My 6 year old recently he gave away a bunch of pokemon cards (these are collectible cards that can also be used to play a game, but he is a little too young for that) and now he regrets it. At the time i tried to at least slow him down, he was giving them one by one to another boy.

In general i feel that if something is not dangerous he should be allowed to try it and learn. After all these were his own cards.

Some background: He was given a large pile of cards by his cousins. He has given away a few to other friends before. He also has a treasure-drawer, from which he has previously given stuff away to other kids. These are treasures he found or was given like shells, a feather, a self-made bracelet. We have been reading Pippi Longstocking (a book character who often gives presents to other kids).

I wonder if i should have stopped him completely. I have explained now that in the future he should not give way things he is not tired of, and that i will remind him of that in the future when he is giving away things. I still feel it's a bit too little too late and i find it hard to get trough to him that now that he has given stuff away, it is gone and he cannot demand it back.

Is there more i can do?

2 Answers 2


My son does exactly the same thing. He's 8 now, but at 5-6 did the same as yours.

I don't think there's anything wrong with this inherently, but I did have some concerns, so I did a few things.

  1. I gave him limits: some cards were somewhat valuable, so I asked him not to give these away. I defined this very carefully (they are put in a binder), so he wouldn't have any difficulty following this. I didn't make this a hard limit - I just said that these are more valuable, so please do not.
  2. I talked to him about friendship, and about the difference between giving people things because you want to be nice, and giving people things because you want to buy their friendship. I had a hard time making friends as a child, and if I'd had things to give away I probably would have done so in order to try and make more friends. I wanted to make sure he understood that this isn't a good way to make friends - it's a nice thing to do occasionally for your friends, but if he does it too much it might become expected.
  3. Though he didn't have any major regrets, the one or two times he had a brief regret for a card we talked about both thinking about future consequences, and about the card being fairly unimportant (compared to, well, food/shelter/etc that other people have issues with).

The main thing I suggest is that remembering a six year old does not have almost any understanding of future consequences - they do things that feel good in the now, for the most part. So both use this as a teaching tool, but also put some limits if you think it's going to cause more than just momentary issues. Perhaps talk with him now about what he thinks; he may well agree that limits are appropriate, and then you can remind him later what he said now. For the most part, though, unless there's significant monetary value, I wouldn't force any limits here - only add them if he agrees.


I think you've done everything right and you've explained the situation to him as well as you can. This is just one in a series of life lessons that your son will learn. It's good that he has learned it so early and in such a harmless way.

In order to help take the sting away, you might give him the opportunity to do some task (like helping you clean the house or do yardwork) in order to earn another pack of cards. I would not suggest merely replacing the cards; that would send the wrong message. You might even help him to embrace the joy of giving if he has the opportunity to do some card trading with the friend to whom he gave the other cards.

After all, what he did was not a bad thing. Generosity of spirit is an attribute to be prized. He just needs the maturity to be able to make those choices deliberately and not on impulse. A major part of learning that is experiencing the consequences, both positive and negative, so that he can make an informed choice.

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