Last night, we had dinner at our friends' house.
Towards the end of the evening, Cora had an epic meltdown because she had been playing with this little Abby Cadabby doll and her friend J took it from her. I told her she needed to go calm down or we were going home and she wouldn't get to play anymore. That didn't really make any difference and since it was getting late anyway, we made the call to go home. Since we were leaving and J's mom actually thought the toy was Cora's, she made J give it back, which immediately stopped Cora's tantrum. Of course, we took the toy back away from her and made her say her good-byes. She was not happy.
She snuffled all the way home, and while Husband poured her bath, I made her sit down with me in her room and talk about what happened. This seems to be working quite well: reasoning through the behavior and solving the problems without melting down. (Except when she's really tired, of course.)
I told her that I know she was upset that she was playing with the doll and J took it from her without asking her to share it, but that screaming and crying about it wasn't the right thing to do and she had acted very badly. She didn't ask J nicely to give it back to her; she didn't ask an adult for help to get J to share. I asked her what she should have done instead of scream and cry, and she dutifully told me: She should have said "please" to J to share.
Very pleased with my excellent parenting, I ended the conversation with: "See? And crying about it didn't help solve the problem, did it?"
Her response: "Yes, it did. [J's mom] screamed at [J] and made her give it back."
Cora: 1; Mommy: 0.