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How to Help Children Overcome Selfishness

How to Help Children Overcome Selfishness


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It is normal for children to display selfish behaviors in childhood. The little ones often want to satisfy their wants and needs without taking others into account.

Though selfishness is part of the normal course of child development, From the early stages, adults can begin to favor cooperative and prosocial behaviors with others.

- Adults must serve as models. We must show children that sharing with others enriches us and that we enjoy it.

- We can list with them the advantages of sharing with others, without forgetting in the list the fact that if we share, we will have more possibilities that others also share with us.

- Before the age of three, children do not have the ability to understand the concept of sharing, so there is no point in forcing them to do so. However, we should encourage cooperative games as much as possible and reinforce (for example, with a compliment or a smile) any spontaneous cooperative behavior.

- Teach them to differentiate that there are things that are theirs and things that belong to everyone and that therefore there will be times when they must share even if they don't want to, so that they understand that they cannot have everything they want and that others also have the right to use certain things. In these cases where sharing is a must, it is necessary to remain firm and not give in to the possible tantrums or tantrums that they present.

- Allow them to have a 'special' toy, which we will never force them to lend to others, since everyone, even adults, has belongings that we never share with other people. Thus, when you know that he is going to find himself in a situation in which it would be good for him to share, ask him explicitly which toy he wants to take to share with other children, that is, ask him which one he does not mind lending to others so that it costs less to carry out this type of behavior.

Aroa Caminero
Psychologist
Álava Reyes Psychology Center

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