Well, here’s a parenting viewpoint that is sure to put a cat among the pigeons – not to mention totally flying in the face of what we generally believe we need to instill in our little ones very early on – sharing.
Missouri-based mum Alanya Kolberg shared a post on Facebook explaining why she tells her little boy Carson that he does not have to share his toys – and while on the face of it, it does completely go against what we’re usually telling our kids, we can’t help but wonder if she does have a point. Here’s what she wrote:
The post in full
“MY CHILD IS NOT REQUIRED TO SHARE WITH YOURS.
As soon as we walked in the park, Carson was approached by at least 6 boys, all at once demanding that he share his transformer, Minecraft figure, and truck. He was visibly overwhelmed and clutched them to his chest as the boys reached for them. He looked at me.
“You can tell them no, Carson,” I said. “Just say no. You don’t have to say anything else.”
“Of course, as soon as he said no, the boys ran to tattle to me that he was not sharing. I said, “He doesn’t have to share with you. He said no. If he wants to share, he will.”
“That got me some dirty looks from other parents. Here is the thing though:
“If I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!
“Would any well-mannered adult, a stranger, reach out to help themselves to my sandwich, and get huffy if I pulled it away? No again.
“So really, while you’re giving me dirty looks, presumably thinking my son and I are rude, whose manners are lacking here?
“The person reluctant to give his 3 toys away to 6 strangers, or the 6 strangers demanding to be given something that doesn’t belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?
“The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults. While I do know some adults who clearly never learned how to share as children, I know far more who don’t know how to say no to people, or how to set boundaries, or how to practice self-care. Myself included.
“In any case, Carson only brought the toys to share with my friend’s little girl, who we were meeting at the park. He only didn’t want to share with the greedy boys because he was excited to surprise her with them.
“The next time your snowflake runs to you, upset that another child isn’t sharing, please remember that we don’t live in a world where it’s conducive to give up everything you have to anyone just because they said so, and I’m not going to teach my kid that that’s the way it works.”
OK, so calling other kids snowflakes prob is a little mean, but on a general level, do you think Alanya has a point? We’ve all been there, haven’t we, when there is always that one child who tries to take whatever toy s/he fancies forcefully off ours, and we grit out teeth and tell our tearful off-spring “You must share, darling.”
But really, do they? As Alanya says, we too would be quite miffed if someone rolled up and demanded our sandwich as adults, or forced us out of our car because they wanted a go.
Or is it entirely different for children? Is sharing a fundamental skill they must learn?
Alanya’s FB post has been ‘shared’ almost 213k times, so it has deffo struck a chord, although opinion is very divided on it. One comment, reportedly from someone working in education, read: “I completely agree with this.
“When children are not taught to assert themselves when necessary, it leads to so many situations of bullying,” while another posted a stern “You are teaching your child how to be stingy like the rest of these humans. I don’t agree.”
What do you think?
Do you agree with Alanya, or do you think children must share in order to interact well with other kids, and deal with taking turns etc once they start nursery or school? Let us know in comments or on Facebook.