Struggling with tantrums, bedtime boundaries or simply wondering how to raise happy, confident kids? Sarah Rosensweet offers peaceful parenting advice to help families find balance.
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Q: What is the best way to approach having friends over for my daughter (4-year old only child) who really struggles with having other kids in her space and using her toys. I don't want to force her to share but still want her friend to feel welcome.
A: It’s great that you don’t want to force your child to share.
Lots of well-meaning parents think that forced sharing will make kids more generous when in fact the opposite is true. Pro-social behaviour, like sharing and helping, increases when it feels good to do it.
Let’s say you had a cookie and I wanted some of it. If you decided to share with me, and you saw how happy it made me, it would make you feel good about yourself and you’d be likely to share again in the future.
However, if someone else forced you to share your cookie with me, even if it made me happy, you would likely be angry and resentful because you had no choice in the matter and you wouldn’t be more inclined to share in the future.
Any time we force children to share, they feel powerless and resentful. It makes them hold onto things even more tightly as they could be taken away at any moment. This fear makes kids rigid and gets in the way of generosity.
We have to remember that kids want to be good and they want their friends to like them! Be patient while your daughter matures and this becomes easier for her.
In the meantime, I have a few suggestions.
Read More from our Ask Sarah Series:
Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and her 15- and 18-year-old kids. Her 22-year-old son has launched.
Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to “we’ve got this!”
Sarah offers a free course, How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids, so that you can be the parent you want to be. Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com or listen to her top-rated parenting podcast, The Peaceful Parenting Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts!
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