Day 321: pacifier as the first lesson in “ownership”

There’s plenty of debate about whether or not you should give your child a pacifier (or “dummy” as they say in Colonial English).  Should you give them one, then the next debate is when you should take it away.  It’s a constant circle of judgement, self-doubt about your decisions, and on and on.

The little guy was super colicky and generally unhappy the first few months of his life, so we did eventually give him a pacifier as a “self-soothe” tool, and I am glad we did.  But the reason why is not the reason why is not what you’d think.

The reason I am happy with the decision to use a pacifier is because it has helped our son learn about ownership.  He knows that the pacifier is his and his alone, and he has the full “rights” to it.  He can choose to share it (which he does), and he can choose when he wants to use it.  I like this.  

When else does a child learn about ownership before they are even 1-year old?  They might have toys and things they value, but with a pacifier, it’s something sacred.  So when my son takes it out of his mouth and offers it to me and my wife, it means he understands it is his, and that he wants to give it to us, to share it on his terms.

I am more of a believer in the movement not to teach about sharing, but instead to teach about “when you’re done with it” – more on that later- but the awareness I see about what my son does with the pacifier that is “his” without any ambiguity is pretty cool.


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