One day our toddlers are perfectly happy and it seems that overnight they are suddenly very angry little people who don’t want to share anything. Dealing with child anger is often a challenge for most parents. Some think that the behavior is cute while other parents decide that the issue must be addressed immediately. Following a few tips to address the issue of s haring that will teach your child about making choices will help your youngster and give them some solid skills when they become adults. Barclay Devere Family Mediation
Sharing is a difficult concept for children. This is especially true when the youngster has not been around other children, siblings, or ever really had a connection with their toys. Usually when a youngster is around two years old, they will begin to identify items as “mine!” This is the time when you will be faced with the challenge of teaching sharing skills. The response of many parents when a child will not share is to say “No!” While it is effective, you are not teaching your child anything, except that somebody bigger than they are can make them do things they don’t want to do.
Most children who get this response from parents learn to develop skills to hide their feelings when they are mad. Many adults who do not deal with anger appropriately did not learn the skills to effectively deal with issues when they were toddlers. When they are in a stressful situation, most people will automatically revert to what they learned as young children. If they have grown into large adults, they may bully people when they are in difficult situations, if they are small, they may show passive aggressive tendencies in reaction to stressful situations.
Sharing issues are a great time for parents to teach their children about choices and problem solving. It only takes a moment and a slight change in the use of the “No!” word. Children who don’t want to share often start with a swipe at the offender. They don’t really want to hurt or hit the other person; they only want to make them leave their toy alone.
Most parents go on high alert when a swipe occurs. They will grab the toy and say, “No hitting!” Hitting had not really occurred to the youngster until it was mentioned, but it will be a good idea for next time. Remember that children are sponges and think very literally. If you make the suggestion that hitting is a response, then next time hitting will be the action that will be taken. Teaching choices will take the same amount of time and have the kind of long term results that will benefit the youngster much better in adulthood.
You don’t have to have a discussion, or react in any way, just identify the issue. “You don’t want to share.” This is not a question – it is an observation. Many parents make the mistake of turning statements into questions. This can be very confusing to a child and opens the door for a response that you don’t want.
After you have identified the issue give your youngster a choice, “Do you want to share this toy or that toy.” This is also not a question. You are giving your youngster a choice. When you first use this technique, your child may attempt to select a third toy or open toddler dialogue. But, you must stick with the two toys, “this toy or that toy.” When your youngster gets used to this technique, they will begin to choose two toys before they begin playing. This is the foundation of problem solving that will help your young adult make decisions about sharing information, skills, and problem solve effectively.
The longer that a parent puts off teaching their child effective problem solving skills and sharing strategies, the more difficulty the child will have as they get older and are required to share more and more parts of their lives. By dealing effectively with child anger and teaching positive skills, you are giving you child great tools for sharing and dealing with situations that require problem solving in later life.