For the most part, children are good at sharing. They understand and even act on empathy, they’re caught up in friendships, and they like to please others. They have mastered most of the rules of social interaction, so unless they’re having a bad day (or going through a rough patch), they share pretty well. Father’s are sometimes liable to be surprised that they share so well, in fact, that they may come home from school with a classmate’s shoes on, because they’re “sharing.”
Some children, though, aren’t convinced that sharing is such a good thing. This is a matter of temperament. “Kids who are more easily irritated by changes or difficult circumstances sometimes have a hard time sharing,” says Susanne Denham, a developmental psychology professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Others have trouble sharing new toys or things that are in short supply (like playground swings).
Fathers can play a vital role in fostering new sensibilities in their children when it comes to sharing.