Kids may be more willing to share if their needs are acknowledged

September 21, 2000

Kids may be more willing to share if their needs are acknowledged

Teaching your child | By Lisa Tedrick Prejean

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Kids sharingMy son's behavior at a recent neighborhood picnic prompted a discussion among the parents there.

He parked his battery-operated Jeep at the edge of the yard. It was a magnet for the other children. They wanted to play around, climb in and drive it. I thought he would be excited to have so many playmates.

Boy, was I wrong.

He started fussing about the other kids wearing down the battery. He didn't want too many kids to ride at the same time. He didn't want them leaning on the windshield, etc., etc.

With so many rules to follow, the other kids soon lost interest and found other things to play with.

I turned to the other parents, apologizing: "We're trying to teach him how to share."


I was met with knowing glances.

One mother said, "That seems to be the hardest thing for them to learn."

And one of the hardest things for parents to teach.

"Kids by their nature are not into sharing," says Dr. Kevin Leman, founder and co-host of TV.

But if you apply the Golden Rule to this concept - if you don't share with others, they won't share with you - it may make a difference, says Leman, whose latest book is "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours."

Leman makes these suggestions for parents:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> "One of the first things you want to teach children is that they are not the center of the universe," Leman says. "Healthy self-esteem comes from kids doing things - giving back to the family."

Regular chores will teach them that home is not a hotel. Items in their surroundings need to be cared for by them.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Likewise, give your child ownership of the things that belong to him.

If a child protests with claims of "Mine!" when another child wants to play with a toy, acknowledge the child's claim: "Honey, that's right. That is your tractor."

The child may be more willing to share if his concerns are acknowledged.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> When the child wants to play with another child's toy, remind him that it is owned by someone else. He should ask for permission before playing with it.

This teaches cooperation, a key component in sharing.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Show your child how to negotiate to meet his needs and the needs of the other child. Suggest that one child play with the toy for a certain period of time. Then the other child can play with the toy.

Mary Newby, a reading improvement teacher at Cascade Elementary School, sent me an e-mail about last week's column on "Concepts of Print."

She says kindergarten students are expected to know 16 of the 20 concepts by the end of the first marking period. If they don't, they are tested again at the end of the second marking period. Students who know at least 16 of the concepts can begin a guided reading program with their teachers.

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