more like sharing--which we as moms insist on! I still feel bad about being taken advantage of when I thought this person was my friend. A friend would have given back a toy in an unfair trade. This kid is not a friend, he is a user. He sees your kids not as friends to play and laugh with, but your house as a toy store. I agree you should lay down the law to this kid and LIMIT his time with your kids. 15 months does make a big difference at this young age.

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I'd say you've already done the "learning the hard way" thing. I'd say it's time to take action. No more trading, and don't just tell your kids. Tell the neighbor boy too. If he tries to make bad trades for their toys, he's not allowed to come over anymore. He's taking advantage of them, and he's disrespecting you by trying to get around the limits you enforced. It sounds like no one has ever taught this kid about fair play, and he's allowed to do what he wants in order to get what he wants. He needs to start learning to respect other people's feelings and property, and the quickest way to do that is to enforce protection of your sons. If he continues to impose on your sons, then find someone else for your boys to hang out with. Maybe this boy won't mean so much to them if they have other friends to compare him to.

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K., I would absolutely NOT let them learn the hardway. I would go and speak to that childs parents first of all and tell that little boy directly when he comes over to "trade" that your kids are not allowed to trade any of their toys anymore. And make sure that your sons are around when you make this clear to him, and reiterate it to your sons as well. Just keep talking to them in private too about trading and how it isnt fair to trade big for little, or old (and ugly for that matter) for new. Explain how special their toys are and that they were bought at the store just for them. And just keep at it. But talk to that boys parents and let them know your rules and speak to that child when he comes to the door. You dont have to be mean, just firm. Good Luck!

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Such great answers.

I, too, am struggling b/c I have a VERY generous 5-y-o who really wants to share everything with everyone and doesn't realize that he won't ever get the stuff back. We have taught him in church to share his best, such as offering steak to those visiting and not just spaghetti, for example, but it's a very fine line when you're talking about essentially giving stuff away. I know this is a different situation, but the result is the same; a very upset little guy who just gave his stuff away.

Sorry I don't have an answer, just empathy. Hugs to you.

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K.,

I agree with Judy. Put up a very obvious sign that will be absolutely clear to all the kids involved that trading is not permitted in your house. I also agree with you about the Lego's being a good learning experience. My only other suggestion would be to maybe mention to this bully's parents that you don't really appreciate their son taking advantage of you, and your kids', generosity by trying to dupe them into trading their nice new toys for his used and abused ones. You'd probably want to say it a bit nicer than I did here, but you get the idea. :)

Hope this helps,
M.

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I would definitely talk to his mother about this. She would feel awful if she knew he traded 1 lego for a set and hopefully correct the situation immediately. I would be horrified if my kid were manipulating other kids like that! Get the Lego set back for certain.

And, I would tell the boy yourself that there is "no trading" whatsoever. I would also explain to your kids that although your friend is fun to play with, we have a "no trade rule" in our house (or a no trade rule except within your own family).

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Good advice from other mommas -- I'd also contact the little boy's mom and bring it up during the course of the of a conversation about something else (like can this boy stay for lunch): "Just so you know, I've told X that we're not trading toys anymore. My son is still too young to know what a good 'trade' is, so we're putting the kabosh on that until he's older ... some of the toys that were given to him by his grandparents or a recent birthday gift are getting 'traded.'" If mom offers to return any past trades, I'd take her up on it ... if your little boy was older than 4, it'd be a great natural consequence for making such a trade ... but truly, it seems to me that 4 is a little young to fully 'get' what this kid is doing. But if the mom doesn't offer, I'd probably chalk it up to live and learn.

Good luck and please keep us posted!

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Trading is a very hard concept for some kids to understand, it's not temporary and your things are gone forever, as your oldest son has learned. But you know how crafty a trader this neighborhood friend can be, so you need to establish your home as a 'no trade' zone. Also, pick up the phone and call this boy's parents. They may not be aware of what's happening and wondering where all these toys are coming from. This is a time for parents to be involved, especially when there's such a disparity in the value of the items traded.

Set the rules for your boys, make sure that they understand them. Then call the other child's parents and let them know what's been happening and that if they see 'new' things at their house that came from your house, could they help you and give you a call as you're trying to teach your son the value of their possessions and that they belong to everyone at your home, they don't belong to a specific son, but to the whole family. Best of luck!!

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What do you mean you could not get the lego set back? Go talk to the parents of the boy and demand that their child return your child's toys, and then tell the parents and the child that if he continues to try to take or "trade" your children for toys he will no longer be allowed to play at your home.

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i'd have a no trading rule and both the other boy and his parents should know about it (nicely, of course). it could be because you give your used toys to charity, etc. (which is a much better lesson to be learning) i think 4 is too young to learn things like this the hard way- at least at the scale his brother did, with a whole new lego set for nothing. this has also created a good opportunity to discuss why we say no, that you can alwasy say no, and what kind of things you might have to say no to.

i also agree with your limiting the kids time together. hopefully you can find opportunities for your kids to make more and/or new (and better) friends.

You can just tell the boy that he is not allowed to trade with your sons. He can come over to play, but his toys are his toys, and your sons are theirs. You can also ask him to not bring over his toys any more, and don't let your children bring their toys to his house. That would solve the whole problem.

I usually discourage my children from taking their toys to other peoples' houses, and don't recommend them bringing theirs either.

I would put a stop to trading PERIOD. No trades with anyone. Now if they want to borrow a toy at some time, sure can arrange that but no trading for good. That boy seems to use his aggression to bully other kids to give him things he wants. My daughter is only 3 so we dont deal with too many other kids wanting her toys.

I would say no trading, period! and I would also have a talk with the boy's mother.

K.,
I first would talk with the boys mom, maybe she doesn't know what is going on. I would think she would question where he got the set of Legos. I know I would. Also, I wouldn't allow the boy in the house. He sounds like a bully and would try trading when you aren't looking. I don't know if your sons would learn the hard way by trading with him because I don't think they understand what is happening and why. This neighbor boy doesn't sound like he is a good influence to your children. Time for your son to meet a new "best friend".
Take care.

Go with them and tell them all together why they will NOT be trading any more. Your boys are too young to learn the lesson by themselves!!!!

Hi K.,

When you spoke with the parents, explained the situation and asked them to return the Lego birthday gift why did they refuse?

Mama Bear, protect your cubs. Do not let the aggressive child into your home. He is well aware of the fact that he is taking advantage of your children, and maybe others. He can not trade with the oldest boy so he thinks he can trade with the younger. Since there are no consequences, do you think that he will change his behavior as an adult?

If the children need to interact to keep the peace--maybe some activity that does not involve access to your children's toys.

Once he learns no more access to the boys stuff; he may quit coming over.

Be thankful is he not a relative and you are forced/coerced into having him around.

Best wishes!

Hi K.:

Have you ever thought about talking to the boy's parents? They should know what their son is doing and have a serious conversation with him that it is not ok to take advantage of others (which he is obviously doing). Then I'd try to get the toys back. "Trades" can be fun if they are on a borrowed basis, or if the toys are of equal value, but if you buy your sons nice toys and the neighbor's boy takes them away from them on a frequent basis (and I definitely think that the maturity level is a big issue here), you have to put a stop to it.

Good luck! S.

Kristen,
I have to give kudos to Laura. I think her advice was great. I have two boys and my oldest happens to be the one who will let people take things from him. I've had to intervene and often the other parents don't even know where the "new" toy came from! I also believe that you should have informed the other boy's parents of the "trading" situation, they may not know about it. Also, is your older son just trying to be nice and share, did he really know what trading meant? I would demand the Lego set back, and make it clear no trading anymore. Good Luck!

Kristen,
I would approach this "aggressive" boys parents and involve them in this conversation. They need to know that they child is taking toys from your son and then not returning them. May be there can be some kind of a sign-out sheet that both these kids (yours and the other boy) adhere to where they sign out what toy they are "borrowing" rather than "trading" and bring it back within a week. This is where you can involve the parents in setting up the rules. This way both families will know what is being borrowed and brought back.
Sharing is an important skill to learn and enjoy. This situation seems a bit abusive, and hence some boundaries must be set.

Best,
R.

I am glad that you limit your sons' time with them. That is a start. Next you could be a police woman at the door. Show me your pockets, before I let you pass. Another response could be to say to your sons, "These toys you can trade, and these you can not." Paint red finger nail polish on the good ones so they know which ones to keep.

Eventually your son's will figure out that this boy is not such a good friend. But in the mean time, you've good to play police woman.

i would just make it clear to all the boys that any trading will be done with your approval. Anything traded without it is not a legal trade. I do not know how well you know the parents of the boy, but you may want to mention to them that he may be taking advantage of the situation and you all are upset about the legos as they were a recent birthday gift. Let them know you would like to get them back but that you are not pushing the issue and using it as a lesson learned, but in the future any trades done without your approval are not going to fly.

I didn't see anything letting me know how old a child we are talking about. My advice now is a lot different than it would have been when I first started raising my kids. My kids are now 27 down to 12. Having seen some things now, I use to think mom should step in and fix it all.....nope! I would probably talk to the child's mother if possible and explain to her your concerns. If that isn't an option, then I would talk to my child about asking me before he trades any toys in the future. Explain to him that he doesn't have permission to trade his toys with anyone or even loan them to anyone (another big problem). If he then disobeys you, then natural consequences. I would also let him know that if he continues to trade away his toys, he will not be getting any. I would NOT replace the lego set though (another thing us moms do LOL) he needs to remember this lesson. He will be less likely to trade again if he has to live with the fact that he lost something he loved. A lot easier to learn this lesson young than spare the kids and as they get older it just doesn't sink in.

Why haven't you talked to the other mom about this? I'm sure she'd support you and help you get your child's toys back. If not, sounds like it's time to start limiting your son's exposure to this other kid.

I would say absolutely NO TRADING what so ever! Our children went through this not too long ago and as soon as we found out what the neighbor boy wanted to do, we stopped it right away. Of course he didn't like coming to our house much after that which was Great. :) Good luck!

I think the neighbor boy's mom needs to be involved and that you need to come up with a plan together. Something like.... he has to check with his mom before he offers to trade with your boys and then they have to check with you before they can agree. Something like that. Something that makes it more equal. You could even suggest that they could borrow each other's things for a day or week, but then there's no guarantee that they'll get their things back in nice condition.

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.

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