I’m in a lot of parenting groups where people pose a variety of questions and scenarios, hoping that other parents will give their insight.
Recently, the mother of a toddler posted in a group asking what everyone’s opinion is regarding getting your kids to share. Essentially, a situation occurred where another child wanted to play with her son’s absolute favorite toy, but her son didn’t want to share it. She was conflicted about whether she should force her son to give up his toy for a while or tell the other child that there were other cool toys to play with.
I thought the discussion was really interesting and one that would make a good topic to share with you.
Personally, I think that teaching our kids HOW to share is critical. It fosters a sense of generosity and selflessness that we need more of in this world. It also helps the adjustment into the larger society, where you do have to share resources and take turns, a bit easier.
However, I do feel that there are situations where a child (or a person in general) should be able to exercise their right to NOT share.
For example, if a child is at a picnic and has a very strict diet, they should not feel compelled to share their snack or meal just because the kids around them are.
Or, if they are at a sleepover and have a particular item that makes them feel secure in new environments, they should not be forced to share that item with others.
Or perhaps there is a child that is notorious for borrowing things and then either not returning them or breaking them.
Or maybe there is a child who always uses other kids’ toys but doesn’t share anything in return.
Honestly, there can be a lot of situations where perhaps sharing isn’t the best option. That’s why rather than forcing children to share, we should talk about sharing, explain why sharing can be a kind thing to do, and look for opportunities for our children to share- without stripping them of their right to make decisions on their own.
This made me realize that alongside teaching our kids about sharing, we should also teach our children how to cope when someone doesn’t want to share with us.
For example, if a child refuses to share a particular toy because it’s their favorite, many children might feel sad, angry, rejected, or disappointed. However, some options for their behavior could include finding another toy to play with, offering to share their favorite toy to make the other child feel better, or
What do you think? Have there been times when you were ok with your child not sharing? I’d love to hear about it!
P.S. Sharing is just one of over 600 life skills that we cover in our Skill Trekker program. We’d love for you and your family to join us! Become a Skill Trekker today.