We often practice sharing with children by taking turns either playing with the same object or allowing a child to play with an object you own.
As we already know, learning should take place in different contexts and over long periods of time. Otherwise, individuals with FASD may learn their own methods, often referred to as coping mechanisms. In the case of sharing, coping mechanisms can look like borrowing without asking, lending out money or objects of worth, using items that should not be shared like medications and undergarments, or unfortunately, stealing. These bad habits or tendencies can be the result of a poor understanding of ownership mixed with a lack of impulse control.
We know that impulse control is a difficult symptom to work with for an individual living with FASD. As such, the best place to start is by developing a proper understanding of owndership and sharing.
The lesson of borrowing is timeless and all members of the family should be included. You can start by asking the child to hold on to something for you for safe keeping - this will help the child begin to understand what borrowing looks like. It is important to lend a child something, or keep something safe for you, because all too often we teach them how to borrow but we rarely teach them how to lend properly. This can be a dangerous lesson to learn as an adult when someone asks to borrow your money.
Look for ways to borrow something from your child, like a toy. This will model a valuable lesson about what is appropriate to lend out and what is not.
These types of lessons are critical for when a child reaches adulthood and begins to make decisions on their own. Challenge children and youth to understand consequences to lending and borrowing. For instance, ask to borrow a child's bike for a day knowing they will need the bike that evening to visit friends. Go as far as to ask to borrow a child's shoes when they are still on the child's feet. These types of social boundaries are not explicit for a child, youth or adult living with FASD and must be practiced for many years.
Have rules about lending money. Often we give our children money, however we rarely borrow from them. Experiencing limited finances due to lending is something that should be learned and practiced from a very young age. Individuals with FASD can be vulnerable to these types of situations whether it be from a need to fit in, naivete, or pure generosity.
Topics to consider discussing: