The thing you need to understand about children is that no matter how much horror they see, no matter how many reality checks they get, they’re still immature and lack the reasoning capacity of an adult.
Selfishness doesn’t necessarily mean all children are horrible, it’s just their inherent nature. You have to teach a child to share and sometimes even up until the beginning of their teenage years, a child is unable to properly empathise and understand the feelings of others.
Of course every child is different and may grasp sharing earlier than another child. Also, the age range you’ve provided is an important factor.
Older children, after being selfish and receiving a negative response to it, will reason that it was their behaviour that got them the poor treatment, that it’s kinder to share your things so the other person doesn’t feel left out. Yet a younger child will learn not to repeat the behaviour because it made them feel upset and ashamed when they were scolded.
A child’s reasoning of what’s ‘fair’ tends to revolve around how they were treated in comparison to somebody else, regardless of the circumstances (e.g. new baby getting new things).
Children want to feel loved and protected. Even if they’re in an abusive environment they’ll accept and endure it either because: 1) they still believe, despite everything, that the one hurting them loves them, 2) they think that the behaviour towards them is ‘normal’ and/or 3) they’re frightened to tell anybody in case they get blamed for it.
It’s their trusting nature and their lack of experience that makes them this way. Even a child in a harsh environment will not be able to avoid/anticipate every pitfall. They’re quick to believe what they’re told and they usually believe their expectations will be correct.
If you tell a child that a spooky ride at the fairground is going to be something really exciting and funny, he’ll go in there and expect it to be like that. Until he comes out at the other end, hysterical because it was in fact the exact opposite.
An older child, who has better judgement, will take one look and decide then and there whether she thinks the ride is going to be an exciting or scary experience, as it’s likely she’s been in a similar situation before.
The key word to associate with children is immaturity. Even up to the age of twelve, kids can be immature (although twelve year olds won’t appreciate hearing this). They can sometimes surprise you with their open-mindedness and intelligence, but their childishness will show perhaps in the way they word themselves or in the way they respond to certain situations.
Younger children are also very silly. They do strange things and say strange things because they’re imaginative and like to amuse themselves. A child brought up in a harsh environment may be more withdrawn and cautious, but he’ll still be a child will do/say childlike things.
Listening to children converse is one of the best ways to learn how they differ from adults. Also, reading books where young children are main characters is another good place to start.
- Best books where the main character is a child (this misses out Golding’s Lord of the Flies andC.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia which I’m surprised about…)
- Writing Child Characters
- Writing A Young Character
- Differences Between Children and Adults
- Victorian Britain (this website is designed for children of a primary school age, but has videos and such. Also may be useful to understand how simplistic things have to be for children to understand them)
I hope this helps…! I’m not by any means a specialist in child psychology so, followers, feel free to correct or expand upon my answer.
Tips for respecting children’s spaces, competence, and general existence from a preschool teacher:
- Listen to them
- Ask them, “Do you want to say hi to your auntie/grandma/cousin/dad/whatevs” (Hint: they will be honest and this can result in a simple hello or a hug or a silly “No!” depending how comfortable they feel)
- If they don’t want to hug you realize it’s not that they don’t love you it’s that they don’t know you/don’t feel like hugging.
- Just like every other person who doesn’t want a hug
- In the event that you need to move a child EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY and WHAT YOU ARE DOING don’t just move them like PROPS they are CHILDREN and NOT props
- For instance, “I’m going to move your chair over so we have room at the table for everyone!”
- Or “Sorry there was a person running by I didn’t want you to get smushed so I had to pick you up!”
- Remind them that they are people not objects using your actions
- Asking children to do something they don’t want to do but NEED to do often doesn’t work, instead give them a choice, “Do you want to eat bok choy or yams?”
- NOT “Do you want to eat your vegetables?”
- “Do you want to brush your teeth in the bathroom or the kitchen”
- This exercises their ever-growing free will and is especially useful during TERRIFIC TWOS okay TERRIFIC not TERRIBLE they’re TERRIFIC
- Children will copy you, MODEL FOR THEM
- Being over enthusiastic IS beneficial for them understanding emotional and social competence
- “I hung this picture uneven, that makes me sad, hmmm! Oh goodie, I found my mistake! Now I can fix it, I’ll feel much happier when I’ve fixed it!”
- You think it sounds ridic yeah well hearing you do that children around you just learned to not get so discouraged by their mistakes and that it’s okay to try to fix them
- ADULTS CAN APOLOGIZE TO CHILDREN
- You make a mistake that hurt a child, APOLOGIZE and show them how to do it properly and genuinely
- Realize children are fully competent and are capable of making meanings from YOUR implications about race, culture, gender, ability, sexuality, EVERYTHING
- Many three year olds know what the N-word is, what gay means, can identify which children are visably disabled, and YOUR REACTIONS of their answers of questions about their culture
- Children like to talk about themselves so do not ever dismiss what they say about themselves as illegitimate just because it sounds silly or unlikely sometimes it’s true
- Stop talking about how you hate children, just leave them alone if you don’t understand them you don’t have to be complete jerks to PEOPLE you’ve never met
- I will post more and if people have question PLS ASK ME I WOULD LOVE TO ANSWER WHAT I KNOW
LOOK AT THE CHILDREN
#3 killed me.
The Monster Engine by Dave DeVries
Half children’s book, half demonstration, half workshop, half art series, ALL MONSTER!! Dave DeVries meets with children from across the nation, gathering their illustrations full of awkward lines and unfamiliar anatomy and paints them, adding an extra dimension to these irregular-shaped imaginings.
When I was in preschool there was this really weird system of time-out where they’d put you in this giant plastic bucket sort of like this one:
And the rule was you couldn’t leave the bucket for ten minutes.
In case you didn’t know, I was what the teachers referred to as a “difficult child” which is code for “walking entity of sass” so I was in the time-out bucket quite a bit.
Once they put me in the bucket for thirty minutes— and I thought that was incredibly unfair so I grabbed the handles and shifted my body repeatedly until the bucket and I were out of the classroom, in the hallway, and through the front door. They found me in the parking lot scooting to freedom in the time-out bucket. The teachers were furious and I said, “Hey, I never left the bucket”
So they called my mum and told her what I did and she just said, “Well, he never left the bucket.”
Turning Children’s Drawings to Toys by Child’s Own Studio
Remember all that crazy shit you drew as a kid? True story: when I was but a wee lad I was fond of drawing bones with wings on them. There was a whole family of them. Why? Who the hell knows, kids are weird! But how awesome would have been if a cool company like this existed: where they take children’s drawings and convert them to real world toys. Maybe one day my Flying Bones with faces can get the same treatment. Check out tons more at their flickr
I am SO doing this when Kee gets old enough to draw legible shapes.