Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — Our daughter and son are 2.5 years apart. The older is 6 and in first grade where she’s now being influenced by some of her friends in ways we’re not so excited about like never before. How do we help both our kids learn how to share? — Alpha Influentials
Dear Alpha Influentials,
Welcome to the world of school age children. Yes, your little one is growing up and stepping out into the big wide world and unfortunately, not everyone raises children with the same standards. Your children will be influenced by classmates, television, movies, and even you and your friends in ways you least expect.
Your job is to give your children a stable foundation they can springboard off refer to. Sharing is a classic. Most kids do not share without training. As they see new way (read: excuses) to not share, they will try to work these new ideas for themselves. The best way to combat that is to be vigilant in your correction. The more your child realizes that not sharing, maybe loses them the toy all together, the less they will try the new ideas. If the outcome does not work, your child will learn sharing brings more joy than not sharing.
Remember to be vigilant and loving. Remind them that you love them no matter what, but you do not like the behavior being displayed. It’s important that kids know they are loved unconditionally, especially when they are facing discipline and correction. It doesn’t mean they get off light. Discipline and correction are necessary to raise strong, self-assured, good people from childhood to adulthood. Kids with no boundaries rebel more and more to get attention.
You can not really stop outside influences. You can only make your influence more compelling through your own actions (show sharing, donations and generosity in your own behavior), as well as correcting when less than ideal new ideas come into your home.
Dear Alpha Influentials,
Hey, ‘rents, teaching sharing is both instructional and influential (how and what you value) as it is associative (a “chair” = “for sitting”). Having said that, as you teach your kids to share, you are sharing your own knowledge base. This is how humans develop. Sharing is beyond “things” and goes straight to the heart of your emotions, what you know, and how you believe the world “is.” What you teach about sharing is important. No doubt. Balancing that with good parental guidance is key, and learning how to share is forever (her future employers thank you). And then, you have to let go and trust your own lessons.
Be aware of your daughter’s influences: from media exposure to close friends (du jour) she spends a lot of time with (especially out of the classroom). Try to get to know their parents. Set a standard both your kids can understand and follow, such as you must speak with a new friend’s parent(s) before spending time at their house, you must meet new friends, etc. Let your kids see your concern around the sharing issue/lesson by exemplifying sharing within your family. Utlimately, you can talk until you’re blue in the face, but kids copy what they see you do, not what you say.
No foolin’ about sharing today or tomorrow,
Image: Tania Liu
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