Your child 1-3 years

Why is it so hard to share?


Lending your toys to a boyfriend or sharing a snack, mission impossible for your little one! Do not draw definitive conclusions about his lack of generosity. Three good reasons explain his attitude.

He believes that everything is his

  • Until the age of 3 or 4, a small child is animated by a feeling of omnipotence He thinks he is the center of the world and that all the objects and even the people around him belong to him. "This is a completely normal stage of its development. He feels that the more toys he has, the stronger and more important he is. To lend them or to share them with others would be to give up some of this omnipotence. It's normal that he does not feel like it! "Says Christine Brunet, psychologist.

What to do, what to say?

  • "To find that our daughter always wants to keep everything for herself, makes us uncomfortable. Would we have failed to convey to him the value of generosity that we hold so much? "Asks Aline, mother of Lucie, 2 years old. If you too are worried and disappointed, rest assured! Your child only needs a little time to understand that he is not the center of the world and that everything does not belong to him. "He will assimilate all the better this reality that his parents will be able to impose frustrations, to help grow," insists the psychologist. Tell him sometimes "no" and to put limits on him are obligatory passages to bring him gently to more generosity.

He is afraid of losing his bearings

  • Behind his refusal to share is often hidden from anxiety. "His little business is for him reassuring landmarks; they form around him a protective cocoon, a familiar and unchanged universe from one day to the next. To part with them, if only for a short moment, can cause him to feel insecure, "explains Christine Brunet. Not to mention that a toddler often sees his toys as a part of himself: if he lends his wooden horse or bucket, he may feel that he will lose a piece of himself. Not enough to be serene!

What to do, what to say?

  • "I see that Mathéo is completely overwhelmed by his emotions when his older sister borrows a toy. This manifests itself in big rages. So I try to reassure him ... I explain to him that he should not worry, that in a little while, I'll go get his toy in his sister's room. It seems to appease him, "says Marie, mother of two children aged 18 months and 4 years. Do not hesitate to be inspired by this mother who has found the right attitude: reassure her child rather than force him to lend or label "selfish", which would only increase his anxiety!

For him, the other does not really exist

  • Before the age of entry to school, a small child is still very centered on him, very egocentric. "He has little awareness of others, in any case, he does not consider them as people in their own right, having desires and desires. But generosity can not be put in place without the consideration of otherness, "says Christine Brunet.

What to do, what to say?

  • While waiting for your child to grow up and become able to share without much emotion - around 5 or 6 years - you can show him the example. For example, by lending some of your stuff to your friends or neighbors: little by little, your child will immerse themselves in this family culture of sharing. "You see, we lend our tools to our neighbor. Then he will return them to us. And if we need his clipper, he will lend it to us, "can you tell him. If he finds that you seem to find pleasure in these reciprocal loans, he will have only one desire, to imitate you!

Isabelle Gravillon for the parent supplement of Popi magazine, January 2016.

* Christine Brunet is coauthor with Anne-Cécile Sarfati of Small hassles and big worries, from 1 to 7 years, ed. The pocket book.