Today I was being begged once again to allow a couple of my boys to be able to trade some of their toys with each other. This is something that we put a stop to about four years ago. I know it seems silly, but I got so tired of the arguments over who a particular toy belonged to. The guideline we established was that when a child grew tired of a toy they could put it on the "everybody" toy shelf, but there was to be no trading or giving away. This way any child could enjoy the toy that was no longer wanted by its owner.
There were multiple reasons we developed this. One was that one of our boys is a smooth quick talker. He'd be a great salesman! He has a way of talking other siblings out of their toys and trading a much inferior toy of his for it. The guideline was protection for his siblings.
Another reason was for the simple fact that the children would change their minds after the trade was made. Then the big argument or fight would ensue. "I just meant I'd trade for the day." "It wasn't for keeps." "He's lying." I had no way of determining what had really happened. The guideline kept them from making decisions they would regret later.
We also had some issues related to integrating three siblings into our family. There was a tendency to play favorites when giving and trading toys. It seemed one person was consistently left out and never given to or traded with. The guideline ensured equal treatment of siblings.
The children are all older now. I wondered today if we should reconsider, but it has worked so well. I'm remiss to give up a good thing. I don't want any of the problems we had been preventing. However, are there some valuable lessons that they could learn if they were allowed to trade and give their toys away? Just wondering... Thoughts anyone???