The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids  are answering reader questions again.
Here are a few of the questions I have received:
How do you teach young children to share?
My children, like most others, display selfishness at times. And sometimes they just want to play independently with a toy, which I think is not at all the same as selfishness.
Really, if you think about the attention span of a young child, they usually only play with a single toy for a few minutes at a time. If there is no hatefulness or gloating expressed, I would make the child waiting for the toy wait until the first child willingly puts it aside.
If a child says something along the lines of, “This is mine and you can’t touch it,” I would take the toy away for a period of time and explain that if it is such a special toy that it can not be shared, then it must not be brought out when others are present.
(See here why I don’t like forcing children to share .)
How do you raise one boy in the middle of a house full of girls? How do you tell the difference, in boys, between the natural “hunter instinct” (which should be allowed/encouraged) and senseless animal cruelty (which should not)? For example, chasing/hitting the cat, killing bugs, throwing rocks at birds, etc.
Since my only boy among 7 girls  is only 15 years old, I’m really just guessing on this one. He seems well adjusted and is always willing to lift the heavy loads and carry the baby if needed.
We try to give him plenty of opportunities to spit and chop and fish and dig and drive tractors  with my husband and other men. If there is a call at church for volunteers to help with moving furniture or chainsawing, we sign him right up .
We definitely don’t want him to only ever be comfortable around girls doing girly things, so we actively seek out opportunities for him to be around men we respect .
As for the animal cruelty, you animal lovers hate me if you want to, love me if you can, but I am not against killing pests , whether they are mammals, reptiles, or insects, if they are menacing. Examples of this would be squashing black widow spiders and scorpions, shooting squirrels who eat the garden produce, and killing egg stealing snakes .
Senseless cruelty is an altogether different thing, and I would not allow a little boy to gleefully kill a butterfly or throw rocks at a bird having a bath in a puddle.
I would point out to the child how much enjoyment and knowledge can be gained from observing the animal while it is alive, and that if the animal were harming people or property, then the we would be glad for the child to protect us from the animal.
Are you encouraging/requiring college? Do you pay for it or make them pay?
We do not insist that any of our children plan to go to college. We do tell them that there are more job opportunities for college graduates than for non-college graduates, but we also share with them stories of successful business people who used their intellect and resources wisely, but did not attend college.
Our children know that if they plan to attend college, we expect them to get scholarships and/or pay for their own tuition. They need look no further than their own mother to see an example of someone who paid her own way through college while waiting tables, and still graduated on time with honors.
It can be done and I don’t mind saying that I am proud of the hard work it took to achieve that!
Now, be sure to head on over to the rest of the 4 Moms’ blogs to see what questions they are answering!