Your older kids won't share and you don't know why. You taught them to share as toddlers. But now all of a sudden they seem quite stingy. It's actually something parents deal with on a regular basis. I have even dealt with this in my own children, as well as those I've nannied in the past. When older kids won't share, I find it doesn't always indicate they are being mean. There may be a deeper issue or maybe even a simple parenting solution.
Get To The Root Of The Issue
It's easy to get frustrated when you think your child should know better. But there may very well be a simple reason behind your child not wanting to share. Is the item something special? Is there another plausible reason? Sit your child down for a long talk '" only you do the listening. Let your child's words dominate. Even if you don't agree, hear what your child is saying and try to understand why sharing seems so out of reach with this item.
Maybe They Don't Have Much
Older kids aren't as prone to being stingy as younger ones. Is your child hoarding a specific item or group of items because they don't have much else? Sometimes when kids don't feel they have very much, they can appear to be stingy with what they do have. It may not be stinginess, but an attempt to protect what they treasure. Some parents will make the mistake of showering them with gifts when they hear this. Buying a few things is fine. But, let them treasure a few special items that they aren't expected to share with everyone.
Are Other Kids Picking On Them, Losing Their Things, Or Bullying?
Sometimes kids don't want to share because other kids are bullying them. Who wants to share with someone who is being mean or taking their toys? Have a talk with your child to make sure this is not what's happening. My older kids have certain things they do not like to share with the younger kids. While the younger kids are not bullying them, they aren't always as responsible with some things. Therefore, the older kids hesitate to share certain items and I am fine with this.
Have You Instilled Compassion?
This is another reason some older kids may not share. If kids are not taught to consider the feelings of others, they really may not understand why they cannot share. Ask them what it feels like when other people do not want to share with them. Be sure they know that what they feel may be exactly what others feel and it isn't nice to make others feel that way. Since this is older kids we're talking about here, you can talk to them like adults. They will understand you.
Show Them What It Feels Like When Others Share
Share something of yours that you treasure. Once you do, have them describe to you how that makes them feel. Most likely, it makes them feel very special. Be sure to point out that the same feelings will be displayed by those they share their things with. They may be smart enough to know this. But perhaps it isn't the first that comes to mind. Sometimes older kids, and even adults, need to be reminded of these things.
Getting to the root of the issue behind older kids refusing to share is as simple as observation. Sit in the sidelines to see what is going on. With a combination of persistence, consistence, and lessons in compassion, your older kids can soon get back to the friendly, caring attitude you know and love.
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