Mom's Viral Post About Sharing Is Something All Parents Should Read

By
Share
Ad failed to load

It's something you hear everywhere children are. "Make sure you share," a well-meaning parent chides their kid on the playground. But should parents really force their kids to share their toys or food or super cool new bike? One mom's viral post about sharing has re-fanned the flames of the "to share or not to share" argument, and she makes some pretty good points for allowing children to make their own decisions. Just like grown ups do all the time.

Alanya Kolberg posted a Facebook picture of her son Carson at a nearby playground last week. It went down like this: Carson showed up to the park like a champion, with Minecraft action figures, a truck, and a Transformer (as all good toddlers do). Immediately, she wrote, six kids approached him asking to play with his toys, demanding that he share them. Carson didn't want to share.

Maybe he didn't feel like playing with other kids that day and wanted some alone time. Maybe he had a really cool scenario he was planning on acting out with the toys before unveiling the act for the greater playground crew. Maybe he knows one of the kids is prone to tearing legs off of action figures and isn't going to risk his Minecraft toy. It doesn't really matter why Carson didn't share. Because, according to his mom, a child shouldn't be forced to share.

Ad failed to load

Kolberg wrote that almost immediately the six kids ran up to her to snitch on Carson's sharing abilities. When she responded, "He doesn't have to share with you. He said no. If he wants to share, he will," she got some dirty looks from the kids and their parents. Kolberg wrote in her post:

If I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No! Would any well-mannered adult, a stranger, reach out to help themselves to my sandwich, and get huffy if I pulled it away?
Ad failed to load

She makes a pretty solid point. For the record, Carson was waiting to surprise his friend, a girl, who was meeting him and his mom at the park with the toys. They were waiting on a playdate. Chiding kids for not sharing, according to Kolberg's post, might not be the best way to teach children to be generous anyway. Kolberg continued:

The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults. While I do know some adults who clearly never learned how to share as children, I know far more who don't know how to say no to people, or how to set boundaries, or how to practice self-care. Myself included.
Ad failed to load

Teaching kids they don't have to share and can take care of their personal needs is a big deal. In fact, most kids share more when it's their choice, and not a rule. A lot of times it seems that teaching sharing is about generosity, which is great. But Kolberg makes a solid case for making manners and setting boundaries a priority.

Last year, the BBC ran a segment on its show, The Secret Life of Toddlers, in which a girl named Skylar was put in a tricky situation. A group of children were all given gifts. Everyone got the same thing, except Skylar, who got an extra bonus present of chocolate. The kids immediately began bargaining with Skylar, telling her that she should, or had to, share the chocolate with them. Skylar's face is immediately stressed out. Yes, it's cute and funny, but there's a lot of angst in there.

Ad failed to load

She doesn't want to be rude, but Skylar really wants her candy and doesn't see why she has to give it up. Sure, she didn't earn it, but it's hers and who she shares with is her prerogative. Just like, say, an adult might feel about donating money to charity, giving a person in need change on the street, or applying for government subsidies. Giving, sharing, and asking for things are complicated decisions for adults. Imagine how it feels for kids who can't process all of those thoughts.

Raising (or even just witnessing) toddlers is crazy hard. Watching them try to play with toys in a group can be like watching a group of pit bull puppies tussle over a tennis ball. It's hard to know when to step in, who "deserves" what, and whether someone is going to bite or not. They're all cute, but it can go bad very quickly.

Carson, Skylar, or any kid on the playground shouldn't be made to feel bad because they don't want to share their toys, chocolate, or personal space. Adults do it all the time. Maybe instead of teaching kids that sharing is the only option, it could be more useful to teach them that it feels really good to share when they can and when they feel safe doing do.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}