An article was brought to my attention recently. It's called Should You Teach Your Child to Share? The author is firmly in the camp of "my child does not need to share." EVER. Her child attends a preschool co-op where the children are not required to share toys. They can even call dibs on a toy and a teacher/parent will hold that toy for them while they go to the bathroom, break for snack, etc. They also don't have to share the swings or the monkey bars at recess.
I can't imagine what this place must be like, but for some reason I just keep seeing visions of the same three kids yelling "Mine, mine, mine!" all day long while the rest of the class cries in a corner and the parent volunteer shrugs her shoulders and says, "Shoulda called it faster, Otis."
When she's out with her child in a public setting, the author does not make her child share (she never mentioned playdates at home, so I can only imagine how much fun those are). One time she let him drive a Little Tykes car for an hour and a half while another mom repeatedly asked for a turn for her child. Can you imagine that conversation?
"Umm, hi. So, yeah, your son has been driving that car for almost an hour and my daughter would really love a turn. I keep suggesting that he share the car with her, but he refuses. I told him I'd talk to you. So, here I am ..."
"Yeah, I don't force my son to share. He'll give up the car when he's ready. Your daughter should have called dibs on the car. I bet she will next time. Really, my son is doing her a service and teaching her that she needs to advocate for herself more often."
The reasoning behind the author's decision is that the world is not fair and that she doesn't want to raise an entitled kid.
Newsflash, lady. You're not raising an entitled kid, you're raising a dick.
I get the idea of not wanting to share your toy at the park with a stranger. Totally. When my kids were little we never brought anything to park or the pool unless the kids were prepared to share it. The Hubs has always been an anti-sharer. He feels like the pool toys, the balls, and the jump ropes are all off limits. Get your own! He feels like if you want a ball, you should have brought yours from home. I don't mind the sharing, it's the destroying that bothers me. I hate it when my kid brings a toy to the pool and some asshole kid breaks it and the parents never even try to make their kid take responsibility for their actions.
I would sort of do a case by case when my kids were little. If we arrived at the park and it looked like a bunch of destructive hooligans were joining us that day, I convinced my kids to leave their loot in the car and just play on the slide. Now that they're older, the only thing that's off limits are bikes and scooters. My kids don't share their bikes and scooters with strangers and they don't ask to for a stranger to share theirs either. I'm not replacing a hundred dollar bike because your kid is a douchebag.
However, when they're at school with their classmates or hanging out with their friends, I have a strict sharing policy. You don't have to give up the toy right away, but you need to take a turn on the swings and then let someone else have a turn too. You need to play catch with the ball instead of bouncing it alone in a corner. You should do this without being reminded or asked. You should do this because you're a good person. Sharing doesn't make you entitled, it makes you an unselfish person. Look, I'm not trying to create a Utopian society here where we all sing Kumbaya and hold hands, I'm just saying that your want doesn't get to trump someone else's want. The world may not be fair, but it's also not a melee free-for-all where we fight to the death over sidewalk chalk.
Plus, if I don't teach my kids to share at a young age, then when will they learn? When they're adults? Ha. We become more and more selfish as we get older.
No, we have to start now while kids are still selfless and kind-hearted. Before they become jaded and angry. Kids are some of the most selfless people out there. My daughter would give me every dollar she had if she knew that I needed money. Would I do that for my parents? No way. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) She won't do it either when she gets older. My guess is, if I want some of her money, I need to move quick. Nine-year-old Gomer is already getting stingy with his dollars.
I think the author doesn't understand the definition of the word "share." In fact, I'm positive that she doesn't, because one of her real world examples was that people who learn to share are line cutters. What?? No one thinks that cutting in line is a form of sharing. I didn't learn to share my Barbie dolls so I could grow up and say, "I get to go to the front of the line, because that's how sharing works." I think we can all agree that's a dick move and learning to share didn't teach you that one.
However, there are many examples of where I share in a day to day setting as an adult. I share parenting and housekeeping responsibilities with the Hubs. He doesn't get to call dibs on sweeping the floors every time and leave me with toilet duty. I can't say, "Today I'm not going to give my salary to our joint account. I earned it and I'm going to keep it for whatever I want to do with it." I share carpool duty and meals with my friends. I share the road with other cars. I don't just bang into the car next to me and say, "I called that lane. It's mine. Get the hell out!"
This doesn't make a me a Communist or entitled. It makes me a nice f*cking person.
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