The lessons I learned trying to teach my child generosity

what if the act of giving doesn’t come naturally or easily, but instead requires practice and patience?

It is true that giving can help strengthen relationships among siblings. Studies on human behavior by psychologists, anthropologists, economists, and marketers all find that gift-giving is a “surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends.” And it is the giver, not the recipient, who experiences the biggest psychological rewards from the exchange. The gift giver experiences positive changes in brain chemistry, an increase in endorphins and a feeling of euphoria during and after giving a gift. According to Jeffrey Froh, Psy.D., of Hofstra University, and Giacomo Bono, Ph.D., helping others and being generous are essential for creating grateful, connected children. Feeling connected to those they are helping leads them to develop and value social relationships. Within a family, where siblings often compete with each other for attention, such connections are essential for healthy family life.

This time of year is a good moment to reflect on the value of gift giving. Surprisingly, it can have more benefits for the giver than the receiver.