Just recently your child was playing quietly on the playground, not paying much attention to the fact that their toys are taken by other children, and now he is furiously defending their right to property, can shout, and even hit another child for their thing. How do I figure out if this is greed or a normal assertion of their boundaries?
Why you shouldn’t force your child to share anything
At the age of 1.5-2.5, the child begins to feel like a whole person. At this point, the first attempts to separate their own “I” from other people occur: he/she has the understanding that this toy is their, their dress is Mommy’s, their watch is Daddy’s and the book is their brother’s. All the things that he considers to be their own are an extension of himself, and any infringement of their toys is perceived by him as a violation of their personal boundaries.
Unfortunately, few parents take this age characteristic into account. If we were not taught as children to say “no” and properly protect our own interests, we cannot teach this to our own children.
How does a normal walk with your child go most of the time? Here’s your child now playing with their toy, their imagination building huge castles and a world in which he is a superhero, and then another child comes along and takes away a toy! The first, natural reaction – resentment, incomprehension, the desire to immediately reclaim their thing. But our society doesn’t support this behavior: we must share! And now my mother is forcing the child to give me a toy.
In fact, if the child’s feelings are quite understandable and logical, the mother often feels lost in this situation: on the one hand, she wants to support her child, on the other – there are rules that we used to follow. It’s difficult for her to orient her actions, and she chooses the easiest way – to follow the pattern imposed by society.
The problem is that this is how we raise comfortable children. Comfortable for us, for other children, but not for ourselves. We teach children not to hear their own feelings and desires, and the result is grown men and women who don’t know what they want out of life, who are always looking over the opinions of others and cannot say no, even if it goes against their own interests.
To avoid a sense of greed in a child, it’s very important to create in him the awareness that in this world everything is enough. After all, it’s when there is “enough” rather than when there is “too much” that we stop being greedy. There are five simple rules you can follow to do this:
- Unconditional love. Learn to love your child with full acceptance of a character, features, appearance, aspirations. Not comparing, not regretting, not wanting to fix something in him. Just love, and most importantly, always show that love. No toys, trips, and expensive entertainment can replace the true feeling of being loved and accepted just the way you are.
- Space of Choice. Recognize in your child the right to stuff, let him make choices even in such simple matters as what to wear for a walk or what book to read at night. So that their decisions don’t contradict your rules, as early as at the age of one and a half or two, create a space of availability and choice for your child.
- For example, put clothes in the locker that are appropriate for the season, and each thing should be within easy reach of the child. Place books on the lower shelves so he can always reach them without help. Give access to games, plasticine, pencils. In short, create an understandable space for your child, one that is systematic and logical. Of course, this will require design thinking, but that’s how beauty and comfort are born.
- The right to emotion. Here again, we can give the example of a situation where a child is trying to take away a toy. In this case, it’s very important to talk to the child about emotions: “Now you want to play with this toy yourself. And after you play, will you give it to John?” You have to be prepared for the child to say both “yes” and “no.” If he still doesn’t want to share the toy, explain it to another child: “John, today Alex wants to play with this car himself. I can help you make crayons. Voicing to each of the parties what is going on, you will not only be able to avoid a conflict but also set an example of communication in controversial situations.
- Gratitude. A child in which the state of “enough” is formed, it’s easy to share. And it’s not important how it happens between children, but how he feels in the family. The child’s desire to share a cookie with you – it’s their choice because he is free to eat it himself. So if your child treats you to something tasty or shares with you something valuable to him, always accept it with gratitude.
- Personal example. The ability to appreciate the labor and things is just as important as the ability to get away from painful attachment to them. That doesn’t mean giving away everything and everyone. It means prioritizing and prioritizing things in your life at any given moment, something that we as adults need to learn first and then pass on to our children. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself uncomfortable questions: “Am I piling up mountains of food on the buffet table on vacation when one bite would have been enough? Am I living the life I want to live?”
Raising a child is a complex and demanding mission, but it really comes down to very simple and straightforward things: love, acceptance and respect. Remember this every moment with your children, and then there will be more happy people around