People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Do You Make Your Kid Share?

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Do You Make Your Kid Share?

Do you teach your kids to share? Do you enforce some sort of sharing rule in your house? What about outside of your house?


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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36 comments:

Sharon said...

I think she's really, really confused as to what sharing is and what it means to be entitled. When her kid believes he is entitled to exclusive rights to a toy then he is… wait for it… entitled and a jerk. Why would she want to raise an entitled jerk? Someone needs to give her a dictionary and a smack upside the head. Her child is going to have a rough time in the world. How sad.

Brittany said...

Goddamned right! My husband read this article, and then sent it to me. He agreed with a lot of the points she made, such as the world as an adult doesn't focus on sharing, ever. I could understand it, but still said Eff that noise. Learn to share or get punched in the taco is my philosophy.

Michele said...

Who on earth would think that's a good way to raise a child? Is he going to learn to interact with others, be compassionate or ever have friends with that attitude? It seems highly unlikely to me.

Holly @ Everydays a Hollyday said...

I share daily as an adult. I think this is a case of a bitch who thinks she's entitled. No way in hell would I send my child to a school like that, but realizing that there are schools like that out there makes me understand why there are so many douchebags in the world. If my kids are out, like a park or a pool, I don't expect them to share,unless they are actively playing with the other kids. If they aren't, then no the other kids can't play with our toys. They should have brought their own.

Brandy E. said...

I think the difference is sharing private property vs. sharing things at the park. I would make my child take turns on the swings, slides, etc. I would not make him share his own toys that he brought with him, that's up to him. (90% of the time he chose to share anyway). As an adult nobody comes along and tells me that I've read my book long enough and they want a turn....why should kids have to deal with that kind of thing?

Carrie W. said...

The OT (occupational therapist) I worked with several years ago used the word "trade" with small and/or delayed children. So rather than give up the awesome thing they had for nothing, they swapped for a new awesome thing.
With my own kids, with only one awesome thing, I used the "sharing timer". It was in my head and I would say "beep beep beep". They got the concept of giving up the awesome thing but also that they got it back.
So of course my kids are perfect, well adjusted citizens now. Not exactly, but it (usually) helped keep family harmony.

kherbert said...

I think there is a difference between sharing with a random stranger at the park, pool, or beach and sharing with someone you know. There is also the people you know that are not nice and the people you know that are nice.

My parents had a rule that we didn't have to share a toy with someone who was over at the house if we didn't want to. We just couldn't play with that toy while the person was over. So we had the only Atari in the neighborhood. The only reason Davy came over was to play the Atari. He was rude boarding on being a bully otherwise. So when he came over we put up the Atari. We weren't playing it, so we didn't have to share. His Mom threw and ever loving fit telling my Mom we were being mean and not sharing. Mom who preferred we play outside told her that if her son needed to play video games so desperately they should go buy him some.

In public places to often I see theft being called sharing. It is not sharing if someone comes over to a child and takes away the toy to play. Or picks up and walks off with a toy without asking like they are common property by virtue of being in the park. My rule for those situations is the owner has to invite the other kid to play/use the toys. The kids in my family tend to be pied pipers, and get scores of kids to play with then and they share the toys they have with them. But if someone is being a bully, the whole group of cousins will stand up and take their toys back explaining exactly what they don't like.

I'm dyslexic and dysgrapic. I was an early adopter many technologies because they helped me get around the problems caused by my LD's. I carried around a laptop long before they were a common sight. Several times I was scolded by entitled Moms because I refused to "share" my laptop with their child. This happened in an ER waiting room, airport, airplane. I was expected to let their child watch a movie of their choice on my laptop or let them play games. One Mom even took the wallet of DVD's from me and tried to handed to her child saying tell the lady which movie you want. (I stopped carrying my 1970's live action Walt Disney Movies for this reason). It happens less now with kids and my tablet or smart phone. The problem I have now is adults who realize I have a hotspot demanding I share my connection with them. That doesn't happen either.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You bring the craziest stuff to my attention. I'm so impressed with all the fancy names and theories people have come up with to support lazy parenting. Teaching my kids to share was freakin' hard. Had I known about this book, I might not have wasted all that time.

Expat mum said...

My kids went to a fab (not prissy) nursery school where they didn't make the kids share. That, they said, meant "giving toys to other children" in the kids' minds. Instead they had the kids talk about when the toy would be ready for another child. If a toy was heavily coveted, the kids would (on their own) come up with a sign-up sheet and agree a time limit. There were rarely any fights when they did this.
Of course, at some point we all have to learn to share resources, but when as adults are we ever expected to hand our phone/I-pod or other "toy" over to someone else just because they want to play on one of your apps. (Excluding our own kids, that is. Sigh. )

Anonymous said...

That is some ass-backwards bullshit if you ask me. HOW in the sevenhells is teaching your kids to share creating "entitled children"?? HOW is that not ENTIRELY the other way around??

LED522 said...

That is going to be one lonely child. I remember growing up and one girl on our block refused to share any if her toys. She would invite us over to basically watch her play. Whoopy!!! Then there was my house (youngest of 9 so we had a ton of toys) and one other house. If we weren't outside the whole block of kids were at one or the other houses.
We all took responsibility with the toys too. If we broke it we told right away. Were there tears? Hell yeah! But we all learned a lot back then. I do remember I brought home a progress report and the obligated nice thing said was that I shared well. LoL
Good day, ladies & gents

Andrea Herbert said...

There is a difference between sharing with others and demanding that others share with you. Demanding is what creates entitlement, NOT sharing.

Tazi Kat said...

I have seen this post a few times. Ironically, a Welfare Queen sent it to me with rhe comment that "people want what my kid got? (sic). "They gotta learn to work for it!"

Sue said...

Bravo!

Did I Just Say That Out Loud? said...

Reading this article and your words reminded me of something that a relative of my S.O. said at the breakfast table once. He said..."My kids surprise me with some of the things that they do. When a stranger in Walmart accidentally drops something those kids pick it up and hand it to that person. I would never think of doing something like that...I mean, it doesn't benefit me any." I am not sure if he was prideful or upset...I was too shocked and sad at his attitude and how he must have grown up. (Although the stores that the S.O. tells make more sense now.) We do not need more people in this world like that. Sharing is not a bad thing....kindness is not a bad thing either.

JuniperSunshine said...

Each of my kiddos have a few *special* toys that they never have to share if they don't want to - anything they buy with their allowance and a few birthday toys. Everything else belongs to ALL five kids, and I help them work it out when needed. They know if they bicker, the toy gets a time out until harmony is restored - our family is more important than our stuff!

And yeah, I don't want them to grow up thinking of money they earn as adults as "theirs". It belongs to the (nuclear) family as a whole. That's how hubs and I do it, and I always snicker when I hear someone advising newly marrieds to split everything 50-50. That's not marriage, that's a business partnership.

JuniperSunshine said...

I would be mortified to ask a stranger to use her laptop to entertain my kid! What is wrong with people? lol

Mallory Smith said...

Yes! I can't believe that she actually thinks sharing is what's contributing to this entitled generation and by not teaching her kid to share he won't be entitled.. Makes no sense to me!

Rebecca Rose said...

Thank goodness I'm not the only one who thought the mom of this kid clearly doesn't know the meaning of the word entitled. I'm channeling the Princess Bride and my inner Indigo Montoya. "You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means." Sorry, lady... You ARE raising a kid with a sense of entitlement. He's now under the assumption that just because he saw something first, he is...wait for it... Entitled... to have it exclusively. I'm imagining a fun trip to Disney World where little Dickie doesn't think he has to share his new friend Pluto with the other fifty kids waiting in line. Good luck, Mama... You're creating a monster.

Rebecca Rose said...

I would never ask a stranger for their laptop. That's hilarious. Some people... Lol

I think there is a fine line here... Sharing is healthy and should be taught. But kids should also be taught boundaries. In the case of this story, if a kid is at school on the swings or playing with a toy that is property of the school, then they should be taught to share. Its not your toy to claim... Its the school's. If we were at the park and my kids were hogging the swings, I'd tell them to try something else so that others could take a turn. That's learning to be respectful and courteous... As well as learning to be aware of the needs and wants of others. I would not expect the kids to share bikes or skates with complete strangers. We often take our dogs with us to parks, I would expect the kids to let other kids take turns letting strangers walk our precious pooches around the park. That's the difference between sharing and developing healthy boundaries. As Jenn pointed out... We have to share the roads with other drivers. We can't go mowing down pedestrians in the crosswalk because we don't want to share that stretch of road... That doesn't mean we invite them into our car, either. Sharing vs boundaries. It's common sense. Common sense tells me that when I see someone at Disney taking pictures with their iPad, I can't ask them to take my picture with it too... But learning to share means that when I'm in that same park, if we are sitting on a bench, I teach my kids to scooch down so that others can sit, too. I don't claim dibs on the whole bench because I saw it first! Common sense means I don't grab the book out of someone's hand in the doctors office waiting room... Boundaries! And sharing means that I flip through the provided magazines and put them back for others to read...

Rebecca Rose said...

Wouldn't expect my kids to let strangers walk the dogs. Thank you auto correct for changing the whole context of my sentence.

Rebecca Rose said...

I think the screwy logic here is that it teaches your kid to feel entitled to have something even when someone else is playing with it. I guess.... Trying to figure that one out, myself. What the parent and the school fail to realize is you are creating a new kind of entitlement where the kids tell each other "I don't care about your feelings... I saw it first and therefore I'm entitled to exclusively play with it." Wouldn't it be better to teach kids healthy boundaries ? No one is saying they have to share their lunch... Or something they brought from home . But playground equipment and toys provided by the school should be taught to be shared. In the real world, we must share resources in the workplace all the time. In office buildings people have to share copiers and office equipment... Often there is a break room with a fridge that you have to share. In the real world claiming dibs on the copy machine for the day or the top shelf of the office fridge would not fly. You can't stake your claim on the water cooler... "I claim this jug of sparkletts as mine!" Imagine a world where Joe in the cubicle next to you won't let you use his stapler because he saw it first. Heaven forbid you feel entitled to staple something else in the future. Lol

Rebecca Rose said...

Bravo. We have a similar system in our house. Four kids. Each kid has a few toys that are theirs and theirs alone. Anything they bought themselves or gifts... Everything else is community. They do have video games that they share, but I leave that up to their discretion and they do great. My son kept accidentally erasing his older sisters progress on games, so the new rule is that he can't borrow it until she finishes the game... And they trade. She loves Sonic... So she plays his sonic game while he borrows one of hers.

MomTriesHerBest said...

A taco punch!!! Lol!!!

Angie and Chris aka Supertwins said...

A good taco punch is the answer to world peace! taco punch..I'm totally stealing that

mspice3 said...

I am so tired of people thinking that their kids rule the world/run the show/are the end all be all and that they don't have to abide by the unspoken rules/norms of society..the other day I stood in a crowded grocery store patiently waiting to get to the chocolate while a father (who knew I was waiting) allowed his son to stand in front of me and slowly tell him a story about something that had gone on at school that day. This had nothing to do with chocolate, the grocery store, or the man in the moon...once the story was over about 3 minutes later, they moved out of my way. The question I have is what kind of people are we raising today? When did we stop raising kids that respect others? When did we stop raising kids that know how to move about politely in society? And what the hell is wrong with those things? I told my friend about this and she gave me some spiel about "now you don't know, maybe the child doesn't usually talk to the dad like that and he was excited to hear the story..." What? Then gently move the little darling out of people's way, where others aren't around, the organic food aisle perhaps, no harm, no foul. I agree with basic sharing, share the swings, take turns, don't break other people's shit. I hate to break this to everyone involved, your kid is not the center of my world and my kid is not the center of your world, thank God.

Ann Edelberg said...

What happened to the basic things we learn in preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. The first basic thing was sharing and I'd say learning to share is something you will need all your life. Like most have stated you don't have to share everything. Can you imagine this child when married? Ya, good luck with that and let me know how that goes.

Heather said...

I have a neighbor that seems to have the same "no share" philosophy. Needless to say, the play dates at their home were torture. The boys would spend the whole time arguing and crying, so we would spend the whole time hovering (Hate that!). I finally got fed up and said to the kid, right in front of his mom, "When you are at our house, Johnny has to share all of his toys with you, even his favorites, or they go in the trash. That is why he is so sad that you won't share your toys and that is why neither of you are having any fun right now." Then, I turned to his mom, expecting her to be livid with me, and I said, "Well, this has been fun!" And, she looked at me like I was nuts and said, "Oh, I think they're doing great!"
Really?? Well, that explains her helicopter parenting. This is her "normal" that she created for her only child and this is how he plays with everyone. FUN TIMES!

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 said...

How do you get away with writing an entire book about raising your kid to be a selfish asshole? Are there really people out there buying this?

And THIS! said...

Okay, I really love your use of the word dick. It truly punctuates this entire blog and I couldn't agree with you more. And imagine what kind of spouse her kids will grow up go make. Wow. Staggering.

Deann Salazar said...

I remember the good ole days- when you really had to work and self teach yourself how to be a giant douche canoe who nobody liked. Now it's just handed to you on a silver platter. Come on parents make your kids earn those DB cards!

ShaMac said...

I bet that is a school full of very special snowflakes.

gomom247 said...

The Kid That Is Not To Taught To Share is cousins to The Kid Who We Don't Like To Say "No" To. Both products of lazy parenting and both unwelcome at my house. .

logansmommy said...

I get compliments all the time with how well my 2 year old shares his things(except when his brother (13 months) wants to play with something) with others. People tell me how polite he is(Please, thank you, you're welcome) and how out going and friendly he is. I can't stand kids that don't share. Yes they can have a coveted toy and that's fine. My sister-in-law's son snatches any and every toy from my son and SIL does NOTHING about it.

mosaicmaddness said...

Totally agree with you on EVERYTHING here. The world has enough dicks!

Sarah said...

This is something that came up for my preschooler recently. First off, I received a little intro to not sharing at the preschool we plan to send him to. They don't share there, except with a favorite indoor swing - each kid gets until the end of a song snippet to swing, then they move on. Otherwise the answer to sharing is, you can play with it when I'm done. The idea being that in the adult world, if you were, say, at a work party and were using a shovel, it wouldn't be the norm for someone to walk up and ask to use the shovel. It would be weird and annoying.

I just encountered this issue at a busy kids' museum. My son started out by being friendly, greeting the other kids, then after 20 or so minutes retreated into an unpopulated area and walled himself in, saying, no kids allowed. I soon figured out that I was creating the problem. He would be playing with a toy, another kid would walk up and either stand and stare or just grab a toy and I would instruct my son to share. Soon he wanted nothing to do with the other kids and didn't want to play. He finally got back into playing and I gave this non-sharing a try. Another kid walked up and took over the toys he was playing with. I told the kid that we were playing at that spot. His mother grabbed the kid and walked away, clearly upset. (Nevermind that this toy spanned the entire wall and there was no one else playing on that wall.) I don't think this is going to make me very popular, but I plan to continue allowing my son to play without forcing him to share.

So as weird as the "entitled" philosophy sounds, I think it makes some sense. Why should the aggressive kid get to grab the toys away from my kid? Or, if the other kid isn't grabby... just because a child walks up and shows interest in a toy, should my son have to stop what he's doing and move on because the other kid appeared? Other kid can find something else to do for a while. And back to the shovel example, that approach is more representative of our social rules around this matter.