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40ish and beyond... 40ish and beyond...

Teaching your child to share might be over rated!!

Posted by on Jul. 26, 2014 at 6:50 AM
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 I read this article and it does make sense to me. Most parents teach their child to share but do they teach patients? Should a child give up a toy before they are done playing with it out of kindness? OR should the child keep the toy and finish playing with it? Thoughts?

There is a sharing policy at my son's preschool. It's a parent-run co-op, so we have to have policies like this so that we will all handle situations relatively the same way. The policy is that a child can keep a toy as long as they want to. If another child wants the toy, they have to wait until the first child is done with it. We'll even "save" toys for the child if they have to go to the bathroom, go to the snack table, etc. so that it won't get taken before they're done. This applies to anything in the yard or school that can be played with, including swings and monkey bars.

At first, it didn't really occur to me to wonder why this was the policy. I just went with it, because that's the rule, and it didn't seem like a big deal to me. The kids all know the rule, so outside of maybe their first two weeks at the school, they don't throw a giant fit when you tell them, "You can have it when Sally Jo is done." But lately I've been noticing a totally different attitude toward sharing in other places we go, and I'm starting to really know exactly why this is the school's policy.

Two Questionable Sharing Practices

Here are a couple of examples of questionable sharing practices that I've seen recently. The first comes from a good friend of mine. (And I hope she doesn't mind that I use her story as an example.) She and her almost-2-year-old were at the park one day. He had brought a small car from home to play with. Another child, a little bit older, wanted to play with the car and was demanding that my friend's son give him the car. A typical toddler scuffle ensued, and the other mother told her son, "I guess his mom didn't teach him how to share." Never mind the fact that the car belongs to him and that when someone asks you to share, "No" is a perfectly legitimate response.

My second story happened one morning at the local rec center. Friday mornings they fill the gym with tons of Little Tykes climbing structures and those plastic cars they can drive around, tricycles, big balls, even a bouncy castle. Basically a toddler's dream play room. There's this one red car in particular my son really likes playing with, and the last time we went, he drove it around the entire hour and a half we were there. While most of the moms with smaller kids will shadow their kids as they play, my son is old enough now that I can sit on the sidelines and watch. From there I watched a mom whose son wanted to drive the car approach my son repeatedly, saying, "OK, now it's time for you to give him a turn!" Of course he ignored her, and eventually she gave up. There were a million other little cars for her son to drive, including one that was almost identical. Or maybe I would have stepped in at some point.

Real-World Lessons

I don't agree with the approach of the mothers in either of these situations. 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. And I can understand the desire to give your children everything they want; we all have it. But it's a good lesson for you both to learn that this isn't always possible, and you shouldn't step all over other people to get these things.

Furthermore, this is not how things work in the real world. In your child's adult life, he's going to think he's owed everything he sees. This is already happening in the next generation. I read a fascinating article about how today's teens and 20-somethings are expecting raises and promotions at their jobs for reasons like, "I show up every day."

If you doubt my reasoning, think about your own day-to-day adult life. You wouldn't cut in front of someone in the grocery checkout line just because you didn't feel like waiting. And most grown adults wouldn't take something from someone, like a phone or a pair of sunglasses, just because they wanted to use it. (Well, maybe some of you would. In which case, this post may not be for you.)

It's hard, as with so many things about parenthood, but let's teach our kids how to cope with disappointment, because it happens. And we won't always be there to fix it for them. Let's teach them how they can get things they want through diligence, patience, and hard work.

How do you feel about the concept of sharing where young children are concerned? I know you likely don't have a "policy," as I sure didn't before the preschool told me they had one. Now I notice a variety of different takes on the subject from the parents I see around. Makes me wonder if we need to be talking about this issue a little bit more.

This article was originally shared on PopSugar.com. The author, Beth, is a wife and mother of two who blogs mostly about parenthood, green living, urban life


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by on Jul. 26, 2014 at 6:50 AM
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Replies (1-10):
wildchild.com
by Rapunzel on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:16 AM
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I agree that if your child brings a toy to the park it's theirs to play with. But I believe if there's a bunch of kids at a playground they should "take turns" on using the equipment. I worked at a preschool & if we had that policy where the child gets to play with whatever toy for as long as they wanted, then none of the other children would get a chance to play. I believe that's called "hogging" & being selfish.
DanaG70
by Rock Chalk on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:30 AM
2 moms liked this
This shouldn't even be a subject we need to debate, but in this day of entitlement it doesn't surprise me that we do, maybe I've had my head buried in the sand, but I thought that's what sharing meant, you wait your turn. It's how I was raised and so were my children.
PogoPalOj
by Sister on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:35 AM
1 mom liked this

I love the article, thank you. 

dana63
by Momma of 40ish on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:37 AM
1 mom liked this

 I was taught to share and taught my kids to share. My 8 years will share but becomes so upset because when a child wants what she is playing with they want it right then. She does say something about "waiting their turn" and we have a child that is crying or whiny. So she will stop what she is playing with and give it to the child to keep the peace.

I agree that a child should wait their turn and NOT make the other child feel guilty because they have a toy that they don't. I also agree that this is teaching our children patients and as adults they won't expect everything to be handed to them because they want it.

dana63
by Momma of 40ish on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:42 AM
1 mom liked this

 I agree that a child should take turns when on a play ground and not "hog" the equipment. I also worked as a preschool teacher many moons ago and what we did was have stations and we would have a time limit for each station. When the teacher said "next station" the children would go to the next station.

Do you think the parent, when going on the playground should tell Jr that there is a time limit if other children want the equipment they are playing on? OR should Jr just play until they are done playing on it?

Quoting wildchild.com: I agree that if your child brings a toy to the park it's theirs to play with. But I believe if there's a bunch of kids at a playground they should "take turns" on using the equipment. I worked at a preschool & if we had that policy where the child gets to play with whatever toy for as long as they wanted, then none of the other children would get a chance to play. I believe that's called "hogging" & being selfish.

 

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Moms_Angels1960
by Husker Babe on Jul. 26, 2014 at 7:51 AM
1 mom liked this

I think if it's at a playground then that's a different kind of share they shouldn't hog something like that. If it is that they are playing with toys then they shouldn't have to giove them up just so someone else could have them.

I have seen this too many times where a child has to give up something they were playing with only for the 2nd child to play with it a short time and walk away.

I think this entitlement thing needs to stop. That is my opinion on that one.

ALolies
by Red Room Rebel on Jul. 26, 2014 at 8:49 AM

I think this makes sense. Why is it better to teach tantrum throwing? Kids need to be taught that they can not always get everything they want in life.

wildchild.com
by Rapunzel on Jul. 26, 2014 at 9:06 AM
Personally when I take my son to the park if he's on something for a long time & there's a line forming behind us I will ask him to give the other kids a turn.

Quoting dana63:

 I agree that a child should take turns when on a play ground and not "hog" the equipment. I also worked as a preschool teacher many moons ago and what we did was have stations and we would have a time limit for each station. When the teacher said "next station" the children would go to the next station.


Do you think the parent, when going on the playground should tell Jr that there is a time limit if other children want the equipment they are playing on? OR should Jr just play until they are done playing on it?


Quoting wildchild.com: I agree that if your child brings a toy to the park it's theirs to play with. But I believe if there's a bunch of kids at a playground they should "take turns" on using the equipment. I worked at a preschool & if we had that policy where the child gets to play with whatever toy for as long as they wanted, then none of the other children would get a chance to play. I believe that's called "hogging" & being selfish.

 

dana63
by Momma of 40ish on Jul. 26, 2014 at 9:25 AM

 You know you are right. Why are we teaching our children that if they throw a fit that they will get what they want. I now feel bad because my 8 yr old is taught to share and she does give in to the ones who are throwing a fit just to keep the peace. So what am I teaching her? I know I am teaching her to share and be kind but I think I am also teaching her that in life if someone makes a big enough fit they will get what they want and the heck with her feelings.

Quoting ALolies:

I think this makes sense. Why is it better to teach tantrum throwing? Kids need to be taught that they can not always get everything they want in life.

 

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patnic
by Sister on Jul. 26, 2014 at 9:34 AM

We do a ten minute rule.  If one brother wants something that the other is playing with, than they ask for a turn.  Then I set a ten minute timer.  Once the timer is up, gotta pass it on.

Also, any toy in their own room does not need to be shared if it stays in their room.

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