Sometimes Kids Don’t Need To Share, writes Rachel Boldwyn on Christianity Today.
“Sharing has become the pinnacle of virtuous toddlerhood whereby all children get a turn, there are no tears, and peace is preserved,” writes Boldwyn. But, until the age of three or four, kids aren’t ready to share.
Mandated turns with an object can actually impart to both the giving and the receiving child a flawed understanding of what sharing is. A request (or demand) of “Share!” comes to mean, “You have to give him the toy because he wants it.”
When her son was a toddler, she’d talk to him before a play date about providing toys for his friend to play with. “If you don’t share Mr. Potato Head, what will your friend play with?” That gave him a chance to think about sharing voluntarily.
Mandatory sharing triggers “confusion, anger and meltdowns” at her children’s play dates, writes Naomi Schaefer Riley in the New York Post.
“Kids need to feel secure in their ownership before they can share,” says Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist and founder Aha Parenting.
That makes sense to Riley.
If you think you’re never going to see the toy again, you’ll hold on for dear life. Even taking turns can be difficult when you have no sense of the difference between a minute, an hour and a day.
An Independent Women’s Forum senior fellow, Riley worries that forced sharing will give kids “the sense that all stuff is collectively owned” and will be divvied up by an authority figure.
Mommy blogger Beth Wankel has similar concerns. Your child could “think he’s owed everything he sees,” she warns in a much-quoted PopSugar piece.
Some 30 years ago, I was fixed up with a divorced dad. Dinner without the kids went well. We planned a visit to the park with our kids, who were both preschoolers. On the way home my daughter expressed interest in his daughter’s toy. The dad told his kid to share. She refused. He insisted. She howled. My daughter said she didn’t want the toy. The dad considered it a point of principle. I think his kid gave it up in the end. There was a lot of screaming.
It was our last date.