Parents, Teach Your Kids NOT to Share (It's OK, Really, Here's Why!) by Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
In the real world, adults don’t share everything they have, so why do we ask our children to do it? Seriously, when was the last time you walked into your co-workers office and said, “Oh, I like your phone. My turn. You need to share!” Is forcing our kids to share really teaching them a life lesson?
- If a child is working hard on building a block tower and another child comes over touches or adds blocks to the tower, is it OK for the child to say no? Absolutely! If you have spent hours working on a project and a colleague came in and wanted to change or add to your work, what would you do? Instead of forcing your child to share, teach him perspective by helping him learn to respect other people’s work, recognize when they need help or to support their friends to create their own masterpiece!
- In the work place, you would never interrupt a colleague at a copy machine and bully your way in and say, “I want the copier now!” Children need to learn that they can’t have everything they want the second that they want it! Waiting for a friend to be finished playing with a toy teaches patience and empathy.
- Just because someone asked nicely doesn’t mean you have to share. Teaching your child to be kind toward others is more important than making them share their favorite things when they don’t want to. Would you give up your favorite thing just because someone said please?
- Forcing your child to give up a toy because another child is having a tantrum sends the wrong message. You’re teaching both kids if you cry loud enough, you will get what you want! Typically, that won’t work in the real world. It’s important to teach your kids to be aware of other people’s feelings and respecting their decision if they don’t want to share. Your kids need to know that their feelings matter, too.
- Why do we feel as parents that we need to get involved in the “sharing” conflict? Kids learn about resolving conflict through play. Let them figure it out on their own. It’s better to help them learn to understand others’ feelings and resolve a problem. Getting an authority figure to dictate the rule isn’t in their best interests.
- If kids are forced to share, you may be teaching them that it’s appropriate to be bullied into doing something you don’t want to do. If your child doesn’t want to give up the toy, then guide him to express his feelings in a kind way so others don’t get hurt. Instead of forcing them to share, suggest taking turns or letting a friend play when they’re finished. What a great way to teach self-advocacy skills and empathy!
What is your opinion on forcing children to share?