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How to Deal With Selfish Grandson?

Questioner

A (57_male_Pakistan)

Reply Date

Sep 13, 2017

Question

My grandson is 3 years old. He doesn’t go to a nursery. He wants whatever someone else has, no matter what it is, and refuses to share anything with anyone. We have tried to break him from this, but nothing seems to work. How to deal with this selfish boy?

Counselor

Answer


grandson

In this counseling answer:

“Create opportunities where it helps to share or take turns. You can create all kinds of sharing experiences that can be fun: playing catch with a ball is a good one.Practice sharing with your grandson. Have your grandson share something with you or practice doing something that requires you and your child to take turns. Teach your grandson games in which players work together toward a common goal. Play football together or play puzzles together, taking turns to add pieces.”


As-Salamu `Alaykum,  

We’re proud of your care of your grandson, may Allah bless him. Your grandson’s problem is one that almost all parents or grandparents experience with their child or grandchild. They can’t help but wonder at the child’s selfishness and this type of behavior. Actually, you can’t say that your grandson is selfish. He’s only 3 and what he’s doing is just normal for this age.

As a 3-year-old, your grandson has just learned the meaning of the words “me,” and “mine.” Everything around him seems to belong to him, or he would like it to belong to him; he wants everything and refuses to give anything. He is really too young to understand how to share. Three-year-olds don’t understand the concept of sharing, taking, or giving—this happens later at about 6 or 7. Around the age of 2 to 3 is the time to begin teaching children about sharing, but even older children, who understand ownership and that everything does not belong to them, may have difficulty sharing their things.

When young children can’t share, it does not mean that they are spoiled or selfish. Given time and a little help from you and his parents, he will learn. Tell your grandson that some things belong to other people. For example, “This is Daddy’s glass, don’t touch.” Show your child objects that are shared by everyone at home—the TV, chairs, and so on.

Help him choose some special toys that he does not have to share and put some others that can be shared in a “share box” that other children/guests/family can share with him.

Create opportunities where it helps to share or take turns. You can create all kinds of sharing experiences that can be fun: playing catch with a ball is a good one.

Practice sharing with your grandson. Have your grandson share something with you or practice doing something that requires you and your child to take turns. Teach your grandson games in which players work together toward a common goal. Play football together or play puzzles together, taking turns to add pieces.

Sharing is a big step for a young child. So when your grandson shares a toy, praise him. Try to make sharing more pleasant than not sharing. Remember that at this age he won’t want to share very much for very long.

Lead by example. The best way for your grandson to learn is to witness, so share your cookie with him. Use the word “share” to describe what you’re doing. More importantly, let him see you giving and taking and sharing with others. Do not make your grandson feel that he has a flawed character by calling him a selfish boy. Ultimately, our children learn more from what we do than from what we say. They learn best when what we do and say coincide.

Make lots of du`aa’ for your grandson. In sha’ Allah, with your effort and Allah’s guidance, you will succeed.


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