Friday, December 4, 2015

Why I Don't Teach My Kids They Have to Share

Sharing is something that we parents have long argued with our children. How many times have you told one of your kids to share with their younger sibling?

Sharing, unfortunately, is not something parents should be forcing on our children. If you think about it, how does sharing make sense in the adult world?

The problem is: Grown-up Suzy Q, who works with Jack, cannot walk up to Jack's cubicle and throw a temper tantrum because she wants his cool new pen that he bought over the weekend. She can't tattle tale to the boss that Jack is not letting her use his laptop, nor can she throw herself on the floor and scream, "I want your snack! You need to share!"

I mean, she can try those kinds of shenanigans, but they are not going to work.


Because, truth be told, this is not a "sharing" first, ask questions later world!

We do not have to share a sip of our Dunkin' Donuts coffee in the morning with our co-workers, nor do we have to share the new office supplies that we purchase over the weekend.

Let's knock this up to the next level.

Jack is getting ready to leave work and Suzy Q decides that she wants to try out his Audi R8. She once again throws her temper tantrum, tattling to the boss that Jack won't share his car.

It doesn't make sense in the real world, does it?

I talked about all of this in my book, Breaking the Rules, wherein I use different examples, but my point is pretty much the same. Sharing is not a rule in the adult world, so why do we impress it upon our children so much?

We want our children to be nice to others and...share (a.k.a. have a giving heart?).

Here's the thing. Children will learn how to share and what is appropriate to share on their own. With a little guidance from us, of course, but either way, they will still learn the concept of giving and having a good heart and being nice to others without being forced against their will to share something that might mean something emotionally to them.

I delve deeper into how forcing kids to share is actually counteractive to teaching children to share in my book. It also makes children associate a negative experience with sharing, rather than instilling in them that giving and sharing is from the heart and letting them have the option and make their own decision.

Of course, if they don't share their toys or whatever the current topic of conversation is, then they might lose a friend or blow it with a potential new friend. Oh, well! That is their decision to make, and just like we learn by our mistakes, our children will eventually learn from their mistakes, as well.

With this new perspective, will you still tell your children to "Share!"?

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