topiary cats

topiary cats

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

To Share or Not to Share

I ran across an article recently that discusses kids, sharing, and teaching kids to share.
Or not, in this case.

Here is the full article.

It is about a post written by a lady named Beth.

“I think it does a child a great disservice to teach him that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it.” I think she’s right. Teaching anyone that they should be able to have what someone else has simply because they want it isn’t a mentality I think should be spread around. But it begs the question: how then do we define what is truly sharing?

1. Visitors
When kids go visit each other, they always want to check out the Cool and Different Stuff their friend has. And they are a guest- sharing needs to happen.  When Daya gets anxious about this, I tell her to pick one or two things BEFOREHAND that do not have to be shared.  And she never has to share Animal Blankie.

But aside from something she selected BEFOREHAND to not share, she has to share everything else and I am very clear about this up front.  This is enforced.

Daya generally does not mind sharing with people who are nice to her.  She does NOT like to share with people who are mean to her, bother her, or people she thinks will mess up her stuff.

And I think that is valid, but when she has company and has been in that situation, she has still has to share.  It isn't cool for someone to visit and not be able to play with anything.

2. Personal Property in Public
Daya does not have to share her personal property in public with strangers.

Sometimes Daya/stranger-kids borrow each others' things at the playground.  They ask each other and work it out and it is cool.

Daya does not like to share her things with classmates who she knows will not give it back.  Like the time she had a fight with a boy in her class who was being mean to her and she was mad at him for that, and he was mad at her because she wouldn't share her grey crayon.  Why not?  She knows he takes stuff and doesn't give it back. And that is valid.

3. Shared Public Property/Resources
The classic scenario- no one wants something unless someone else has it. The swings, rides, etc- these are shared public resources and sharing and turn-taking need to happen.

It is not cool for a child to monopolize something forever when others are waiting.  That's when parents should set some time limits and give others a chance.

And it is not fair when one child keeps something just because others want it- and let's not kid ourselves around, THEY DO THAT SOMETIMES.

Do Not Share This Ever

I read something....somewhere, oh gosh I wish I could remember where it was was a story about a place where a group of people lived, and absolutely everything was communal.  That was the law. And someone broke the law with something small that they kept to them self, simply because they had a strong need to have something that was just theirs.

This is a totally, completely, NORMAL part of being human. We need some stuff that is our Own Stuff. It extends to other people- for example, most of us prefer for our mates to not be shared.  I have plenty of stuff I do not share, and plenty of stuff I will happily share.  Learning to share/not share is about healthy boundaries.  You don't want your child to be a doormat, nor do you want them to be a miser. Sometimes we have to share, because we live together. Or resources are limited and should be available to everyone.

Carey has a lot of sharing to coordinate.  Her thoughts are here.


  1. I just had a thought after reading your post and Carey's - are girls taught to share more than boys?

    I like the balance you have with Daya and sharing, it makes for a much nicer world if people share what they have, so long as it is done willingly and with love.

  2. Even as an adult I have a hard time sharing. I guess it's true that we all have this need to have things that are JUST ours and no one else's. But in some situations or on a bigger scale we have to share of course.

  3. Excellent categories.

    Rolina brings up an interesting point. I wonder. It's possible overall, but hard to say. I believe it is often *extremely* dependent on birth order, and of course personality which goes without saying.

    Girls play differently than do boys, and they have differing tendencies of how to relate to others. In some ways, it might be both easier and harder with girls...

    My eldest being a boy, he definitely learned about sharing early...and I'm grateful; for the most part, my children are not ultra possessive. (The biggest problem I have, aside from having a toddler, is in throwing out Gavin's papers...oh my, what a crime!) I was far more possessive as a child than any of my children are. Oh, far, far.... Scarlett is very much like me, but it is interesting that she is not generally possessive over her things (not counting what she is playing with at a specific time). She doesn't care at all when little sister wears her clothes (that started reallllly early, though!) or plays with toys that are supposedly hers and she doesn't even care when I throw out papers that she has drawn on, etc. Interesting that while my children each have things that are "theirs", they are all pretty communal about using stuff. It's only as they have gotten older that a few things are truly off-limits to the younger ones, and they don't care about that stuff anyway.


Thanks for stopping by!