Parents, Teach Your Kids NOT to Share (It's OK, Really, Here's Why!) by Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP

Opinion Parenting
6 years ago

Parents, Teach Your Kids NOT to Share (It's OK, Really, Here's Why!)

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?

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Elisa Schmitz
I never thought about it like this. You are so right, Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP ! Thank you for this fascinating insight. I need to re-do some of my parenting, ha! (Are there do-overs?!) 😀
Mike Prochaska
I never thought about it this way. But maybe if adults shared like kids do it would be a better world. But toy do mAke some very good points here. I just have two loving sharing kids who share everything with their friends, cousins and the daycare kids i had in and and put my house the last 5 years and makes me think if adults shared like kids it would be a better world. The way my kids care and share just blows my mind.
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I am not saying sharing isn't good. It is nice to share. I share every day. If I see someone in need, I share and so do my children. Working with young children, I see that forcing children to share isn't the answer. It's teaching them in the moment. It is obvious your children have empathy towards others. That is a wonderful and kind thing!!!
Mike Prochaska
Yes I totally agree with that and teaching them in the moment.
Michelle Reyes
I agree with you Mindy! Sharing is an important thing to teach, but forcing them is not the right approach. I want my kids to share things joyfully of their own choice, taking turns or finding a toy that they can play with the friend together teaches them problem solving. I have had more than one moment that my kids were crying because they wanted something form someone else and didn't want the other kid to share for the shear fact that they were having a tantrum. Call me mean, but I don't want my kids to think they can get what they want when they cry or whine...thanks for sharing the article.
Mike Prochaska
Yes I agree kids need to learn problem solving skills
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I agree! Hope all is well with you Michelle
Super intersting perspective Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP ! Thanks for this take on it. Several things I agree with. Not totally with you on the comparison with adults in workplace but I love challenging my thinking about a topic! Definitely a great way to look at this issue!
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
Understood. Just comparing some real life situations, that's all! Thanks for your input!
Christina Aldridge Drowne
Absolutely agree but I also think it depends on the situation. Focusing on feelings of others and empathy is a big focus in our family so in that sharing is a value to us.
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
Well you have obviously done a wonderful job with your children. You know they are some of my favorite little friends!
Thanks for sharing, this is very enlightening!

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