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Now I’m an only child. There lots of advantages to being the only one – lots of encouragement and love was focused on me. But there also disadvantages. One of the main ones for me was that I didn’t really learn fully how to share, with goodwill, until I was quite grown up. And that can present lots of issues in forming good and stable friendships and relationships
Some small children share without being asked and without any further intervention from anyone else. But, learning to share can be hard for most children. And certainly it can be hard when you have no siblings.
Young children tend to think about themselves and what they want or need for survival. Thinking about the needs of others is the beginning of learning to share. You can’t expect two- and three-year-old children to share. They are still working out how to meet their own needs. By age four, many children will share some of their things. By age six or seven, children begin to understand how to cooperate with other children.
Having siblings and playing in groups gives children a chance to learn about sharing and taking turns. When playing "turn taking" games, adults may need to make sure that each child has a chance to go first. It really helps if you support and praise children when they share. But don’t force very young children to share this can cause them to resent the whole idea of sharing.
As an adult set a good example and talk about sharing. Life is certainly pleasanter and more fun when you learn to share.
As for me well, I had to learn and practice and I keep on practicing. My first instinct is still to gobble down all the orange. But now I know half an orange shared with the right person is much nicer.
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Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at WWendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com