So, a few of my friends shared (pun somewhat intended) this article on Facebook over the past month. I read it, thought it was silly and moved on with my life… that is until I was at the park with Leo a few weeks ago. There was a mom with two kids, a baby and a toddler, with about 20 toys littering in the sand in front of her; her baby was scooping sand and her toddler was nowhere to be seen. Leo approached their little area and started going for a plastic shovel. The mom quickly grabbed it and said, “Sorry, we don’t share our toys.”
What the ??? Is not sharing actually becoming a thing? Is this really the philosophy that is going to guide our next generation?
I am all for the idea of “turn taking” instead of sharing, I think that “sharing,” as a concept, is a really difficult idea for a toddler to grasp. Especially since kids are mostly involved in solo or parallel play until they are about two and a half or even three, the idea of using an object cooperatively is mind boggling. But eventually, your kid should give someone else a turn; not because you make him, or because he gets bored with the toy, but because he wants to give the other kid a turn to play. This is how we teach our children to understand each other and learn empathy. I am proud of Leo when he hands over a toy to an upset friend that wants it. It’s him saying in his own little way “I care about your happiness.”
And to the author’s point that we, meaning adults, don’t just take things that we want just because we want them; that’s exactly what you’re teaching your child! By letting him sit in that car that other kid wants and completely ignoring how the other child feels, you are teaching your kid to be a jerk.
So if you want your kid to be the guy that takes the parking spot when someone has been patiently waiting with their blinker, the guy who grabs the last shrimp at the buffet when he’s already had thirty, or the guy who sits comfortably on the subway and doesn’t offer his seat to a little old lady…keep doing what you’re doing. I would like my son to be better than that guy, so I will teach him to share.
My sweet boy who shares, most of the time….