Sharing

http://www.scarymommy.com/why-i-wont-make-my-kids-share/

I read this post the other day and it kind of set me off.

First, I don’t think that her 9 points really give an accurate picture of what sharing is all about. When was the last time you walked into Starbucks and asked some random stranger to borrow their laptop? HOWEVER, I’m sure there’s been a time or two when a close friend or significant other has needed to borrow your electronic device. You’ve probably accommodated them, even if it meant that you asked them to give you an hour to finish up what you were doing first.

Second, sharing is about manners and socialization. I’m not saying every kid has to hand over whatever they’re playing with just because another kid wants it—it’s not that black and white. There’s a middle ground there, though. There are plenty of reasonable opportunities for sharing.

For us, Easter was a prime example. My aunt hosted a little egg hunt at her house for Charlotte and my cousin’s son (her grandson) who is 2 ½. My cousin’s son wouldn’t share ANYTHING with Charlotte. To the point where if she had something, he immediately walked over and just took it from her. AND THE ADULTS LAUGHED. Like it was cute! “Oh look, he doesn’t want to share!” It left me and Catch sitting there with giant question marks over our heads.

When my aunt brought out baskets for the egg hunt, she handed her grandson one that was a little cowboy hat with a handle and it said, “cowboy” on it. Charlotte was given a sand pail that was Frozen themed and had a little shovel attached. My cousin’s son tossed the cowboy basket on the ground and took Charlotte’s pail from her. My aunt laughed at how cute he was.

Later, Charlotte was chewing on the end of the shovel and he ripped it straight from her mouth. It had a loop on the end of it that her teeth were through and he could have really hurt her teeth, but again, everyone laughed as if it was funny.

IMG_4182

Then, during the egg hunt, we picked up a couple of eggs (there were TONS and only the two kids) and sat her down with them so she could play with them. She would be chewing on an egg and my cousin’s son would just come over and rip it out of her hands. No one said a word to him. HOW IS THAT OK?

Honestly, my family is lucky that Catch and I were able to contain our inner mama bears all day.

Charlotte is going to learn how to share. She is also going to learn that she can’t always have what someone else has. It’s called manners. All children should have them.

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49 thoughts on “Sharing

  1. UGH! I would not have been able to control myself or allow that to continue. What a brat! No, not really. It really is the adults that are laughing at him that are promoting this awful behavior. I would definitely say something about it and would probably keep my child away from him until he is taught some manners.

  2. Mama bear is a real thing, eh? I get that now!
    I echo sbear, I would not have been able to contain myself. As far as I’m concerned sharing is a basic skill in life. Like you Charlotte, baby MPB will also learn how to share and play nice with others! And, this is actually one of my biggest fears know that Baby MPB will likely be an only child, but I am adamant that he needs to learn these basic skills.

  3. I don’t have children but I would have said something in that situation like “what about Charlotte? He’s funny for taking her things but what does that make her, the punch line?” I can’t stand when adults see bad kid behaviour and laugh instead of using a teachable moment. You showed great restraint!

    • I think I showed TOO much restraint. I wish I’d turned it into a teachable moment for everyone. I think the adults really needed to see the lesson being taught so it could sink in.

  4. Ugh, that article chaps my ass. Evelyn and Henry have been taught to share. I use them as an example because they are together every day and I have to say – it drove us NUTS to instil the “sharing is caring” into their brains but it was so, SO worth it. Both of them are good sharers now not just with each other, but are generous with other peers and adults too.

    So many people in this world are entitled, me-me-me it’s alllll about meeeee! – and yeah…I’m not going to contribute to that awfulness and raise a kid who doesn’t share. Eff that.

    I can’t BELIEVE no one said anything as that kid was ripping things out of Charlotte’s hands. She’s a BABY, for god’s sake!

    • I actually thought of Evelyn and Henry as I was writing this! They are such a great example of what you get when you work with kids to teach them how to be good little human beings! And yeah… I can’t believe no one said anything, either. ESPECIALLY considering Charlotte’s age. I mean hell, if it’s another kid who can stand up for themselves, then maybe, but a non-verbal BABY? Really? Ugh. I really respect my cousin, too–she’s a great mom and I would have expected her to be all over the sharing thing. Actually, the kid in question hit Charlotte with a toy once, too. And not by accident. He full on swung that toy and smacked her in the head. Gave her a big bruise under her eye. I kept my cool, but I said, “No, Fin we don’t hit.” He got upset at being reprimanded and went running to his Grammy who folded him up in a big hug and consoled him. Again, not how I would have handled discipline for HITTING A BABY IN THE HEAD WITH A SOLID OBJECT.

      • He’s almost 2 1/2 but he’s had very limited exposure to other kids. He’s never been in daycare. He’s going to be a brat for sure if someone doesn’t start teaching him otherwise!

    • Haha… yes, a-holes = Trump supporters!!! I love how she said we don’t share our husbands (or significant others… whatever). It seems to me that we DO share our significant others. We share them with family and friends and their coworkers… the list goes on! I don’t know anyone who keeps their SO chained up in a basement all day and night. (I do know someone who does it occasionally, but they both enjoy that sort of thing! LOL)

  5. Yeah, that article is dumb and I bet that lady’s kids are little assholes no one likes to play with.
    And yeah, that kid sounds like a brat. Ali is 2.5 and she would be in big trouble if she acted like that with anyone, but especially a littler kid.

  6. Hmm. What a weird article? I mean, my kids learn to share because sharing space, objects, time, etc is part of belonging to a larger community? I don’t think the idea of sharing as small people equates to not grabbing someone’s laptop at a coffee house? This is all really bizarre? More question marks??

    Anyway, that behavior for Easter sucked and I’m sorry that happened. The babies are sixteen months and we are on them all the time to share because limited resources and because it’s the kind thing to do? Why do I keep asking questions? I think that’s just a really silly way to extrapolate out childhood lessons to adult behavior? When kids act like that with my kids, or MY kids act like that, we go over how it’s important if we have extra to share and also it’s important not to encroach on someone else’s “extra” and I just think learning that in a positive reinforcement way is good for all ages?

    ??

  7. Oh heck no! You are a bigger momma than me. I would have probably taken the shovel and smacked the kid with it..HA. The twins are only 11 months old and we must use the word share to them 100 times a day. They have to start learning it at some point might as well start right away.

    • What’s interesting to me is that she says, “kids” so she must have more than one. Does that mean that each child’s toys are only theirs and that there are no toys that belong to all of the children? Her logic makes no sense.

  8. This is so upsetting. Being required to share a toy with another child immediately and always is not the same thing as learning to share. The author is conflating the two. My general rule is that if it’s a group toy (like blocks, or a bucket of toy balls, or – my current favorite – brain flakes), then they are expected to share (19 months, 22 months, 4 years) together. For single-user toys (like a favorite stroller, or a baby doll), I will tell them “So-in-so is using that right now. Is there something you would like to play with?” I don’t expect them to just give it up because another kid decides that’s the best toy ever right now. The snatching behavior is unacceptable in all situations, in part because – as in the case of Charlotte’s shovel – it is a safety issue, also because it’s rude. If they want something that someone else has, they must ask nicely, and the one with the desired object is allowed to say “no”.

  9. As a librarian, the concept of sharing is pretty fundamental to my entire life and career. I saw that article pop up in my feed and thought it was total shit. Also? I wanted to cry reading your post. I hope Charlotte wasn’t upset. I know I would be. Occasionally in storytime another kid will come along and take Charlie’s shaker eggs or something, but their mom always makes them give it back. Charlie has started trying to do stuff like that, but not in a mean way, just in a curious way. But I always emphasize that we don’t take other people’s things. She tried to take a little boy’s shoe the other day, and the main problem with that was that it was still on his foot lol. I hate when other parents don’t play the game right.

    • Charlotte was pretty oblivious to it. If he took something, we just gave her something else and she took it all in stride. Fortunately, she hasn’t reached yet the point where she’s really ATTACHED to whatever it is she’s presently chewing on, so long as she can have a different thing to put in her mouth!

  10. Charlotte is so cute with that shovel in her mouth! I’m shocked and appalled that your nephew wasn’t disciplined for being so rude! You’re right- it’s not about sharing here, it’s about manners.

  11. Amen sister. I think I get what the author was trying to say but she overshot. My mother made me give up every last thing to anyone who asked under the umbrella of sharing. It left me pretty sad a lot of the time and I would much rather have had her teaching me how to negotiate fairly rather than just give way. That said, I think it’s criminal not to teach kids to share and sets them up for failure. As we say in our house, not MY child 😉

    • Someone else said that the author’s logic isn’t sound, and I think she nailed it. I’m with you… I can kind of see where she was going, but she took it too far. Now I’m sad for baby Meridith. 😦 There are certainly degrees to sharing! No child should have to give up everything just because someone else is interested. That’s truly unfair.

    • I think we were both so busy trying to keep her occupied and replace the things he took so she’d stay happy that we just sort of let it go. I guess maybe we were choosing our battles? I can’t really say for sure. Next time, I will definitely speak up. I don’t want to be responsible for allowing my baby to be bullied!

  12. People have no boundaries. I’m sure it’s hard to put up with especially when it’s your family and you love them. I’m impressed with you for being so gracious. Those pictures are truly amazing at least.

    • Next time I’ve resolved to not be quite so gracious.I sort of see this as a missed opportunity. I’m sitting here complaining about the adults not stepping up to teach him a lesson, but I was one of those adults. Lessons for the future! It’s not as if the two will never play together again!

  13. Also, your cousin’s baby is actually at the age where it’s important to teach him to share and follow through; this would have been a good time for his parents to teach him.

  14. Hmm…this post definitely is thought provoking. I always tell my nieces and nephews to share when they are with me, making sure they are taking turns on the iPad (which is mine), etc. When I really think about why I make them share though, it’s because I want them to be kind. I want them to want to share, not because they have to, but because they want to be kind to others. My nephew is such a good example of this, the kid LOVES candy…if you let him live on it, he would. He wouldn’t even complain of a belly ache if it was from candy. His dad (my brother) was and is the same way. BUT, if you ask my nephew for a piece of candy, he will give it to you. He will smile and gladly hand it over, and usually throw in an “I Wuv You”. In those moments, I am extremely proud of his parents, because he is willing to give up something he loves more than anything, to see someone else smile. So maybe it’s less about sharing, and more about just being kind to others. Even if it means giving them something you would rather keep to yourself. 🙂

  15. Lots of comments already, but what the heck…I’ll jump in too. I think you’re right that it was a missed opportunity to intervene at Easter, not so much for the sake of teaching the other adults a lesson (though that motivation is certainly strong) or even correcting the boy’s behavior (though, again, tempting) but rather for modeling for Charlotte how to set boundaries and stand up for herself. This cannot start too early and in my opinion, the gender factor is huge, even now. As she gets older, it will be her responsibility to advocate for herself, but at this age, there’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with intervening on her behalf. Ideally those on the receiving end of (or witnessing) your intervention (no sweetie, Charlotte was playing with that/we don’t grab/ow! That hurts!) would learn something, but I think it’s more important to mother hen it (may not be the right animal–duck maybe? step in for C, in any case) than mama bear it (lash out at the offending party). But I don’t want to dwell on something that’s over and done with. My point was that, appalling as their behavior was, reframing your reasons for intervening could be very empowering in the future.

    In regards to sharing, I think this the article is pretty run-of-the-mill clickbait with overly simplified content to fit the HuffPo model of wanting to be BuzzFeed. I have had Heather I-forget-her-last-name-but-am-typing-on-my-phone-so-will-probably-lose-the-comment-if-I-go-look-it-up’s book It’s Okay Not to Share on my list to read for a while and I think it’s much more nuanced than the article you posted (I actually thought the article was going to be Heather’s essay about this topic, which I quite liked, so bummer that it wasn’t). In any case, there’s a big difference between not forcing your kids to share and giving them permission not to share. I agree that just because a kid wants something doesn’t entitle them to have it, especially when it’s being used/enjoyed by someone else. I also think there’s a difference between public resources (think playground equipment and computer kiosks at a library, for example) and private belongings. We host a lot of playgroups at our house and have spent a lot of time talking with Clementine about how the toys we put out are for anyone to use. However, we do allow her to put away (into our room) “special” toys to not be shared and we are also pretty adamant that a) if you want to play with something that someone else is using, you need to ask to do so or offer a trade but the person using it has every right to say no and you have to accept that if they do, and b) when you are playing with something that you don’t want to give up, you need to be polite about refusing, offer an alternative, and follow up with the person who wanted it once you are done. Luckily, our parenting social circle is (for the most part) of similar philosophy. Swings at the playground are harder, though, because no, I don’t have to force my kid to stop swinging and yes, she needs to learn to live with disappointment if someone else is using them when she wants to, but I also want everyone to behave with compassion and kindness and at least recognize that even when life isn’t fair (which it often isn’t), our actions can at least make it a little *more* fair.

    I have two more points to make but will put them in a second comment (maybe even with Heather’s last name if I can find it!).

    • I’ve been more keenly aware of sharing conundrums lately as I’ve been navigating the world of siblings–now that Julia is old enough to covet Clementine’s toys, we’re really forced to take a stand on these things. And it’s been an interesting process helping Clementine shift her mindset from “my toys” to “our toys” and “her toys that used to be my toys.” I think all the playgroups we host/hosted have helped with that, but it’s still tough. We are lucky in that Clementine is old enough a) to reason (like, in a real person way, not using toddler logic, which of course is totally reasonable to the toddler) and b) have toys that need to be contained in a more private space because Julia really can’t play with them at all (e.g., LEGO bricks and Playmobil). But it occurred to me that the author of this article would probably have a very different perspective if she were writing about navigating these boundaries with siblings because I am fairly certain what happens within our own homes is often inconsistent with what happens in public. And then, what about issues of exclusion–if you’re sharing with, say, your sibling or a friend, what happens when someone else wants to join–is there “always room for one more” (as one of Clem’s classmates asserts) or is it okay to leave someone out because they will disrupt an already established peace? I actually think the answer to that is fairly situational–parents should help their kids feel comfortable with the approach(es) that doesn’t/don’t come as naturally to them. For example, the “always room for one more” mantra was given to the girl above because her mother noticed her tendency to exclude people and we worked hard to give Clem her “no, I’m still playing with this” toolkit because she was getting bulldozed by more aggressive kids.

      Similarly, it’s also worth noting that there is also an element of cultural norms and knowing your audience. Although I’m sure there’s a kid version of this out there, the best example I’ve got on that is a disconnect between my mother and my wife. When we go out to restaurants, my mother likes to sample everyone’s dishes and subscribes to the “I will always ask; they can always say no” philosophy. My wife, however, likes to order her own dish and is very uncomfortable with my mother’s roving fork and requests to sample other people’s food as well as with saying no to the request, especially when everyone else says yes (or, more often, has already offered my mother the forkful we know she’ll ask for if we don’t preemptively provide it). As you can imagine, this results in some rather awkward mealtimes and a bit of uncertainty about what we tell our kids when we go out with my parents. I think we’re going to tell them they can always say no if they want to (because that’s true) but I also don’t see myself ceasing to model the “offer everyone a taste” approach that I’ve developed over the years. But I recognize that not everyone is on board with this so…once again, context and personality is key.

      Okay, I think I’ve taken up enough of your comments field now. Hopefully at least some of this was useful food for thought.

      Oh, and her last name is Shumaker. Would be interested in hearing your thoughts if you end up reading it.

  16. DUDE. What the FUCK. That is so messed up. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to contain myself. Pretty sure I would’ve grabbed whatever he grabbed out of his hand and said “Excuse me, you say please and ask before you take something that belongs to someone else, you little snot.”

    😡

  17. Erm… Lame. I think this writer is perhaps confusing “sharing” with “giving” or “having.” Some of her points are valid, but I reject that sharing is an either or proposition– either I have said object or you have said object. The solution can sometimes be playing with a toy together. Sharing teaches a whole lot of skills, like empathy, compassion, and the even the importance of sacrifice. I honestly think she wrote this piece for click bait because her logic isn’t sound.

    Also Easter would have tested my inner mama bear. FOR REALS, someone needs to teach that kid (and themselves) some manners.

  18. It’s interesting because when i read the article, i was all “What in the f#cking f*ck with this lady!?!” but then realized that we do a modified version of this at home. If one of our kids is playing with something and the other one snatches it, we say, “Not very nice! He wasn’t finished playing with that yey. When he’s all done, you can have a go” which is kinda what she is saying, but the examples she makes are a bit extreme. I think it’s super important to teach both. You want kids to learn that it is important to “take turns” and not so much share…they are 2 different things. We kinda feel that when you say share, you are splitting the thing or the time in 2 or more which really isn’t fair to anyone. So you take turns…one plays first, the other plays next, because honestly, that’s how it is in real life. But snatching things away? Uh, no! That is not ok, and I would have been furious if someone did that to my kid because, for pete’s sake! They were playing with it!!!

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