How children learn to share

An important concern on the way to social competence. How can this best be conveyed to children?

Little Tamara (5) doesn't like to share. She wants to keep everything to herself. The mother doesn't want Tamara to be selfish and is annoyed that she once again doesn't want to give away any of her orange. Sometimes it slips from her: “You're jealous!” Or an instructive: “Good children like to share!” Another time she tries to beg: “Please, please, just a little bit!”

Refrain from pressure and manipulation

If we want to motivate children to develop positive social behavior, we have to refrain from pressure and manipulation. Rather, it is important to show understanding for the difficulty of giving something and the child's right to set themselves apart. Honestly: It is not easy for us adults to share either. We are even less happy to be forced to give something. Only when we feel free, understood and respected can we grow beyond ourselves.

Show understanding of the difficulty

Approach to a solution: The mother can “reflect” feelings sensitively and without judgment: “You love oranges. Therefore it is not easy for you to give something away ... "(leave your voice above, as an invitation to confirm or deny) Tamara will feel understood:" Yes. It's mine! ”The mother notes:“ That's why you want to eat it all by yourself. ”She returns to her request and says frankly and directly:“ I would be very happy if you gave me a piece of it! "

Children also have a right to set themselves apart

Due to the noticeable understanding of the mother and her open request, Tamara is probably already ready to voluntarily jump over “her own shadow” and say: “Here, mom, this is for you!” Whereupon the mother only needs to appreciate: “ Thank you! I am glad that you share with me. "If the resistance persists, it is good to accept the no:" What a shame, then not! "She could add:" But another time will you share with me? " This polite question is sure to get approval. If not, the mother might add, “I'll just ask you again. Then you can still make up your mind. ”Tamara will feel that her boundaries are respected and is therefore much more motivated to share at the next opportunity.

Practice sharing

Occasionally bring your child into situations where they can practice the new virtue: “This pack is for you and your friends. Share it now! ”This is how it can be experienced:“ Joy shared is joy doubled ”. Some children are so generous that sometimes you have to slow down so that they don't regret their generosity later: “Are you sure you want to give up your teddy bear? Think about it until tomorrow. I don't want you to be sorry later! "

Maria Neuberger-Schmidt

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