Teaching The Art of Sharing

The following post is by contributor Amanda Morgan from  Not Just Cute and originally appeared in November of 2010.

All kids love sharing….as long as that means you have something to share with them! But when it comes time for these little ones to part with some valued treasure of their own, they quickly set aside their passion for equal divisions.  Here are a few reasons why sharing can be such a struggle, and some simple steps that we as parents can take to ease the way.

Children are Not Developmentally Designed to Share

Three things to remember from a developmental standpoint:

1. Young children are naturally ego-centric.

They see the whole world through the lens of their own wants and desires.  Giving something up because it makes someone else happy requires a very big mental leap.  This means that we have to gently teach them over and over to recognize and value the feelings of others.

2. Young children are  naturally seeking power.

It’s a motivating source that allows them to learn and become more proficient and independent.  If sharing is presented to them as a loss of power (“You must give something up“) rather than as an opportunity to be powerful (“You can choose what or when to share”/”You can help someone be very happy“), they will naturally resist.  Help children recognize the power in sharing.

3. Social skills are learned.

As is the case with social skills in general, children don’t naturally develop the ability to share.  Just as they don’t wake up one day knowing how to write their own name, they won’t suddenly be able to navigate the social art of sharing on their third birthday.  Be aware that sharing requires practice, which always includes mistakes along with the successes.

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Simple As That: Journaling Big Feelings

childwriting

As parents, we know that the source of much frustration for children is an inability to communicate what they are feeling – particularly when those feelings are big and scary or upsetting.  A few months ago, we discussed some peaceful and positive solutions for anger and hitting.

Several weeks later, a friend of mine emailed me to share with me an unexpected and powerful outlet for these big feelings: journaling.

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Family Stories that Bind

The following is by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

Iremember the first time I really became personally interested in the stories of my ancestors.  I was a newly minted teenager when a family friend pointed out how much I resembled my great grandmother.  She was referring to a picture I had seen on a shelf my whole life.  I had noticed her, and probably even been interested from time to time, but it wasn’t until after that comment that I suddenly became interested in her as a part of myself.  From that moment on I didn’t just look at her picture, I looked for myself there. Her long, dark hair, the shape of her lips, the outline of her face.  It was suddenly not about features, but about connections.

My great -grandmother died when my grandpa was just a toddler, so my family didn’t have much in the way of memories to rely on, but what we did have were her stories.  These were handed down verbally through the family, and also recorded in a journal that she kept.  And just as with her picture, I began to look for myself in her stories as well.
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3 Strategies for Dealing With Criticism

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

Last week I wrote about the three types of friends I think every parent should have.  I know that having people in my life who don’t pass judgement on my parenting choices is very important to me.  In fact, in today’s critical world, it is crucial to have a support system.

Not everyone will be supportive of us, however.  Parents especially seem to invite scrutiny from others.  Everyone has an opinion on how children should be raised and some of us find ourselves getting advice (and lectures) practically from the moment we announce that we’re starting a family.

Encounters with those who make us feel like our lives are under their microscope can be emotionally exhausting, to say the least. Then, there are those who take it a step further and openly criticize our parenting.

  • Fact #1: We aren’t going to be able to please everyone.
  • Fact #2: There are those who want to make sure we know that!

Normally, I am my own worst critic, but there are a few people that I cross paths with in life whom I suspect are trying for that title. Perhaps you’ve got someone in your life like that, too?

Now, I don’t always handle criticism perfectly.  However, I am much better at handling criticism than I was, especially as a new parent.

I’ve learned some coping techniques over the years and picked up some things from parents wiser than I.  I want to share a few of those with you today, in case you find yourself struggling with criticism.

Here are three strategies for dealing with criticism that work for me:

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6 Peaceful Solutions for Hitting and Anger

While this Spring cold continues to work its way through our house, I wanted to share with readers today one of my favorite posts from the archives.  Originally written by Megan Tietz in June of 2009, there are some great suggestions here for helping our kids control their anger.  I think you’ll find it an article worth bookmarking, as I did when it was originally published.  – Kara

I have noticed that with my oldest daughter, the “half-age” mark generally brings with it some negative behaviors that we have not yet encountered.  For example, she was delightful at two, but two-and-a-half brought new meaning to the term “terrible toddlerhood” – there were many meltdowns and days of frustration for both of us.  Three was exciting and fun, but three-and-a-half introduced transition troubles and sibling rivalry angst.

Dacey is exactly four-and-a-half today, and true to form, we have had a new issue come up that we have not had to deal with yet – hitting. She never went through a hitting stage as a toddler, so this is all uncharted parenting territory for me.  Because I believe in the power of parenting as a community, I’ve been asking around and taking notes on what others are doing in response to the problem of preschoolers who hit.

Here are six of the most helpful suggestions I have found for hitting and other negative angry behaviors:

1. Hand Claps

My friend Corey is educated and trained in early childhood development, and she offered me this suggestion: Sometimes kids don’t know what to do with their hands when they want to hit, so  teaching them to clap their hands when they are angry gives them an outlet for the need to act out with their hands.  This serves the double purpose of alerting me to the fact that intervention might be needed in an upsetting situation.  The angry hand clap has actually been one of our most effective solutions.

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