How to teach your kids to let go, not give in!

Your child is on a play date and ‘sharing’ does not seem like the acceptable theme for the evening. Before you know it, your best friend’s kid wants the Lego piece that your child is holding on to for dear life. Now let us make it easy for all of us, there are two scenarios:

First: The play date is at your place and that Lego is something that your daughter thinks she has a birth right to. So is it ok for her not to share?

Second: The play date is at your friend’s place and that Lego is something your friend’s daughter thinks she has a birth right to. So is your child wrong in holding on to that piece and insisting on it being shared?

Surprise, Surprise there is a third scenario too:

They are on neutral ground. Like a play park or a children’s museum. Now is your daughter wrong or right on not sharing that Lego piece?

I am not a psychologist. But I am sure as adults we would expect the kid to share her things with the guests, in the first scenario. However in case of the second incident, we would again expect the same child (now a guest) to let go, because clearly the Lego belongs to your best friend’s kid. In the third scenario, we still expect our child to share because she is ‘good’.

So while we might think that we are inculcating strong social etiquette in our children, could we be grossly wrong? There is a big difference between letting go and giving in, but do we as parents understand that?

By no means do I suggest that your little munchkin grows into an unsocial, aggressive adult, but can we please not make him/her the sole of anyone else’s shoe?

So what are the ground rules?

Teach them sharing, but stop short of absolute sharing

Many of us have trouble sharing our bathrooms with our guests, exactly why we have powder rooms. And honestly if sharing was such an easy thing then we all wouldn’t need independent houses, cars, cupboards and even kids. We all want a bit of our own space and independence. Why should it be any different for the kids? As says Dr.Sears ‘True sharing implies empathy, the ability to get into another’s mind and see things from their viewpoint. Children are seldom capable of true empathy under the age of six. Prior to that time they share because you condition them to do so’.

Trust the expert if not a ‘mother’.

Let the child enjoy the feeling of ownership and then wait for her to show generosity by sharing. But do not judge her or your upbringing if it does not happen too often. Patience is the what we need, more than them.

Explore the beauty of ‘No’

It is not ok to say ‘No’. It is great to say ‘No’. Can you imagine how confusing it is for the kids when we constantly use that word in order to stop them from using our important things, and then forbid them from using it in their space? Why can’t they refuse to share their favourite bicycle? Why can they not be free to feel insecure about their books getting damaged or toys getting lost? As they grow these are all signs of emotional growth, and a healthy one at that.

So if you daughter decides to sometimes not play by the host etiquette, so be it. Read what has to say on Empowering kids to say NO.

Differentiate Asking from Snatching

Of course if your kids have the right to enjoy, responsibilities kick in automatically. Make them realise why they too need to respect what the other kids want. Teach them to ask for things and to be prepared if the answer is No. “Can I use that Lego piece please?” “Are you done with that?” “Is it my turn next?”

Still be prepared for those odd times when the other kid will raise an alarm and say “Mumma she snatched it from me”. Remember your kid is still that, a kid. So there are bound to be weak moments and extreme-attraction and can’t-control-it moments. Smile, she will grow out of it, sooner than you can believe. And if you are sweating and wondering if your kid is a Toy Taker, Janet Lansbury has something to say

The right to ignore
If you wanted to be a judge then you should have studied law. There I said it, so stop meddling in and stepping in every single time you hear a squeal from that gathering of tiny tots. They understand each other’s language and they are smart enough to figure out their battles and disputes. If there is nothing alarming about their behaviour and interaction, give them time.

Draw the line even between Siblings

They need to know there is a line that nobody should cross. Nobody. Agree on some toys, books or anything else that the siblings don’t need to share, even amongst themselves. For anything else, don’t bend the rules.

So what are the correct answers to the three scenarios I mentioned in the beginning. Let them decide. Be a mute spectator. Involve yourself only if it is really necessary. Oh and if all of this doesn’t work, best of luck!

Comments (3)

P c Posted on Apr 21, 2015

Allow your children to grow up as normal kids no need to make them exceptionally good


Sumeet Posted on Apr 13, 2015

I agree - they dont need to share all the time!


Mrs. Bhatia Posted on Apr 13, 2015

Somewhere we are always so lost in what people will say that we forget about what our kids will feel.


Charu Chhitwal

Charu Chhitwal, Founder KetchupMoms has daring tastebuds, a love for travel and an owl for her soul. It’s little wonder then that she loves to write and share her tips and tricks on traveling, food,

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