To Share or Not to Share ... Part 2.

 Now what if someone took the latte?
Does it matter who takes it?
George can have it with a smile.
We were gonna give it to our friend.
We don't want it now that the smelly guy has it, but are completely bummed that he took it.
And that rude guy- we are probably gonna take it back and mention that it was ours!
Obviously somebody doesn't understand possession. The latte was ours- not his. We generally assume that those guys understand that taking a latte that looks delicious means that someone else no longer gets to delight in drinking it.
When a young toddler takes a truck away from another at the park- there is no thought of the other person's feelings.  It's pure impulse for the shiny object. Young children, because they do not understand possession, cannot be asked to share. They simply won't understand that by taking what they want there is an effect to another. What many toddler experts have found is that children who have been allowed to observe another child's reaction to an object being taken are more likely to develop empathy quicker than children who have not.  When Sarah takes Henry's toy and Henry cries, if an adult can hang back and not "fix" it ( i.e. admonish Sarah for not being nice, friendly, or not sharing and returning the toy to James), Sarah will generally notice James' tears and in more situations than we can count return the toy or find a new one for James' to play with. If we do not provide the solution sometimes they will find a better one.  Famed developmental theorist Jean Piaget once said "Every time you teach a child something you forever rob them of the chance to learn it for themselves." In so many situations between small children our desire for them to be good outweighs all the good that can come from them learning on their own.
If you are feeling really uncomfortable with just watching situations happen some advice that has helped us throughout the years is from from famed child psychologist Haim Ginott- remember to speak in "I" statements. "I want you to give that back" "I don't want you to take that shovel" And speak only to the problem."James is crying. He wants the truck." 
And keep in mind the old saying "Monkey see, Monkey do" -if we are models of generosity and kindness, wee ones can't help but follow suit. And as long as we aren't constantly reminding them of how magnanimous we are (no one likes a show off) they are sure to ease into sharing because it's just what we do!

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