Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why I Don't Make My Kid Share

Gasp!  I don't make my kid share.  And guess what, I am not going to make your kid share either.  What I do teach is taking turns, waiting your turn, patience, and the respectful way to use words.

I've been a teacher for over ten years.  I've worked with a variety of ages.  And when I did, I taught sharing.  Why?  Because that is what did and how did things.

However, since having my own kids and reading a few things, I've changed how I go about it.  Think about it for a moment.  As an adult we never make someone else share what they have with us.  We don't just go up and take something, telling them they have to share.  We don't tell another adult they have to share something they have.

Picture this...there is you, another person, and myself out for coffee.  We are enjoying ourselves and our conversation together. You are holding onto something, let's say it's your cell phone, that the other person wants.  So I, turn to you and tell you that you have to share.  When you don't, I make you.  I take it from you and give it to the other person telling you that you need to share.

How do you feel right now?  That's what I thought.  Now, imagine it from the perspective of a child.

This is why I don't teach sharing.  No adult would ever do things this way, so why do we make kids.  I know what you are thinking.  But the child has to learn to play fair.

I agree, they have to learn to play fair, but fair doesn't mean giving up what they have and what they are doing because your kid wants it now. 

I teach taking turns.  When my child is done with it, you can have it.  It could be in a minute, it could be in twenty.  The same goes for something my child wants.  They have to ask and wait for the other person to be done with the item.  In the meantime, during the waiting, we offer up other suggestions of what can be done.  We try to find another toy or something similar to do until ready to make the trade.

The only time I will push for my child to share something is when he has two of the same thing that they are playing with.  For example, you have two trucks, can you please give one to your friend to play with? Or, when there are a lot the same toys, like legos, so there is definitely more than enough for both kids to play with at the same time.

If you ask my child to share or say to them "why can't you just share", you will be met with resistance.  Chances are, if you use the word share, he may look at you in a funny way as well.  Why? Because when it comes to sharing, he relates it to food.  Because when you have food that is of interest, we ask someone if they would be willing to share what they have. There is very little crossover to non food items.

I know what else you are thinking.  He will be going to school in a couple of years and he will have to learn to share there, so I need to get him use to giving up what he has because he is told to share.  My thought, and hope, is that by the time he goes to school, he has the confidence and respect to say, "I'm still using this, but when I am done I will let you have it".

You may not like it, your kid may not like it.  But you know what, in our world today, we need to learn how to wait for things, we need to learn patience, and we need to learn that just because we want something doesn't mean we are entitled to it. 

So, no, I will not make my kid share.  I will ask him if someone else can have a turn and help him with the words to say if he isn't gone yet.  I will have him wait his turn until the item in question is available.  I will say thank you when he does share, especially when he just does it.  And if it comes down to it, I will set a timer to let him know when his turn is up. However, I will not make my kid share.  I will let him share when he is ready.

So please, don't tell my kid that they have to share or when he won't share the item because he is still using it don't say "why can't you just share".  It's a different approach, I know.  But in the long run, it works. Just remember, stop and think about it from their perspective for a moment before you make them.  It works in a lot of areas of life as well, not just with sharing and taking turns.

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