Tip #3 – Sibling Rivalry & Conflict – Sharing is NOT Caring (when it’s forced) – 5 Minute Motivation

by | August 22, 2018 | 2 comments

Tip #3 – Sibling Rivalry & Conflict – Sharing is NOT Caring (when it’s forced) – 5 Minute Motivation

by | August 22, 2018 | 2 comments

Ok families, we’re moving on to tip #3 in our sibling rivalry & conflict series where we’re expanding on these 5 strategies:

1.) Avoid using comparison & competition between kids

2.) Let them have negative feelings about each other

3.) Teach them how to take turns & trade (vs. forcing)

4.) Have a mission to empower & mentor vs. fix / rescue

5.) Teach win/win & repair

Everyone has heard the term “Sharing is Caring” and while it is certainly true, it’s important to look at how our messaging sometimes gets muddled & confusing when we FORCE our kids to share.

Most of us would agree that our intention when we teach our kids about sharing is to:

  1. Help them learn why sharing with others FEELS good
  2. Understand that giving (or sharing) often will fill our buckets & make us FEEL even MORE valuable (and better) than receiving
  3. Teach them to spread the love & light when you are experiencing something awesome (so others can feel that same joy too)
  4. Mentor them about how to be respectful & mindful of others who think what you have is just so cool & want to experience that coolness
  5. Show them that living in a peaceful home feels fantastic & that they are part of creating that environment

These are all GREAT reasons why it’s important to mentor & teach our kids about why sharing IS GOOD.

Unfortunately, what gets us in trouble & causes our heart & head to feel unaligned (and to feel more like the grinch or the “mean guy”) is when our kids don’t respond as fast as we’d like,  and we move into FORCING them to share through guilt, shame, fear, bribery, or rewards.

  • “If you don’t share then _____________”
  • “Share or you’ll get a time out”
  • “I’m not going to tell you again, give your brother a turn, NOW”
  • “Don’t be selfish, you’ve had plenty of time with ________”
  • “Why won’t you just listen? Stop being so unkind.”
  • “If you’re a good boy, I’ll give you a m&m.”

In the end, we may get what we want (getting child A to share with child B), but someone is always PO’d or feels like they were just overpowered. This can really tip all kids buckets, but this will especially drain from our kids “needs” buckets who are power kids (children who have a strong desire to lead). As taking power from our kids in this capacity (fixing the problem, instead of empowering them to self-solve their challenges) leaves them feeling powerless, often causing MORE misbehavior to arise.

After a while, these kind of forceful “influencing skills” (so to speak) can come back around to bite us in the butt because we’ve never actually taught our kids WHY sharing is awesome & how GOOD it feels to develop solid sharing skills & instead just MADE them comply.

On the other end of things, when we consistently coax our kids into doing things by offering them candy, technology, prizes, or even our love & happiness, we train them to have a “what’s in it for me?” mentality. When developed over time, this “I’ll do it if you give me something” way of thinking can be SO hard to turn around because our kids are just so used to that being THE WAY.

So this week, I’m covering a few new things you can focus on with your kids that will empower them to develop their own sharing skills and experience the joy / fulfillment of:

  • giving up a toy all on their own (without being forced)
  • asking for what they want in a kind & firm way (this really helps kids (all humans) feel powerful!)
  • using negotiation / trading skills to create their own way to co-exist with other kids in peace

Starting with verbiage coaching is a great place to start when teaching kids about sharing vs. forcing kids to share.

Instead of:

“Your brother wants a turn, you can have 5 more minutes and then you have to share with him.”


“Little brother, it looks like you want a turn with your big brother’s toy. Go ahead and ask him “May I have a turn when you’re done?” 

  • Most times, kids will say YES, because this is not an aggressive or forceful compliance statement
    • Yes, you probably will have to coach your kids on using a neutral, kind tone when they ask others for a turn
    • Yes, sometimes child A WILL say no, which is a great opportunity to teach child B that we don’t always get what we want (but it was AWESOME to ask for what you want). But I’ve tested this strategy in SO many places (church toddler rooms, classrooms, playdates, the park, etc.) and it REALLY does work so good. Most of the times, kids say yes & then in a few minutes, move on to a new activity & share the toy.

When we allow your kids to work out their own sharing challenges, we empower them to:

  • Be courageous with their requests (yes, our kids need practice in asking for what they want)
  • Understand that they don’t always get what they want (after they ask) and that’s ok, that’s life
  • FEEL the incredible feeling of GIVING someone a chance to play with what you’ve got & actually placing it in their hands
  • FEEL the incredible feeling of their sibling or friend handing them a toy or item instead of being FORCED to by their Mom or Dad (this feels different when kids experience this with other children as they know the difference!)

Another great thing to teach munchkins is the idea of trading, which is a solid negotiation tool & empowers your kids to influence others & practice win / win strategies.

We’ll be back next week to talk all about our role as mentors (vs. fixers) when it comes to sibling drama & also how to tell ourselves a TRUTHFUL story about our kids relationships (that will result in feeling less frustrated, annoyed, irritated and angry)!




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  1. Debbie

    This was great! Thankfully sharing hasn’t been a huge issue with our 3 children.
    I remember when our oldest was little, my husband was uncomfortable with the whole concept of children asking for a turn. He pointed out that adults don’t ask others for a turn with something that belongs to another person (it would actually kinda be weird to ask for a turn with someone’s hat!) – or with common things like a magazine in a doctor’s office… in that case, we busy ourselves with something else and wait for the other person to finish (then don’t swoop in on it immediately after it’s been put down!).
    We tried to instill in our children that they don’t have a right to other people’s things. But when they have generous hearts and seek to share with others, it always comes back around… sometimes in unexpected ways. It seems to have worked, because we haven’t had many struggles in this area.
    I do like the two suggestions you offer, though, because they are both much more palatable than demands, and it helps children learn to communicate their interests and desires rather than always being the good guy who never gets to try anything fun because others always jump in front of him.
    PS Your hats are super cute! ?

    • Wendy Snyder

      Love those thoughts Debbie, and thank you! I’m kind of obsessed with hats! ha!


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