The society we live in keeps teaching us that being selfish is human nature as evolutionists say it is how the human race survived for this long. Contrary to this belief, scientists who study evolutionary sociology have proven that social behavior is what may have helped our ancestors survive in groups.

Even though social behavior like generosity may have helped us survive in the past, it still does benefit us nowadays. Generous people tend to live longer, be healthier, and have healthier relationships with other people.

Punishing your child for not sharing won’t work

Witnessing your child throwing a tantrum when his/her turn with a certain toy has ended or seeing him/her grabbing the toy from someone else is embarrassing. When your child does something like this, your first instinct can be forcing him/her to share or telling that it is a selfish act.

Forcing your children to share or telling them they are selfish won’t help, though, because they’ll start associating sharing with negative consequences and make them feel embarrassed. When children feel embarrassed, they will become defensive and that will make it hard for you to teach them anything.

Allow your child to make decisions about his/her possessions

Sometimes the reason behind your child’s reluctance to share may not stem from being selfish as he/she may just be concerned that his/her things will get damaged or lost. So before letting someone else use your child’s things, ask for his/her permission and let the child have the option to say no.

To ensure that your child doesn’t end up being selfish, though, try finding out what items he/she would like to share and which he/she won’t share. Allowing your children to make decisions about their things doesn’t mean extra lenient, you can still install a spy phone app on their phone to keep them safe.

Raising your children in a spiritual environment can encourage generous behavior

Most religions that exist encourage their devotees to be giving. For example, Christians believe that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” as the Bible says. In Islam, there is a practice called Waqf that encourages devotees to irrevocably donate a portion of their property as a means to benefit the public.

On the other hand, Buddhism teaches that being generous can help its followers attain enlightenment by eliminating greed, attachment, and other bad tendencies. There’s also a concept called Tzedakah in Judaism that says donors benefit as much the poor they give to or more by getting merit from doing the Almighty’s work.

Try to reason with your child

Allowing your children to make decisions about their things does not mean you mustn’t get involved when they start fighting over them. Once things start getting heated and tantrums are being thrown, you need to extract your child from that situation until things cool down.

When both parties have cooled down and are ready to listen and talk to each other in a compassionate and constructive manner, bring them together. After bringing them together, try to explain to each child how the other must be feeling and try to suggest solutions that will benefit both parties.

Be a good role model

The best way to teach your children to become generous is by making them used to see it being practiced, so make sure you share your stuff with them. That doesn’t mean sharing stuff like your phone with your kids, but regularly sharing things like ice-cream and accessories like hats will encourage your children to be generous.

Besides sharing with your kids, being generous to other people will help your kids cultivate empathy for other people who aren’t family.

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