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How do I teach my 5 yr old not to give up things that make her happy just to please others? :(

I've noticed more than usual lately my 5 yr old will give up things she wants to do or that she loves if she knows it will make others happy. I try to tell her she needs to think about herself sometimes too, but she doesn't seem to truly understand what I mean by this.

I'm sure it's confusing for a young child to learn you can give up things some times but not sometimes.... her head is probably going in circles trying to figure out what the appropraite actions are to take. :(

How do I help her to realize she can't always do for everyone else but has to think of herself also? [I struggle with this myself so I REALLY don't want her to lose herself and her joys.]

FYI: She has always been a very sensitive child also. If you are upset it will make her cry, etc.


Asked by Memigen at 2:26 PM on Nov. 10, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (6)
  • My oldest is like that, as was I for most of my youth. It's a tough thing, I know exactly what you are talking about. Sometimes I'll pull him aside and remind him that it's his turn to pick a place for snacks with his friends, or it's his turn to play with something because friends X and Y had their turn. I think if you emphasize that everyone deserves their turn she will feel more confidant taking hers. Eventually in life I learned to stop being so nice, because people would often walk all over me. I think part of it is having them figure this out for themselves, no matter how much it hurts us to watch. :-/

    Answer by SabrinaBean at 2:38 PM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • Well, for starters if you see her give up a toy than step in and stop it. Say no, it is not your turn to play with this because...
    You can have her start picking out her outfits and lunch or even the family dinner so she learns independace and thought making.
    If she is senstive just keep your voice positive. She will learn.

    Answer by DonnaPinitonya at 2:28 PM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • Could she be modeling what she sees Mommy doing on a daily basis? (Being overly self-less, ensuring others joy before her own...)

    Answer by GoodyBrook at 2:32 PM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • First I am guessing she is only modeling what she sees mommy doing. Also have you always stressed that she must share etc.? I am thinking this is just learned behavior that she has gotten from day one. Now that doesn't mean it can't be changed now. Give her chances to assert her independence like choosing her clothes or dinner or what park she wants to go to. If she is playing with something and you see another child come near then let both children know that she will share when she is ready and be firm with the other child that they can't just take it.

    Answer by aeneva at 3:18 PM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • She may be GoodyBrook. :( But I don't want her to feel like I do. I feel so guilty if I have to spend money on myself and like I am taking every penny of that money away from my children and that something may happen that makes that specific money that I spent frivolous on myself. :(

    I can't figure out how to stop the cycle for myself... and that is NOT the life I want her to lead.

    Comment by Memigen (original poster) at 2:36 PM on Nov. 10, 2010

  • I already do enforce sharing (she has a little sister so we have to, lol), I allow her to help pick meals, pick her clothes, let me know when she would like to do certain activities (if she wants to color we have coloring time, etc), I allow her to choose what we watch when we have movie time and all.

    But she still seems to be giving up everything. If someone else wants to watch something else she will cave and let them put it in even if I tell her to put hers in and stuff. She isn't doing this to get her way all the time either because we keep things equal and allow her sister to choose when it's her time... but I'm scared it'll only get worse.

    Comment by Memigen (original poster) at 3:37 PM on Nov. 10, 2010