I am going to take a wild guess, and say that you clicked on the title “Why I Don’t Make My Kids Share,” not because you agree with me, but because you want to see what type of crazy lady is doing such a thing!
Was I right?
Now, before you scroll to the bottom and leave a nasty comment, just hear me out! Promise?
So here are the reasons why I don’t make my kids share, and how it works wonders for us!
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Sharing Is Confusing
Picture this- I tell my son he needs to share his toy with another child. But how long does he need to share for?
Do he need to give up his toy until the other child is done playing with it? Or does he only need to give it up for five minutes?
What if my son just started playing with a toy? What if he is in the middle of the game, does he need to give it up right away? Or should he give it up when he is done playing with it?
The rules of sharing are confusing, and if I don’t understand the rules for sharing as a mom, how can I expect that my son will understand them?
My son has a stuffed animal that he is very attached to. He sleeps with it every night, looks for it when he’s upset, and takes it everywhere with him.
How could I make him share this stuffed animal with his sister, let alone a stranger?
As a parent, I can’t force him to share some toys but not others; this method is sure to cause confusion. Heck, it confuses me.
Sharing Makes My Kids Upset
My son was only 14 months old when my daughter was born, and after just a few months she was ripping toys out of his hands.
He would start freaking out, and I would tell him he needed to share. I would wait a few minutes, and take the toy from my daughter and give it back to my son. Then my daughter would start freaking out.
I was struggling with this. Should my son have to sit patiently and wait until my daughter was done with the toy, or should I take the toy from her after a few minutes and let her cry.
Either way, both kids ended up crying each and every time.
I decided forcing my kids to share was just way too mean, and it just made more sense to let my son keep playing with his toy (no tantrums from him), and give my daughter a new toy (no tantrums from her). This was a win for mom!
Sharing Is Weird
Let’s say you are at the park watching your kids play on the playground, and another mom comes over, looks at your phone, and says, “okay it’s my turn.”
So now you have two choices, you can either give it to her (which is weird), or you can say no.
Now imagine that you say no, but then someone else comes over, they take your phone and give it to the stranger, and they tell you that you need to share.
This is super weird, and would never happen.
As an adult, I would be upset if some stranger (or even a family member or friend) walked up to me and wanted to share my things (or worse- if someone forced me), so why should I expect any different from my kids.
Sharing Is Gross
I cannot even tell you how many times kids and even adults try to share food with my kids.
I don’t care if you are a close family member, I don’t know where your hands and mouth have been.
Sharing is just gross! If I teach my kids to share their toys, they will think that sharing food or drinks is acceptable, and I’m sorry, but IT IS NOT!
To add to this, my kids are gross. They pick their noses, put their hands down their pants, and slobber all over toys. No matter how hard I try to keep them clean and germ free, I can only do so much. I might win a battle, but I lose the war every time.
It is my guess that other kids are the exact same way, so sharing toys is like saying, “Yess!! I would love to share my germs with you.” ITS GROSS!
Life Isn’t Fair
I don’t make my kids share, because this teaches them that when they want something, they should expect that someone else should give it to them.
Guess what?? This is not how life works.
When I decided that I didn’t want to teach my kids to share, I took a step back, and evaluated what life lessons that sharing actually teaches.
I don’t want my kids to expect that someone else is going to give them exactly what they want, when they want. I want to teach my kids that if you want something, you need to work hard for it, and if you can’t have it, you need to except that.
The reality of it is, that life is not fair. It is better for kids to learn this lesson sooner rather than later.
My Kids Will Learn To Say No
I want my kids to be able to be their own person and have their own opinions. If they don’t want to do something, they should be able to say no.
Don’t say I’m crazy just yet, let me finish!
I want my kids to say no…within reason. If I tell my son he can’t hit his sister, then he needs to listen. Or if I tell my son he can’t pee on the floor, then he cannot say no.
Now I want to tell you about something that actually happened today. My son took about 50 toys in the car (okay really like 4), and when we got out of the car, I asked him if he could leave his toys in the car, and he said no.
I said okay, but I am not carrying them. He struggled with carrying all 4 toys, and he kept dropping them. Of course, this made it more difficult on me too, because I had to keep stopping.
We got back in the car, and had to make a second stop. Once again, I asked him if he could leave his toys in the car, and this time he said yes.
I allowed him to say no to me the first time, and because of this, he was able to make his own decision, and learn from it.
Second, in today’s world, kids and teenagers are pressured into doing so many things from their peers, if I teach my kids how to stand their ground and firmly say no, they will have an easier time saying no to their peers in the future.
But Wait, Sharing Is Caring, Right?
I want to reiterate the fact that I am not teaching my kids that sharing is wrong, I just don’t make my kids share.
If my kids decide they do want to share, I will support their decision. I am all about teaching my kids to make their own decision.
Now back to that stuffed animal that my son loves so much. Every time my son gets hurt or gets upset, he frantically runs around looking for it. This is his comfort toy, and it is sure to make everything better every time.
If my daughter starts crying, my son will yet again run around looking for his stuffed animal. He will hand it to her, and say, “all better?”
As a mom, I find this to be the most adorable thing, and I encourage my son to care for and look after his sister. When he does do something kind for her, I make sure to remind him that what he just did was very nice, and that I am very proud of him.
However, if my daughter starts crying, I would never force him to hand over his precious stuffed animal, because that is not fair!
I want to give my children the room to make their own decisions, and decide if sharing is something they want to do in that moment.
We Have Community Toys
My son has his own toys, that he can share with his sister if he wants to, and my daughter has her own toys that my son can ask very nicely if he wants to play with them (just because my daughter is still too young to make the decision to share by herself).
But he cannot take her toys if she is playing with them.
If my husband and I buy a toy that is meant for both kids, then those toys are mom and dads, which means that my husband and I can decide if we want to share.
For example, we have a basket of Disney figurines that were bought for both kids to play with. If my son wants to play with these toys, he can ask, and I will say yes.
If we get out the basket, he can pick a few, and I will give a few to my daughter. The few toys that my son picked out now act as his toys, and he can share with his sister if he wants to, but he doesn’t have to.
They cannot take the toys from one another, but if one of them puts a figurine toy back then it becomes mom and dad’s again, and the other kid can play with it.
This same rule applies when we play with toys at places like grandma’s house. Any toy at grandma’s house is grandma’s toy.
If his cousin is playing with a toy, he cannot take it (or even ask for it), but he can wait until they are done.
If my son is playing with a toy, and his cousins ask to play with it, I will gently tell them that he is not done playing with it yet. My son is still very young, but eventually he will be able to tell others that he is not done playing with a toy yet by himself.
I Don’t Want Your Kids To Share With Mine
I don’t make my kids share with other children, which means teaching my kids that they cannot expect that other children will share with them.
Like I said before, I think this will teach my children more valuable life lessons in the long run.
I’ve been put in an awkward situation many times, where my son plays with another kid’s toy, and that other kid starts having a meltdown. I would then take the toy from my child to give it back, but the other child’s parents say, “no it’s fine, my child needs to learn to share.”
This is super awkward for me. My child just took your child’s toy, and now your child is crying. But why should my son be able to play with a toy that is not even his, when it makes this other child upset?
I have also been put in a situation, where this happens, and then the other child was so upset, he ended up biting my child.
So just because I live in a society where I am supposed to teach my kids to share, my whole family keeps getting put in very uncomfortable situations, and my son has even been bit because of it.
I felt so bad for my child, and this was a huge turning point for me in my parenting style.
No matter what other parents are trying to teach their children, I should never put my child in a situation where another child could hurt him, so I decided that I wasn’t going to anymore.
Instead of teaching my kids to share, I have been teaching them no to touch what isn’t theirs, and not to feel obligated to give up what is theirs.
It Makes My Life Easier
When I don’t make my kids share, I have to deal with less temper tantrums, confusing moments, and awkward situations.
I do not spend every second of every day forcing my kids to do something they do not want to do.
The bottom line is I am happier, my husband is happier, and my kids are happier, and that is all that matters.