Instilling a sense of generosity and kindness in our children is a more challenging task then most may think. It can sometimes come at a cost to a young person’s sense of ownership and self-worth, which are other important ideals that may have a significant impact on how a child develops social skills later in life.
A woman is sitting quietly playing Candy Crush on her phone when suddenly a colleague comes up and takes her phone from her.
She gets upset and asks for it back. The colleague says to her “no, it’s my turn”.
Their superior walks past the scenario and says to the woman who is still trying to negotiate her phone back “sharing is caring, your colleague can have a turn now and when they are done, you can have it back.”
Here at The Brook, it is essential for us to consider the rights of all people, and especially of those in our care and employment. You wouldn’t want to share something that is yours simply because someone else wants a turn. Nor should you have to.
So why do we think it is okay for our children to be forced to do this?
Common courtesy is a valuable skill for people to acquire. As is pride and confidence to stand up for yourself. This is because it solidifies your identity, gives you purpose and strength and allows you to make choices and decisions to better yourself.
When a child is told to share, the other child is getting a sense of gratification that getting what they want is easy. This is a very false sense of security that they are unlikely to experience as they grow older.
Instead of telling our children they must share, we should consider asking them if they are happy to share their space, their toys, their belongings. This allows them the freedom to refuse and make a choice based on their own opinions and values they have developed already. Give children the strength to say ‘no’, or ‘yes’ if they so choose.
Then show them how to love and care generously without giving up their own sense of identity and wellbeing. Allow them to feel good when they do choose to share. Help them to understand the gratification behind making others smile. Teach them to see the value in giving.
And of course, think about how you would feel if you were in the position we place our children in unknowingly.
Chances are, we would change that situation if we could.
Children start learning to communicate from birth, considerably earlier than some parents may think. Even before children start trying to communicate verbally, they already understand a whole lot about their world and the language used around them.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our child care services.