I Don’t Make My Kids Share

September 9, 2011

Do you?

I mean, I promote sharing. I’m all for it. I suggest it. And I note that sharing is likely to have a payoff down the road- you share something with R, she will be happy to share something else with you later.

But if something is CLEARLY owned by C, and she wants it to herself, then no… I do not insist she share. Or if something is CLEARLY being played with by R, and C only gets interested because her sister has it and wants it, then I tell her she can wait or find another toy. I might suggest to R that they play with it together, but really?

We have a giant ton of toys. There are enough to go around without me enforcing “take turns” or “share nicely”. My philosophy is “just go find another toy”. This requires less supervision, and I am lazy about supervising.

Plus, I’d rather make suggestions and watch them work it out for themselves. Better skill building. (And less yelling and/or nagging on my part).

Now…. if a younger child comes up to an older child and wants to take the toy (or, ahem, “share it”), I will make a rule that the older child can either share, or help the younger child find a different toy to play with.

But property is property, and possession is 9/10 of the law, and you do not NEED to share it. You need to be kind, but kind doesn’t have to be enforced sharing. There are other forms of being a good sister than having everything be community property.

About the only time I will absolutely enforce sharing is if they all want to play with the same toy at the same time, and it is not one person’s particular toy. Then, yes, share. Or someone find something else. (Which is usually easier.)

Note: I feel like this parenting practice betrays my political sympathies. Kindness, yes. Enforced sharing, no. I want my kids to be good and choose to share and play nicely because it benefits everyone, not because Mommy Made Them and Mommy Knows Best.

And you know what? They do pretty well. They share voluntarily and are getting (as they get older) better about respecting one another’s possessions, which is also an important value in my opinion.


4 Responses to “I Don’t Make My Kids Share”

  1. wordsfallfrommyeyes said

    I’ve never been faced with that – I had only one child. He learnt to share in child care though, somehow, and I noticed he shared with his friends, so that was good.

  2. Fizzy said

    We push Melanie to share but it’s a different situation with us b/c Melanie’s been an only child for over 4 years so she’s predisposed to be bad at sharing. Frankly, the sharing issue hardly ever comes up for that reason.

    • Yeah, it must not come up much. Do you know what they do at her preschool as far as that goes? I know at ours, sometimes they will enforce mandatory sharing… but I don’t really have a problem with their rules varying from ours here and there (and obviously, the girls don’t have their OWN things there, they’re school toys).

  3. we do the same thing here. If Alexia wants Thomas’ toy, he can either share, give her another one or go play with it at the lunch counter. My lunch counter has been invaded by all the toys he doesn’t want Alexia to touch (legos, cars and such). However, he does play a lot with the toys she got at her baptism, so I tend to inforce that they are her toys, but if he’s already playing with them, I suggest another toy for her. She’s too little to care yet, but it’ll be interesting down the road, when they can both whine and argue.

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