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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Sharing

I’m also against forcing kids to share. The only productive way of teaching anything is by example. If you don’t want your kid to grow up to be a greedy, materialistic person, let him observe you sharing and enjoying the process. 

I don’t teach Klara to share. Instead, I teach her the difference between “ours” and “not ours.” It was hard the first couple of times but now she knows that if I say “this ball is not ours”, she can’t take it. 

Overall, I think it’s not a good idea to try to get kids to carry burdens that are too heavy even for us as adults. 

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5 thoughts on “Sharing

  1. Demotrash on said:

    I wondered if I was the only one against it! From what I’ve seen it just makes siblings resentful of each other.

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    • Yes! Especially among siblings this is a dangerous strategy. It can very easily become a tool of parental triangulation where sibling rivalry is exploited to drive a wedge between the siblings and make them see each other as the enemy competing for resources.

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  2. Socal dendrite on said:

    I took pretty much the same approach, teaching my kids that the toys of other kids in the park are not ours (sometimes this is undermined by other well-meaning parents, who start insisting that their child share with mine…).

    At home, most of the toys are shared because it’s just not practical to do otherwise (at ages 2 and 4, anyway) and because it seems to work fine with my two – they often like to play together anyway. But there are a few special items that belong to each and that the other is not allowed to touch without explicit permission from the owner (and permission is not coerced in any way – saying “no” is always okay). My older child also knows that he can always take a toy into his room (rather than the shared living spaces) if he wants to play undisturbed by his younger sister. I imagine this aspect and the personal ownership of toys will increase as they get older.

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  3. Shakti on said:

    Klara is a little young to get sharing anyways. Isn’t she still in “this is mine/not mine?”

    You can’t really share something you don’t control anyways.

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  4. I read somewhere that Ayn Rand’s parents forced her to share, and that’s the result they got. So I am against forcing a child to do it since the opposite effect seems too likely.

    Also, regarding the linked article, the situation this small boy was in – “at least 6 boys, all at once demanding that he share his transformer, Minecraft figure, and truck” – sounds genuinely unpleasant. May be, it’s better not to bring toys to a playground at all, unless they are toys a child can and wants to share to play with others, like a ball. Some toys are inherently shareable – many children can play with one ball, while others like those the boy brought are more suitable for a solitary play or at most for a small group of kids.

    Btw, I don’t remember bringing any toys outside to share in my childhood. May be, a ball or two badminton rackets and their ball.

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