I don’t make my daughters share.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve impressed upon my daughters from a young age the importance of sharing. I’m not alone. I hear moms talking about it and encouraging their children to do it wherever we go. We talk about sharing from the time our children are toddlers. It’s stressed on the playground, in play groups, and later, in the classroom as well. The concept isn’t an easy one to grasp for children. Even some adults I know have issues with sharing.
So why do we push our kids to share, share, share? We want them to learn the skill and to grow up into considerate, caring individuals. But where should we draw the line? Do our kids always need to share everything?
Sharing isn’t easy.
Sharing isn’t easy for children. It takes practice and patience. Don’t expect children to pick it up right away. It’ll be necessary for you to offer gentle reminders over and over again. Sometimes, your children won’t want to, be able to, or will have a hard time sharing. And that’s okay (and expected). Don’t expect young children to share all of their toys, all day without issue. Set practical expectations about how much sharing your child will be able to handle based on their age and the situation at hand.
It’s okay to have things that you don’t want to share.
Don’t push your child to share everything that they own. It’s alright for children to have some things that are special to them and that they aren’t willing to share with others. If your child has a special blanket or stuffed animal, for instance, they won’t want to and shouldn’t be expected to share that item. I usually remind my children that if we have friends over, they need to put away something that they aren’t willing to share.
The sharing mentality may be detrimental to today’s kids.
Of course, there’s value in raising compassionate children who want to help their friends, share their toys, and play together nicely. But the idea of “what’s mine is yours and yours is mine” isn’t always a good idea. I want my children to know that it’s okay to have special items that they care about, and that they don’t have to share. They may have their feelings hurt if their friends choose not to share, and sometimes, there’s a lesson in that, too. I don’t want to shelter my daughters from opportunities to be assertive and chances to learn from disappointment.
I certainly don’t want to raise three selfish daughters. But I don’t believe that all sharing, all the time is the right course of action towards raising well-rounded adults, either. How do you approach the sharing issue with your children? Why?
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