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. 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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    1. 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. 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. 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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