To share or not to share

Okay I love sharing I promote it regularly. I encourage sharing with my children, I want them to be willing to share their toys. Sharing is great, but the way sharing is taught by many parents is not. Yup pull out that shocked face as I discuss how I don’t like the general way sharing is taught in our society.

Picture this if you will you have your child nicely playing with a toy they are as happy as can be. Another kid comes over and decided that they want that toy. They try to take it from your child, they are unsuccessful so they start to cry. Now you step in and tell your child that they need to share, and give the toy to the other child. o_O oookay please can anyone tell me how this is teaching children to share?!?!?!? In all serious I see this everywhere. You know what this is teaching children. That whining gets them what they want. Don’t give the “oh they are just kids and I don’t want my child to be greedy and selfish” Uh yea you must that is what you are teaching them. Sharing is not just giving up your stuff when someone asks for it. Sharing is not going over and demanding someone give you their stuff because you want it. It doesn’t fly in the adult world why should it be what is expected of kids.
Children need to learn how to share. They really do, we are by nature generally pretty self absorbed. Little psychology lesson here. ( I like that kind of stuff)  When we are born we are primary controlled by our Id. It is our primary system that is pleasure driven and self satisfying. What the Id wants the Id gets. It seeks immediate satisfaction, it doesn’t focus on morality. Once they become a bit older, around 3, our Ego develops. ( not to be confused with what were refer to  as pride and lacking of humility in many people ) This is where reality sneaks in and they become more aware of what life is outside of their own means. It acknowledges outside forces on their world and can use them. Next you have your Super Ego, also can be referred to as consciousness. Here is where our children are aware of the outside factors and actually care about cause and effect. So here is when you child is going acknowledge sharing and how it effects others. This will being to happen around 5.  Please note the word BEGIN! This is developmental it takes time, patience, loving behaviour, and modelling.
Now of course you start younger with your children, in teaching sharing behaviour. There are a few things to think about. 
Look at age. Kids develop in stages expecting kids younger then 2.5 to share readily is a bit unrealistic. They are still in their primal stages and they see their belongings and know it is theirs. Do you give your stuff away to anyone who walks by and thinks its nice? No? Well why the heck not, that’s sharing isn’t it? No? Why expect that of your child? Children will grow and develop in different stages,  sharing will come in time, usually.

Acknowledge the item of issue If your child has special toys or things that are new to them? These are likely toys that will be issue toys. New toys are awesome, everyone wants to play with them. For some kids that can be an issue they maybe don’t want to share their brand new toy with others. They fear things getting lost or broken and that needs to be acknowledged. The same goes for their special toys. They should probably be put away for play times with others or not brought into play groups and such. Yes sometimes they will not separate from that special item, and you will have to be their voice letting others know that it is not a sharing item.

Choices Sometimes kids just don’t want to share, it happens. Most adults don’t want to share either. I want my children to be better than the general populous, so I encourage them to think of others, in regards to sharing. If they don’t want to share an item I ask them to think about how they would feel. I do not force them to share. I ask them to think and then they can either choose to share or offer the other person a choice of another object. There are always choice is the matter, and your child deserves a choice. By giving choice you are allowing you child the ability to think about why they share, how sharing can make them and other feel. 

Now I feel that sharing is important and it needs to be taught. It does not need to be bullied into children though. True sharing with empathy and thought needs to be modelled and explained to our children. That is this Mama’s thoughts. How do you teach sharing in your home?


8 thoughts on “To share or not to share

  1. Aily… BRAVO!!! Well said. I could not agree with you more! This happened just the other day to my cousin and her children, except the other child took the toys from my little cousins and the father said and did nothing!! What is wrong with this picture? You are right. They are basically teaching their children to be bullies. Heck… could you imagine me walking up to someone with an IPhone and just taking it? Yeah, right! Doesn't work that way. Honestly… something similar happened to my and my baby girl and we took our toys and moved to another area of the park. 🙂 Solved that! Blessings to you and yours!

  2. seriously, i think sharing is a lost art. I feel like it is a foreign concept for most adults. Sharing the road for instance. My son has a special stuffed animal which is not share-able. But I make sure he understands that everyone gets a turn with the other items. It is a difficult concept, though, learning to take turns. He is 5, but I think he is doing a good job learning.

  3. Sharing is something that should be modeled by the parents. The more we willingly give up our things, bless others and show kindness, the more our children will follow. My observation is generous parents raise generous kids. Selfish parents…well you get my point!

  4. Sharing is something we teach by modeling for our kids. When my kids were younger I never went to the park without an extra ball or sand toy or shovel. That way we could “share” without surrendering something we were playing with. That worked pretty well. I did what you do as well, if something is really special and they don't want to share it then it did not go with them. It's not easy being a kid, or a parent. Thanks for bringing up a great point!

  5. I think that kids will learn what they see and see often. That goes for generosity as well. What we did was brought multiple of things so that sharing with little ones was easier. Such a great topic!

  6. I have a Psych background- so love this. Developmentally you are correct. But just this morning my 20 month old shared his water with his brother – very willingly gave it over so his brother could have a sip. That brother then ran off with the water and wanted to keep it and not share with his bro. So we were 50 % successful. Sometimes kids come wired with some stuff that surprises me.

  7. This is such a good point, and so many probably don't realize that's what you're doing exactly…rewarding the kid for crying and whining in the name of sharing. I have to say though, when I hear the talk from adults on TV about people needing to “pay their fair share”, that sounds the same as going over to someone, and demanding they give you their stuff, all in the name of fairness and sharing. The adults seem to have much more to learn still;)

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