Birthday gifts - when you wish it was yours

A mom shared that every time her 4-year-old attends a birthday party he gets sad because he's not the one getting gifts. She tried reasoning with him and explaining why only the birthday child gets gifts. This hasn't seemed to help.

Reasoning doesn't work well with young children because they really don't have the ability to think logically yet. This ability develops around age 8.

I suggested that instead she try comforting him by labeling his feelings: "You're sad because it's not your birthday and so you're not the one getting the gifts. You really would like a present too wouldn't you?" Although he won't be getting a present, Mom's compassion and understanding will help him deal with his emotions and feel better.

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