Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Defense of Sharing: Response to "Why I Don't Make My Son Share"

Look out. I'm on a bit of a tear. So much so that I will be using the following words in this post: thusly, poppycock, and old-hat. That's right, I'm going early twentieth century up in this shiz. 

I keep seeing this post about why kids shouldn't be encouraged to share on my Facebook news feed. For some reason, I've read it multiple times. Every time I read it I end up doing one of those two handed palm up "why" gestures at my computer.  I don't know if you've read it, but allow me summarize it for you (or go read it and come back). 

Very Bloggy Beth starts out by telling us that the day care she brings her kid to is a parent co-op - meaning all the parents chip in and take a turn watching each other's children. It has a set of rules that every parent has to follow to remain consistent. Makes sense. 

One of these "we're all on the same page" rules is that any kid who has any toy gets to keep said toy as long as he or she want to. If said kid needs to go to the bathroom, from what I can tell, a designated toy watcher will keep the toy isolated until the child returns.  And this ownership applies to EVERYTHING. Monkey bars? Stay the hell off of them until Jimmy is done. Swing? It doesn't have Sally's name on it, but her right of inheritance remains intact while she is off making a poo poo. And the "wonderful" thing is, all the co-op kids have bought in to this strategy; so no one pitches a fit when they can't play with each other's Legos. I'm not even sure anyone even asks after the first couple weeks. Sweet, quiet obedience. 

OK, so let's try not to focus on the irony that is a co-op... a cooperative.. an  autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit THAT DISCOURAGES SHARING! Let's just continue on. 

Very Bloggy Beth then shows us some a couple "real world" examples of why the no-share policy is better.  

In the first example, a tiny toddler is playing with a car and an older, bigger toddler comes up and DEMANDS the car. Then they get in what she refers to as a "typical toddler scuffle" which I like to imagine looked something like this:

Eventually, angry bigger toddler's mom comes up, separates the two, and chides tiny toddler's mom for not teaching her kid how to share. 

In situation two, another toddler is playing with a toy in a sea of similar toys when a mom who doesn't belong to him comes up and instructs him to give up the toy he is currently playing with so the toddler she does belong to can play with it. Actual mom of toddler 1 is watching from the sidelines as not-his-mom fruitlessly asks over and over for not-her-kid to give up the toy. Eventually not-the-mom gives up and actual-mom chuckles from the sideline at her child's independence.  

Bloggy Beth doesn't agree with either approach, and here is where we agree. I don't either. But then we part ways again. She breaks it down thusly. (I've always wanted to say thusly)

" …it's a good lesson for you both to learn that this (giving your child everything they want) isn't always possible, and you shouldn't step all over people to get things. Furthermore, this is not how things work in the real world. In your child's adult life, he's going to think he's owed everything he sees. This is already happening in the next generation. "

"If you doubt my reasoning, think about your own day-to-day adult life. You wouldn't cut in front of someone in the grocery checkout line, just because you didn't feel like waiting. And most grown adults wouldn't take something from someone, like a phone or a pair of sunglasses, just because they wanted to use it."

See! She's doing us a favor. She is going to teach her kids not to share so they can teach other kids the all-important lessons of personal responsibility, property ownership, and life's unfairness. Additionally, the non-sharing toddlers will prevent our share-enabled kids from growing up into a sharer/taker generation. They will feel less entitled and more independent. They won't assume that they are owed. Atlas won't have to shrug. Rich people won't abandon us to move to a compound in Colorado. These selfish toddlers are going to SAVE THE WORLD. IT'S A MIRACLE! I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M YELLING!

OK… deep breath. That was a bit much. I'm just bugged. 

Look...you can't just nit-pick random, annoying adult behaviors and then directly attribute them to the unknown, albeit likely, chance that their moms made them share their Light Brights when they were kids. That's illogical, and to be honest, it's far too easy. Look, I can do it too! Can you believe that asshole going fifty in the passing lane for the last 20 miles. He must have had a mom that taught him not to share! And can you believe that Carl uses all three microwaves in the break room to heat up his three course lunch even though there are ten people waiting to use them? He must have gone to a parenting co-op where he had a designated "toy watcher" whilst he went poo poo. Society these days…

Yes, I know my snark is turned up to an 11, but I really think these one to one comparisons of lessons and behaviors we teach our toddlers to practical, real world, adult situations are complete poppycock. (I've also always wanted to say poppycock.) 

A no sharing policy is as ridiculous as a mandatory you-must-share-everything policy. Discouraging Jimmy from even asking to play with Alice's toy train is as dumb as telling Alice that she has to give it to him if he asks. We should be encouraging both! Let them interact. Let them learn to negotiate. Let them squabble a bit. Don't make Jimmy sit on the side of the playground and wait for Alice to walk away from her ball. There will be plenty of time to be awkward and antisocial in high school! 

And yes, I get that there isn't a specific "no sharing" policy at this daycare co-op. But it seems clear from the article that the "you get to keep it as long as you want policy" has stymied sharing to the point that it is rarely requested. That's a horrible thing in my book. 

How about this? Instead of teaching children to absolutely share or to absolutely not share, why not teach children to avoid being complete assholes. Use a different word obviously, but if your mega-toddler is roughing up some kid because he wants his toy – don't attack the mom. Teach your kid not to be an asshole. And tiny-toddler mom, please-please-please don't deny your kid the joy of sharing; encourage it. Yes, don't yank the toy out of her hands and hand it to ogre-toddler out of some strange obligation to communal ownership – but don't start with "You don't have to share if you don't want to honey," either. 

Sharing is a gift we teach our kids to give others, and it is a honorable and worthwhile action. It makes our world a better place. It is important. Don't worry; the world will beat the "mine" mentality into Alice and Jimmy without your encouragement. 

And yes, I like Very Bloggy Beth's closing idea that we need to teach our toddlers that they can get things through diligence, patience, and hard work. I think that is a wonderful lesson, and a great way to get things. Maybe it is a bit old-hat of me to say so, but on the off chance we want our kids to have friends, and not just things – perhaps we shouldn't cut sharing from the curriculum just yet.

(Yes, I've always wanted to say old-hat too).


John (Dad)

P.S. This is not meant to be an attack on Very Bloggy Beth. I'm sure she is incredibly nice. I found her mommy blog and read some of her other posts. She is a kind, loving mom with adorable kids. I just disagree with the sharing post. Please go check out her blog and leave comments and compliments on the stuff you like. And feel free to tell me why I'm wrong in the comments below. 


  1. Sharing is a fundamental trait "most" parents want to instill in their kids. It's not the simple act of sharing, but the first step in being able to co-exist with others who may have similar needs and desires as you. I doubt anyone wants to raise a selfish little monster... but unfortunately these days with families opting for only 1 child, this sharing trait is slowly disappearing. More and more often I see children and teenagers who never learned to share turn into bullies who take what they want because they feel they are entitled to it.

    1. Thanks for sharing Len! Ha! Get it! I am funny!

    2. As an only child growing up who likes to think of herself as a very selfless adult, I think it is a false assumption to think that the fact that you have no siblings means that you're likely to be a poor sharer.

    3. I agree, Stacey. I on the other hand, was an only child growing up but instead spend the majority of my time trying to do things for other people. Whether it be giving them a treat i just bought for myself because they look a bit down or going out of my way to do them a favour.

      However, perhaps rather bitterly (after all the bad stick we only children get), i have come to think that adults who have siblings say such things because they like to think the lessons they learned from having constant squabbles with their siblings growing up must have been good for something!

    4. The point is not that only children are likely to be poor sharers, but that they have the *opportunity* to be poor sharers that children with siblings don't have. It's rather like saying that a person in a sedentary job is more likely to be obese than a person in a physical job. If all things were equal, in terms of calories eaten, activity level outside of work, metabolic rate etc - having a physical job would necessarily mean you were less obese than if you had a sedentary one. Similarly, if a person has no siblings, they are necessarily going to miss out on the opportunity to share with their siblings.

      If I wanted to spoil my child and give in to his every whim, and let him play with every toy he wanted at the moment he wanted to - I could do so (within my home at least), because he is an only child. If he had a sibling, it would be impossible for both of my children to get their own way all the time - at least one of them would not get the toy, because the other was using it. That is why there is a stereotype of the spoilt only child. NOT because only childen are usually spoilt, but because spoilt children usually don't have siblings. 'All crows are black birds, but not all black birds are crows.'

    5. I agree in part to both. I try to instill a generous nature in my children, but at the same time I want it to be their choice. If you force a kid to share something that is very special (like my sons Bunny) he will share anything if approached nicely. Except, when it comes to his Bunny. He isn't mean but he will diligently explain why he doesn't wish to share it. I agree and understand and am proud of him for this behavior.

      There are those instances where another child doesn't ask and just takes off with his toy and my son will first try asking for it back nicely. If the child doesn't respond my son suddenly becomes obsessed with getting the toy back, first by explaining the "sharing" rules and that the other child should ask him. Sometimes this works, but more often he ends up getting into a toddler yelling/screaming match. When he feels right he takes a stand and doesn't back down. If this doesn't work I will ask the parent, if they are there, if they can please ask their child to return the toy. If no help from the parent is forthcoming then I will ask the child and usually get a result. I have never had it escalate beyond that.

      In conclusion, I believe everyone should be taught a willingness to give it makes us better people, but at the same time don't be bullied or shamed into sharing what you have with others. We should be WILLING not made to be generous, because if it's not from your heart it is relatively meaningless in the long run. Be kind but don't be a pushover.

    6. Allow me to be politically incorrect for a moment and say that Chinese people (I know many) tend to act very entitled, and their parents give them - usually - everything they want. Their children are more whiny than average, and adults have a difficult time working as a team or making sacrifices. This is obviously not true of all of them! I know many delightful families. But a generational one child policy is hard to learn around, especially for those in China (I lived lived in China and Taiwan, and know many in the states as well).

  2. Also, diligence and hard work won't get those toys if the initial kid is off cranking out a 40 minute poo. Patience will, so I guess Beth wins.

    One of the things Beth doesn't address is that, sure, to toddlers, toys are serious business. But they're TOYS. We need to be teaching kids that toys are just playthings, and sure, you like them a whole lot, but if you're at daycare or parenting co-op, or whatever - that's THEIR toy. If you've got your own toy and don't want to share, that's fine. Look man, I understand: you bring your transformer to co-op and some bigger kid starts playing with it and breaks it, and understandably so, it's the end of the world for you. But if you're borrowing a toy from the school and another kid wants a go at it? Sorry bro, but just fucking share.

    What they need to learn at the parenting co-op (besides the humbleness of PARENTS LEARNING TOO) is how to encourage sharing without making a kid feel like he's simply giving up a toy. This is going to sound stupid, but a helpful phrase I've heard (and used) is "why don't you show ______ how to use that one?" Or "Hey can you show ______ the cool thing that toy can do and let him try?" Then if you want to tack on extra points, you add in "which other toy would work in a game with that one? Go grab that and let's try." You've turned confrontation into empowerment and engagement and - GASP - made the kids play together, instead of independently with their own toys.

    Now, okay, see, Beth, I get it. I'm at work right now in MY cubicle on MY computer next to MY phone with MY coffee. If someone came up and wanted my coffee, it'd be (number one, a deathwish) weird. Because adults don't share EVERYTHING. But that's because we're adults and understand the difference between functional tools and playtime toys. When I go home, I'm going to play video games. If my wife or son want to play, I'll say "sure, hop on in!" It's a toy - I'll share it. Beth's example of an adult cutting in line doesn't usually pass at a preschool either; usually when a teacher asks that kids get in line, if they see someone trying to cut, the kid gets the "everyone has to wait their turn" talk. And further, if someone said "hey man, I left my phone at home, do you mind if I call my wife real quick?" I'd say "sure, no problem!" And again, if someone said "hey I left my sunglasses at home and am going to pick up lunch, can I use yours?" I'd think it's weird, but I'd say "yeah why not!" It doesn't make him an asshole or me a pushover. It shows that I am putting people over possessions. And if I needed my phone or sunglasses myself at that moment, I can say "shucks, I would let you, but I'm about to go out and pick up lunch myself." See? Fucking interaction. None of this "I'M LEAVING MY CUBICLE, MAKE SURE NO ONE TOUCHES MY STUFF."

    I bet Beth hates it when her husband picks up her plate after dinner to bring it to the sink. "Hey asshole! That's MY plate and you don't fucking TOUCH it."

    See, I can extend non sequitur examples too!

  3. I have teenagers, ranging from 13 - 18. I didn't require they share their toys with perfect strangers on the playground. But neither did I allow them to demand someone else's toy. They shared plenty, in and out of school, they've squabbled, stomped, threw a fit. *shrug* Welcome to kids.

    All kids must learn they don't get to keep it just because they put a hand on it. At the same time, you don't go to some random parent and bitch at them for not forcing their kid to give up a favored toy.

    Balance people! Nor do any of my kids cut in line, expect to be given whatever they point at, or to walk out of college with a six figure salary and company car.

  4. Spiffing reasoning, sir. Top-hole! I shall elaborate forthwith.

    Did you notice that VBB's emphasis is on what a no-sharing policy teaches the child without the toy. Yeah, so maybe it does teach them that they can't have everything they want just because they want it - but that's hardly a lesson in short supply. Parents generally know that giving a kid everything they want isn't a good idea - so PARENTS say no to kids all.the.time. Why add another 'no' when what is being asked for is something that it is emminently reasonable? Wanting to play with a toy at a playgroup is not unreasonable! Why not teach kids about disappointment when they ask for chocolate at bedtime, or to wear their swimming costume in the snow?

    Now, what does the no-sharing policy teach the kid WITH the toy? Nothing. They don't get to learn that they have the right to keep their possessions, because they don't understand that sharing is even an option. Sharing builds the groundwork for learning to play together. You can't play with another child without sharing. Think of how much more fun you can have with a ball if you share than if you want to keep it for yourself!

    Making a kid share is completely different from teaching them to share. I actually agree that no kid should be forced or shamed into sharing THEIR OWN toys. But when the toys are not theirs - then sharing is a great opportunity to teach them how the world works. To use VBB's examples - a line at the grocery store IS sharing. That's turn-taking. (Like you do with the slide at the playgroup. Or does one child play on that on their own until they are bored and another child can have a turn?) And most adults WOULD lend an item, such as sunglasses or a phone, to a friend. Her examples, cutting in line, taking another person's phone - are not about sharing - they are about taking! Sharing is ALL ABOUT teaching empathy for others. About NOT just taking/holding onto something because you can.

    1. This. All of this. You add some pretty awesome points there, my friend. Look out John, this guy is gunning for your non-paying job. Also, bonus points for using the words spiffing, top-hole and forthwith.

      Stevie (aka wife of John)

    2. Not a guy, but still super awesome. Nicky writes Metaphors and Mammaries (http://metaphorsandmammaries.blogspot.com/) which I assume means she has mammaries :)

    3. Aw shucks! I'm blushing here, guys. Thanks (And yep, not a guy.)

  5. Possibly already said, but my take on her blog was that the first example was a kid bringing a toy from home to the park- I don't think he has to share that, and the mom basically insulting the mom of non-sharer was really rude. The second example was a public play thing, and just laughing from the side lines as her kid hogged the toy was wrong. She tried to justify it by saying there were similar toys available, but the same could he said about her kid.

    If this kid keeps not sharing and getting away with it, isn't it possible he will feel entitled too?

    Short version- I agree we need a happy medium between over-sharing, and hogging things.

  6. I feel this is one of those issues where there are no absolutes. It's contextual and developmental. I have never forced my son to share. I might point out another child wants what he is playing with, or I might remind him that it's more fun to play with someone. I try to model good behavior by sharing my things and I'm charitable with my belongings and my time. But, I never take a toy out of my child's hand and give it to another child (unless that toy belongs to the other child). My son is entitled to enjoy playing with a toy without constant vigilance against another person coming along and forcing him to give it up. My child's needs and wants are just as important as another child and he shouldn't feel compelled to always make the sacrifice. That being said, my son frequently shares of his own volition. He is very good about others playing with his toys, sharing wen he sees other kids want what he has, and he will often make trades or even later find the kid that wanted the toy he was playing with and give it to them when he is done. My son is 3 years old. I think that's pretty good. I think he has learned to share, not out of simple compulsion, but because he knows it makes others feel good & he gets satisfaction out of that.

  7. Yes! Yay for balance and learning to share. I especially like the "toddler shuffle." I could watch it all day.

  8. I think you're over-reacting to her post. It doesn't sound to me like she doesn't encourage her kid to NOT share, but rather that she tries to find a balance.

    Yes, kids should share. But yes, they also should be able to set certain boundaries, which sometimes include "I'm playing with this, so you can't take it from me, just because YOU want it. You can have a turn when I'm finished with it. (Which, at this age, is probably 5 minutes from now.)"

    There are times when a kid NEEDS to feel like they've got ownership over certain things. For example, your body. Also, personally think that once a kid has food on his plate (assuming he didn't hog it all) that's a pretty good boundary. "This is my food, and you can't have it unless I DECIDE to share" Some manuals suggest that if a playdate is happening, you let kids pick 2 or 3 toys they're not willing to share, and put them aside until after the playdate. Is this awful? Does this mean they're not sharing? Or does it mean that, hey, these are mine, and for some reason, these are important to me. I don't want to share them. It may seem silly to us that the kid doesn't want to share his green car today, but someday that can translate into healthy boundaries and an understanding that some things are for sharing, and others don't have to be - rather than a sense of guilt and that one should always share no matter what.

    1. Hi Peter! I replied to this comment on Reddit, but I'll post the reply here to. Thanks for leaving a comment on the blog BTW :)

      I agree with everything you've written here. I don't think I say anything to the contrary in my post. My issues aren't with kids wanting to assert ownership over their bodies, food, toys. It's the general tone of her whole piece. The subtitle is "SHOULD YOU TEACH KIDS TO SHARE?" and to that I say, yes. Yes you should.

      I definitely was on a rant when I wrote my post, and some parts are over the top - even over-reacting. I admit that in the piece. But I stand by my point. She cherry picks two random examples of poor behavior by toddlers and adults and uses that as the basis for her argument. She makes generalizations about an entire generation on the basis of something she has no way to prove. I.E. kids these days feel so entitled because they were forced to share when they were toddlers.

      This part of your comment caught my eye.

      "rather than a sense of guilt and that one should always share no matter what."

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. Forced sharing isn't sharing. It's taking. I advocate for a more balanced approach towards the end post - not forced sharing. You may not have gotten there because my snark caused you to click away (totally understandable). I say:

      "A no sharing policy is as ridiculous as a mandatory you-must-share-everything policy. Discouraging Jimmy from even asking to play with Alice's toy train is as dumb as telling Alice that she has to give it to him if he asks. We should be encouraging both! Let them interact. Let them learn to negotiate. Let them squabble a bit. Don't make Jimmy sit on the side of the playground and wait for Alice to walk away from her ball. There will be plenty of time to be awkward and antisocial in high school!"

      TLDR: I agree with you.

  9. I usually tell my kids they don't HAVE to share, but if they do... it is very likely they will have more friends, and more fun. If they're being a greedy little asshole about it though, I will MAKE them share. Sometimes I'll even take the toy in question and give it to the kid that was eying it and make my own kid go sit in timeout and tell them to think about how they would feel if someone treated them the way they were just treating their friend. Maybe we're not talking about teaching our kids about sharing? Maybe we're talking about trying to teach them not to be assholes? Just a thought...

    BTW my kids are generally not assholes. Just thought you should know.

  10. Since you asked...

    I think you unfairly misrepresent her perspective when you summarize her post as "why kids shouldn't be encouraged to share" and her co-op policy as one "THAT DISCOURAGES SHARING". And worst of all, "She is going to teach her kids not to share..." From a logical standpoint, that's like saying my parents discouraged me from becoming a doctor because they didn't proactively *encourage* it. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

    In my opinion, she's much more concerned about kids feeling they have a right to take something from other kids, which, by corollary, is about whether the other party should be forced to share it. She then projects this into adult behavior, which I agree with you is a few steps too far. Clearly, she's frustrated by the sense of entitlement she sees among the younger generations and creates a causal link between the two, rightly or wrongly. Despite the subtitle, she doesn't really have much to say about sharing, other than not thinking it should be forced on kids...which is more a statement about coercion than sharing.

    So there's a lot that's not said in her post. Maybe there actually is plenty of voluntary sharing at her co-op (which would not be ironic at all, by the way, since forced sharing isn't really sharing at all). Maybe she encourages her son to share when there isn't a surplus of toys and moms don't act passive-aggressively. I think we should give her the benefit of the doubt.

    (On a personal note, this struck close to home for me. My wife used to take issue, not with the things I said, but with what she heard, which she often admitted was very different than what I said. I think if you re-read VBB's post, you'll find that she takes no stance on whether kids should be encouraged to share.)

    1. I just realized you replied to a similar comment to mine above...Oops!

    2. Adam!

      Well written. Well said. I appreciate you pointing out some pretty valid flaws in my summation of her post. I definitely filled in the blanks with some of my own assumptions, and I think you pointing them out adds a lot to the conversation. So thanks!

      My buffet-o-snark was definitely influenced as much by the conversations I've seen surrounding the post as it was by the post itself - yet a lay most of the blame at Bloggy Beth. That's probably not fair.

      I guess I just take issue with how she points out the "bad" behavior of other kids (a whole generation to be specific)yet has little to no self reflection on her or her child's behavior. And she oversimplifies the topic. Granted, "teach your kids not to be assholes" is pretty oversimplified too. So... yeah... I could argue with myself on this one too.

      Anyway! Bottom line. Thank you for disagreeing with parts of my post. It makes me think, and that makes me a better writer and a better dad. You're welcome to call me out any time.


    3. Isn't it funny how consistent people are in taking credit when things go well and blaming others when things go badly? I think we're just hardwired that way.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing the topic. I'm a new dad and *very new* to the parent blogs, and I'm really enjoying yours. Keep up the good work!

  11. The thing I really liked about that article, isn't necessarily her views, but the fact that it made people stop and think about how they handled a certain parenting situation and realized that there is more than one way of doing things. I think we all just rack up the mom guilt and think "our kid has to be perfect and do what all these other kids are doing well" sharing being one of them. This article gave permission for moms to stop and think "what is it that works best for me?". One of the greatest things about our generation is that we're not afraid to break out of the old ways and try something new because we see the research and are trying harder than ever to do the actual best thing instead of the traditional "best thing". For me personally, I find that I really do a combination. I don't encourage my kids to be assholes, but I also acknowledge that they each have feelings that should be validated. The validation is what is important, not the act. For example, if my son has an item he really wants to play with and my daughter comes up and takes it from him and I force him to let her because I'm "teaching him to share", what I'm doing is causing him to get defensive and he forgets all about sharing and only thinks about how he is wronged. But when my daughter comes up to him and takes it, he screams, I may ask something like "does that make you upset when she takes that thing?" and of course he says yes, so I turn to Audrey and say something like "do you see how that made Nate sad when you took that?" and I encourage her to give it to him so he can finish what he is doing. When I do that, he willingly gives it to her (of course this isn't every time because I'm not the goddess of patience). I'm just making the point that forcing a child to do something will only teach them how to be defensive and angry, but there are many other ways to teach them to share that are less invasive. I think it depends on the situation and the child. I don't agree that you're teaching your child things that are going to carry over as adults. That's insane. But I like that this article got people thinking about alternative ways to parent that are more peaceful and less controlling.

    1. This sounds like a very nice, balanced approach. I like it. Encouraged sharing and helping them think through the reasoning is optimal for sure. I think there are times when forced sharing is necessary though.

      For instance, we go to a park with a water pad by our house. It has a water cannon in the middle of it. Duchess will camp on that cannon for the entire day if I let her. She will not tire of it. The rest of the kids love it too. So, inevitably, she has to be forced to share it. Now when I say forced, I don't mean that I forcibly remove her from the water cannon. OK, once I did - but that was after a good five minutes of espousing the virtues of sharing.

      Which brings me to a larger point that I think all parents can relate to. All of this "parenting theory" is great and valuable to talk, write, and comment about - but when we're in the trenches and actually parenting, things are different.

      Saying "I'm never going to" is one of the most futile things a parent can do. Sure, there can be some absolutes. I'll never freeze my kid in carbonite and sell her to Jabba the Hut. But most things live in a grey area where actions are determined by the severity of the situation.

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for your comment!

  12. Picture it, 1994, The Backstreet Boys are yet to break teen girls hearts and I am 22. Yet to have pregnancy wear and tear on my body, an active social life and I can eat whatever i want and not gain a.......Sorry I digress! Right 1994 and I am about to quit working at the day care I was an assistant at. I got into the work because I love children. Then it got all analytical.

    Adult concepts put onto these young kids. The straw that broke it for me, was colouring books. We would no longer have colouring books because the children would see the perfect pictures in these books, say a dog, and fall into an abyss of dismay due to their inability to draw a dog to the same level. So as to not destroy their self esteem or artistic talent, we would do away with the offensive colouring in book!!

    Now this descision wasn't based on a poll of 3-5year olds, it was what the adults perceived!
    I for one loved my crayola and colouring book time, truth be told I can dabble in adulthood too occasionally......Do I think it stunted my brilliant artistic career?!? Nope, it was the "Not having the talent part" that did that....
    Now we have the adult take on childhood sharing (Gosh when we were little we took turns having a bath and used the same bath water! How's that for sharing!!) and attachment parenting and quiet frankly it makes for a scary future society......Kids that don't share and feel like they are entitled to be the centre of the Universe.....
    Now it might be silly talk due to having lead paint on my cot or the odd fall from the playground onto the BITUMEN soft fall......but it seems to me some of us are making parenting harder than it needs to be and working as a teacher aide now I see staff constantly shaking their heads at the attitudes on some of these kids...........

    Gets down off soap box and goes in search of 22 year old self photos, sigh!

  13. Right so we teach the kids how not to be "entitled" by entitling them.
    Sound like politically motivated logic.

    1. Not sure what you mean Dan. Mind elaborating?

    2. "In your child's adult life, he's going to think he's owed everything he sees. This is already happening in the next generation."
      I see this as a complaint about the the sense of being entitled to something. entitlement being a politically motivated word these days.

      the idea there is that kids not getting what they want will prevent that sense of entitlement. But the way the not sharing teaches this is by making sure they get what they want by entitling them to the object. its nonsensical.

      No matter. the whole thing is junk. its sociological "common sense" which is almost always wrong.
      anytime people say we should do things in a certain way based on how they think one social action effects another is on the wrong path unless they have some kind of useful data that gives evidence to the effects.

      there is nothing there but the authors thoughts on the matter. All of the meat of the why it should work is useless data.
      It likely should be discarded as just that.

  14. If it is someone's personal toy,,, I get it to an extent. However, when it comes to playground equipment I say absolutely not. Swings & monkey bars are there for everyone and as far as toy watchers watching out for things while kids are going to the bathroom i'll just say what my mom use to say to me, "You cruise, you lose."

  15. another perspective on sharing that has been useful for me:

  16. I work with kindergartners for two hours every work day, and we have some sharing rules. The kids came up with: You can't say "You can't play." which is great when they're playing with the classroom's toys, but this doesn't mean that the person who wants to play gets to have everything their own way either. They're also expected to allow someone else to look at a book with them, but the person who picked it up first gets to hold it! They understand the concept of sharing the books and toys doesn't mean giving the item to the other person and not getting to use it themselves. They're supposed to play together. We also try to make sure that the kids understand the difference between someone's personal stuff, like crayons or markers brought from home, and the classroom supplies. The classroom supplies must be shared; they're for everyone, and everyone must take care of them. Someone's personal supplies may be shared, if the child wishes to. That goes along with the rule about coloring on another person's paper: you don't touch someone else's paper unless they say it's ok.

    Somehow, these rules seem to make sense to all the children and they've embraced them. They actually get the concept of shared/communal stuff and personal stuff, and that the rules are different for them. That might be difficult for toddlers, but you can't start too early! I'd be very concerned about the kids from this co-op when they get to school; no one will be guarding their toys then!

  17. “On Sharing “I’m sorry, but if your brother doesn’t want you to play with his shit, then you can’t play with it. It’s his shit. If he wants to be an asshole and not share, then that’s his right. You always have the right to be an asshole—you just shouldn’t use that right very often.” ― Justin Halpern, Sh*t My Dad Says
    So a friend posted this last night, and I totally agree. Sorry for the language, but I guess not everyone can be as creative and awesome with their use of expletives as you! Hats off to you sir! Your insights are a breath of freash air!

  18. Oh my aching head. I'd like to see all parents take a big step back, a big breath, a stiff drink, and let kIds be kids. You want nice kIds? Be nice. One who shares? Share. Kids look more to adults for understanding than they do other kids. No guarantees, but it puts soms good odds in your corner.

  19. Oh my aching head. I'd like to see all parents take a big step back, a big breath, a stiff drink, and let kIds be kids. You want nice kIds? Be nice. One who shares? Share. Kids look more to adults for understanding than they do other kids. No guarantees, but it puts soms good odds in your corner.

  20. I work with kindergartners for two hours every work day, and we have some sharing rules. The kids came up with: You can't say "You can't play." which is great when they're playing with the classroom's toys, but this doesn't mean that the person who wants to play gets to have everything their own way either. but you can't start too early! I'd be very concerned about the kids from this co-op when they get to school; no one will be guarding their toys then!

  21. Sharing is socialism. FU, got mine.

  22. My rule at home or at a play date is, you dont take things out if others hands. If you want to play with it you have to ask and if the other is still playing with it we set an egg timer for 4 min. Then it goes to the other kid. Then back and forth til they get board with it. Works well. No instant gradifacation for one and no forced sharing dor the other.

  23. My husband is an only child, whereas I was one of four kids. I had to share everything and he had to share nothing growing up. It has literally taken years of our relationship for me to "train" him into sharing things with me (e.g a taste of his meal at a restaurant!). This makes him sound like a spoilt brat but I totally get where it comes from. Please make sure kids learn to share. It's an everyday skill and makes life more fun!

  24. I like your post and agree with you. I too was surprised at how many people supported this mommy's non-sharing policy banter on Facebook. I hadn't fully read her post until recently, because I knew that anything titled " why I don't make my son share" may be a little one-sided. A relative of mine was adamant I should read it so I finally did. The author makes some good points about jerky parents (types that I too have encountered), but as I had feared, the author's opinion is not balanced. I have two young boys; both are very different personalities. My first Son looks and acts much like me. My husband and I were both concerned about just how passive he was as a toddler. Other kids would hit him and take his toys repeatedly (one in particular) and he would totally allow it with no retaliation. We taught that son to better stand up for himself and exemplified being assertive in such situations so he wouldn't get stepped on (in a non-jerky way). I am proud to say he is now appropriately assertive (in a non-jerky way). My second son came from a completely different mold then the first and he is more like his father was as a child (far too "assertive" at times). Teaching him to share has been difficult but as you say it is important so I continue to work on it. I believe that for my child who sharing doesn't come natural too it is essential that he learn this skill for his future in social situations as an adult. It would be easier for me to just say my second boy doesn't have to learn this life skill. But that would be like not teaching my first to stand up for himself. Guess what, these tricky situations are part of being a young parent!


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