I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to children sharing items. There are some items of my daughter’s that I just flat out don’t want other kids to touch, like at all. This includes AC’s beloved Bunn-Bunn, her white stuffed bunny rabbit that comes everywhere, and I mean everywhere, with us, her special blanket, and items like food (to an extent), sippy cups and teethers, for obvious reasons. Everyday toys however, are a free for all, share away!
I believe that all children should learn to share their things with others, so that they can continue this practice well into adulthood. Sharing teaches kids to be generous as well as selfless, among other traits such as compassion and kindness. This is the good side of sharing.
Then there’s the hate part of my relationship with sharing. I cannot stand when a parent allows their child to snatch something from another child, claiming that it’s “good sharing”. Uhh, what..?! No. No, no, noooooo. It’s not acceptable to me. Sharing also means waiting your turn to share the wanted item. This practice of sharing only creates selfish and spoiled children in my opinion. It doesn’t teach proper sharing, patience, or selflessness. It teaches kids entitlement.
Prime example. RA & I took AC to the mall for her first picture with Santa this past December, as many other parents were doing the same with their children. In front of us was a mom with her toddler son, behind us, a father with his toddler son. The father’s son had a little matchbox car he was quietly playing with. Once the mother’s child noticed the boy’s shiny red Lightning McQueen, of course, he wanted it. What didn’t surprise me was the mother’s son wanting it, what did surprise me however, was that after the child snatched the car out of the boy’s hand, the mom did nothing. She commented that it was nice sharing, and let her son continue to play with the stranger child’s toy. I could tell the father was not overly happy about this but wasn’t sure if he should say something, his son quietly watched the other boy play with his car. When the mother finally did tell her son to give up the toy, he threw a tantrum, she let him keep playing with it for a few more minutes, asked her son to give it back, tantrum again, and repeat a third time. Eventually he did give it back, when it was his turn to cry on Santa’s lap, that is.
That I don’t agree with. I will not allow my girls’ to take something from the clutch of another child, especially one they do not know, and if they do manage to take something from another kid’s clutches, I will immediately make them hand it back over to the other child. If they refuse, I will take the toy from them and return it to the item’s owner. You wouldn’t snatch a book out of someone else’s hand mid-read just because you want that book, so why is it okay for a child to do the same?
Sharing, isn’t always caring.