Harmony in your home is a blessing. Family life can be the most challenging and exhausting experience you can have, but if everyone is in sync, the real problems are less severe and more manageable. With children especially, the promotion of a harmonious environment will benefit the family dynamic immensely. When everyone gets along, a family will prosper, thrive and grow.
Children are impulsive and reckless by nature, as they struggle to adhere to the new stimuli of social norms, and this interferes with their natural curiosity and wonderment. Watching a child grow and mature while making sense of their environment is one of the most satisfying feelings that I have experienced. Not only do you see the bloom of the seed you’ve sown, but you also experience a sense of pride and satisfaction for a job well done. Every time one of my kids (or one that I coach) understands a difficult concept or has an epiphany, I feel a sense of pride in helping them arrive at their accomplishment.
Mediating the Madness
Every one teaches (or at least should teach) their child how to share, but what are we really teaching? Driven by impulse, children are naturally defensive against giving up their material means, and some will initially resist any attempt to share. By teaching them to share we merit empathy and compassion for others, even if the lesson proves difficult to teach. Some children will resist the notion, and less mature ones will impetuously demand that they be shared with.
Social interaction skills are paramount to early childhood development. These skills form the foundation of their personalities, and will dictate how they mesh with the rest of society in the future. Without a firm grasp on how to cooperate with and relate to others, a child will be doomed to fail in social relations and will struggle in their daily lives. Unfortunately, those who struggle with fitting in run the risk of social isolation and the myriad of complications that are related to it, such as increased mental health issues and stunted development.
Children that know how to share, in both material and responsibility terms, will understand negotiation and have a better comprehension of parity and fairness. The reason I’m in favor of these particular lessons is that they establish the building blocks of awareness and self-worth. Having a strong knowledge of self-worth will help your children avoid being taken advantage of, especially in business negotiations and future relationships.
Teach them early and often
We have always involved our children in all aspects of caring for the newest baby. Having five children, we have always had plenty of opportunities to allow the kids to help out with their younger siblings. It usually involved something small, like fetching a diaper or holding a bottle, but by keeping them involved they became part of the care giving dynamic. With this approach we never experienced any tangible jealousy, as the older siblings stood on equal ground with the adults and focused on the task of helping the baby.
My older kids clamor for the chance to assist in the care for the younger ones. With a ten-year gap between the youngest and oldest, my daughter functions as a “mini-mom” when it comes to my youngest son. The benefits to this are two-fold, she learns the invaluable life skills of mothering in a low risk and controlled setting, plus she and her brother are forging unbreakable bonds that will keep them close for the rest of their lives. Her efforts also afford us a much needed break from direct parenting from time to time.
We stress teamwork in all tasks in the household. When the kids get assigned to chores, we rotate each of them in a leadership position that allows them to delegate tasks to their siblings, with the caveat being that the work has to be equally distributed. The approach is designed to teach them some of the valuable lessons in leadership that aren’t readily shared in most modern curricula. Responsibility can be a heavy burden if lifted alone, but by establishing the seeds of sufficiency and capability in our children we establish future a support system that is mutually beneficial.
Learning to cooperate with others at a young age is an important facet of fundamental childhood development. This notion plays hand-in-hand with conflict resolution and fitting in with the larger fabric of society, as an establishment of basic social skills is crucial to developing as an adult. Encouraging cooperation with others is a reasonable expectation for any parent, and this cements the foundation for social growth and future development.
Sharing should not be limited to mere material goods. Empowering your children to share in household obligations enables them to learn and grow exponentially, and will especially contribute to accelerated growth in social interactions. This path to maturity will embolden them to work not only harder, but smarter, and develop a higher understanding of self-worth and potentially develop tangible leadership skills. By possessing a wide range of positive social skills early on, a child can greatly increase their chances of success when interacting with others.
The more time you spend encouraging your child to learn and grow, the better chance they have at developing into everything you hope for them to be. Ultimately, a child is a direct reflection of yourself, and they will learn the lion’s share of their mannerisms from watching you. Be the example you would want for them and encourage them at every turn.