If we are to ask a thousand people the above question, we will get a thousand different types of answers. So, what is the correct method to teach a young child?
I do not have a magic formula. Neither my method is the right one. Each of us have our unique methods in dealing with our own kids. Who is to say or judge that you are doing the right thing or the wrong way? Of course, when we come to the question of abusing kids, it is definitely WRONG! There is no excuse for such behavior!
Below is an incident which I encountered many years ago.
I visited my good friend one day. There, I saw his two children quarrelling and fighting over a big rubber ball. The father just brushed them aside, and dismissed them by making both of them stand at opposite corners of the dining room. I asked the father for permission to handle the case.
I spoke to both of them. The ball belonged to the elder one but the younger one wanted to play with it. The elder refused to allow him. That was the main cause of the problem.
I said to the elder one, “When you have the ball you are happy. Now your brother wants to play with the ball, you become unhappy and do not let him have it. Now your brother is unhappy. How can you be happy when you see that your brother is unhappy? If you allow your brother to play with the ball, your brother will be happy and you will not be happy because you cannot play with it.” I turned to the younger one and said, “Now when you get the ball and play with it, you will be happy but your elder brother is unhappy. How can you be happy playing with the ball when you see that your brother is unhappy?” Then I posed the question to both the kids. “How can you make each other happy at the same time?”
The elder one was very quick in his reply. “We play together. Then both of us will be happy!”
“Ah, you are very clever and understand very well. There is another way you can both be happy. Do you know what is it?” I asked the elder child. “I don’t know,” he replied.
“Now, I share this secret with you. When your brother wants to play with your ball, give it to him to make him happy!” “Then I will not be happy?” the elder interrupted. “Ah, learn this secret: You should feel proud and happy because you have made your brother happy. When you see that your brother is happy, you should also feel happy because you make it happened!”
Do you know what the two kids choose in the end? I let them have their choice to make each other happy!