Monday, January 01, 2007
Sharing Problem in Children
Sharing one's possessions is an important quality that helps in effective social interaction both in childhood and adult life. However, learning to share is one of the hardest phases for the child to pass. Often you would notice parents who wonder whether their child would ever stop battling over his toys. The fact is that even the nicest children have sharing problems at some point in their growth. And of course, it is not a hopeless situation.
As babies, sharing comes natural to many a child. Babies would handle their rattle or their half-chewed food to parents or anyone else, especially to familiar faces. This is a cute way of communicating and bonding at this stage. This readiness to share changes when the babies enter the toddler stage. The child now starts swiping toys from other children and screams if his/her possessions are touched by others. Psychologists believe that this problem is rooted in the fact that the child is starting to understand and use language; sharing things for communication thus becoming less important for him. Also, the kid is becoming wiser, learning that some of the shared things do not come back. If a new baby arrives and reaches the stage to help him/herself to the elder kid's possession, the generosity of the owner dampens.
At the age of about two and a half years, children start to grow territorial, becoming aware of what belongs to whom. It is a positive, though difficult, stage as the child develops a sense of identity.
Psychologists believe that parents do play an important role in strengthening the child's feeling not to share his/her things. Children learn that parents or grown ups dislike their kids' sharing certain things like a piece of dirt or rotten food from the garbage. In many cases, parents' reaction is cross if their kid shares his/her coat or some other thing, especially of a higher value. The negative reaction of the parent or caregiver tends to inhibit the child's tendency to share at all. At the age of about three years, the child understands enough of the parents' language to give them a chance to help him/her learn sharing. If you are a parent or caregiver concerned about the sharing problem of your child, the following ways will guide you nurture the urge to share in your kid.
The most practical way to help your child learn sharing is by example. Offer him/her a taste of the sandwich you are eating. Let him/her see you sharing your possessions with other children or adults. Also, ask if you can play with his/her toys. Sharing children grow in sharing families.
Tell your child in simple words why sharing is nice. If another child (or even grown up) starts to play with your kid's toy, explain to the child that since the other kid hasn't got a toy now so he/she wants to play with this toy. It is helpful for your kid to learn waiting his turn or even missing out since it will teach greater tolerance and cooperativeness in later life.
An important issue in healthy development of the kid's personality is setting boundaries i.e. the child should learn that he/she is not allowed to play with everything at any hour; some things belong to others and some things are quite dangerous to play with.
It is helpful if you let your child decide which of his possessions are not to be shared. Those he/she is very possessive about should be put away in a box and the kid should be told that he/she can play with them later after the group play is over. Do not force him/her to share these things since this can make him/her more possessive.
Consistently return a snatched toy to your kid while not snatching it yourself from any kid. You can use an egg-timer to time each child's turn for the play.
If kids start a fight over a toy, find another toy and give it to your kid, asking him/her to ask the other kid for swapping the toys. This will teach your child negotiating skills.
Encourage you kid your express in words what he wants to do in an irritating situation rather than letting him grab things. This type of teaching will improve the child's linguistic and social skills.
With your consistency in guiding, your child will soon learn playing more enjoyably in groups and easily sharing his treasures.