Me, Me, Me: When Preschoolers are Selfish (page 2)
Is yourchild sometimes a greedy Gretchen? Learn how to help your preschooler be less of a Mimi and more of a Sharon.
What You Need To Know
Parents tend to get very upset at young children who don’t share. However, experts say it’s normal for young child to see things only from their own viewpoint.
- A very young child is not even aware that others have feelings.
- A child who is not intellectually mature isn’t aware of their selfish behavior.
- Teachers who understand child development don’t get upset and handle the situation as a teachable moment.
How You Can Help
Conflict is an opportunity to help youngsters tune in to the feelings and viewpoints of their playmates. Alert teachers and parents do not blame the child for being thoughtless. They understand that the behavior is normal for young children and that it will improve with age and guidance.
- Encourage communication. Help your child find the right words to express their feelings. “I know you would like to have all the crayons but you can only use one at a time. Let’s take turns so Johnny and Susie can color too. Which crayon would you like to start with?”
- Reassure your child that if they share they will get the object back. Sometimes a child thinks sharing means losing the object forever.
The goal for a parent is to teach voluntary unselfishness. Only when sharing is a real choice and not forced can a child truly be generous. Praise your child when they do share, it could help the greed go away with speed.
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