Children and sharing

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Sharing. The hardest thing to referee, to teach, and to peacefully resolve during play dates. Right? Or maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard? The article below from Janet Lansbury is a great explanation of how children work, and how parents should trust them more. I wish I had more opportunities to try it in real life but, unfortunately, other parents often intervene before the kids even had time to realize what was happening, and had a chance to try to resolve it on their own. I am trying this at home a lot though with both my children. I try to lead by example and share with them myself, and thank them when one of them makes a kind gesture and gives up a toy he/she is done with. Doesn’t always happen without too much fuss and noise, but that is the beauty of learning together with my children, and learning to trust them more.

The link to full text:
http://www.janetlansbury.com/2009/11/the-s-word/

“We are all desperate for our children to share. Sharing is vital. The future of the world depends upon our children’s spirit of generosity. We fear that if we don’t remind our children to share, they might become selfish, stingy outcasts. Or, we worry that we will be judged an indulgent, inconsiderate and ill-mannered parent.

Children will often demonstrate that the interaction with another child is what interests them, not the toy itself. This is evident when there are multiples of a certain object available, yet the children are only interested in the one that has ‘heat.’ Soon after the struggle is over, the toy is usually dropped, becomes ‘cold,’ and no one wants it anymore. Children are best left to work these situations out by themselves while the adults insure that there is no hitting or hurting.

No parent feels comfortable when their child takes from another, holds on to toys that another wants to use, or seems upset because another child will not share with him. But these situations usually look far worse from our point-of-view than they do from our child’s. When we unnecessarily intervene in a struggle by insisting that a child shares, we rob him of a social learning experience. And when we insist that our child shares before he can truly understand what it means, we risk making ‘share’ a bad word. A child shares when he begins to feel empathy for others, empathy modeled through a parent’s patience and trust in him.”

Photo: Heber Farnsworth (Flickr)

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One thought on “Children and sharing

  1. This was so interesting. I had never really thought about sharing before and what that means. I’m looking forward to observing my son instead of intervening when I see him and another kids struggle with a toy.

    Kids are much smarted than we think.

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