Thursday, September 11, 2014

Since When Did Sharing Become a Bad Thing?
I'm tired of coming across articles of why a mom doesn't make her kids share. Since when did sharing become a bad thing? Since people have misunderstood what it means to teach your child to share, that's when! We live in a world of parenting extremes, where people think if you do or don't do something a certain way, [insert extreme outcome here]. Some moms fear that teaching their kids to share means their children will give everyone what they want when they want it, at their children's own expense.

Um, no.

That's called being unassertive, acquiescent, and indulgent, qualities usually found in people who are bullied, abused, or just plain insecure. Sharing teaches children to be polite, respectful, friendly, compassionate, selfless, and charitable. And teaching children to share is just as much about when to do it as it is about how to do it. Sharing doesn't mean sacrificing what you have, like some martyr. It can simply mean letting someone else have a turn or playing together.

Here are the rules we follow:
  • If you invite friends over to play, allow them to play with your toys. Otherwise, what's the point of them coming over? If there are special toys you don't want others to touch, hide the toys before your friends arrive.
  • If you are in a public place with your toy, you are not obligated to share but it is kind to do so, especially when another child is asking politely and not just trying to take it away. It's much more fun and friendly to let other kids play with you and your toys at the park or pool!
  • If it's community property, whether among siblings or strangers, you must take turns. It is rude to hog a toy. In the real world, you have to wait your turn for things and then move on so the next person can go. Same principle applies with toys that aren't yours. The exception is if no one else wants the toy.
It is also important to teach children how to act when they are ones that want the toy, not just when they are the ones with the toy.
  • If there is a toy you want that someone else is playing with, politely ask if you can have a turn or can play together with the toy. If the child says yes, say thank you, treat the toy nicely, and return it when you are done. If the child says no, respect his or her choice and find something else to play with. Do not snatch the toy away or throw a tantrum.
  • Parents, do not give judgmental looks or make snide remarks within earshot if another child doesn't share. Once you are gone, you can take the opportunity to talk to your children about what happened. For example, if your little ones don't like to share, you can ask them what it felt like to be on the other side of the situation.
There are countless possible scenarios, so these are just general guidelines. The point is to show children it is good to share what we have with others. Of course there are times when sharing is not required or even a good idea at all, but most times, sharing begets friendship, respect, gratitude, and happiness among all involved. And hopefully, learning how and when to share will help my children grow up to be generous, considerate adults.

So, yes, I'm teaching my kids to share!
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