Should we encourage our kids to share?

I’m one of those odd moms out there who thinks that it’s not an entirely ground breaking skill to teach your child to share all of their stuff. There I said it. Bad mom alert! Or is it? I’ve been witness to a couple of situations over my son’s socializing which has further firmed my belief that teaching to share isn’t totally necessary. And I think this stemmed a little bit from my son’s crèche in France where they never forced a child to share. They actually had a policy about this that each child could play with whatever toy that enthralled him for as long as he liked without being forced to give it up. Finders keepers. If another child wanted the same toy, they could ask for it, but they simply weren’t going to get it till the first child wanted to share or had lost interest in it. They actually explained to me that this policy is a reflection of real adult life. It’s not like you have to give up a book you’re reading at a library just because someone else wants to read it too. Which makes more sense than I’d care to admit. Imagine all the melt downs you could avoid. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been faced with tonnes of situations where my 4-year-old painstakingly brings some small toy to the park/restaurant and another child who’s just let him wants to play with it. If the other child had something that equally intrigued my own child, I would encourage them to swap for a bit. But I wasn’t going to ask my son to “share” with someone he’s just met. In my book, it’s almost as silly as me requesting the other lady’s purse for 5 minutes because it’s a Chanel. Well, you get my point. However, I’ve overheard some mom remark snarkily to her daughter, that “that boy hasn’t been taught to share.”



Then there’s the other extreme. The point of no intervention that can stretch a bit too far. And that is for public places and free-for-all equipment, perhaps. A child monopolizing a “ride” in a kids play area for instance. Now, I may come across as a hypocrite, or at least someone who needs to make up her mind with respect to this issue. But if there’s something fun that’s meant for everyone and a single child monopolizes it way too long without letting any one else have a go, then someone possibly has to intervene. Come to think of it, I’m a bit on the fence about this too. I think certain things can teach great lessons. Disappointment is a lesson that needs to be learned by kids. After all, we don’t want to raise entitled kids into adults, some of whom are Millennials as we speak – who think they need a pay raise just for showing up to work.



Ultimately, I am a big advocate of self-resolved issues among 4+ year olds. If they can reason, talk the same language, etc.., we should let them be and resolve the “sharing” or not in a civil manner among themselves. Anything that’s resolved without tears, a brawl or a tantrum is gold in my book. And negotiation really, is the skill we need to be teaching our kids ultimately. What’s your stand on sharing? Yay or nay? Weigh in on this.