I refuse to accept this whole idea of not making my kids share. Obviously, I am not trying to raise a bunch of doormats; they do not have to share every single thing that is theirs. I don’t want to share my piece of pie either, but sharing empowers them and gives them self-confidence. Is it hard for them some of the time? Yes, but most things worth a damn are hard. These are other reasons I will always make my kids share:
1. It makes people happy.
If you teach your kids to share, but I don’t teach my kids to share, and we get together for a playdate, not only are your kids not going to like to play with mine, they will also grab your kids stuff right out of their sticky little paws, because in their mind, all the things are theirs. And when that happens, we will not be able to talk about very important things over all the screaming and grabbing. Nobody wins.
2. I don’t want to raise a bunch of selfish dipshits.
If you are unable to share, most people think you are a dipshit. If you are selfish about your beloved possessions, it makes you a little unlikable. Call me crazy, but I want my kids to be liked because they are good humans who try to do the right thing. It also makes me look like a dipshit if they don’t like to share. I don’t mind looking like a dipshit, but it isn’t going to be because I didn’t teach my kids to share their fucking Thomas the Train.
3. They have siblings and cousins.
My husband and I always imagined there would be more than one child in our house at some point, so as soon as my first child started playing with others, I would make him share. I knew soon he would have to learn how to share his things and his parents with another child. It was better to have him start very young than later in life when I was desperately trying to figure out how to parent two tiny humans. My kids also have a lot of cousins, and I rather like being invited to my sister’s house for dinner because we never get invited anywhere else. Believe me, if my kids didn’t share, those dinners would be a thing of the past.
4. I want them to thrive.
I want them to do well in life, just like all parents do for their children. I believe by pushing themselves, by giving their time and their talents, they are going to thrive. What you give comes back to you tenfold. I want my kids to have that.
5. It gives them life enrichment.
I want them to experience that awesome feeling of giving more than you take. I don’t care if we are talking about compliments or Cheetos, giving is the best feeling in the world. When you truly give to another person, that is the real gift. I want them to see how beautiful it can be to give and not expect anything in return.
6. It teaches patience.
It is hard to watch someone suck back all of your favorite wine, I mean, play with your favorite toy, it teaches you something, though. It teaches you that it feels good to be patient. It makes you stronger, more resilient.
7. It is the right thing to do.
I am not saying that I make my child hand something over the moment someone else wants what they have, but I do expect them to give them a turn shortly after they are asked or another child shows interest in something they are playing with. It just feels like the right thing to do.
8. They are going to have a really tough time later in life.
I think they would have a problem if they entered preschool and realized they had to share toys, crayons, and bathrooms with other kids if I had never taught them how to share. I am sure they would learn really fast, but it would be a hell of a lot harder. Old habits are hard to break and learning to share as a 4-year-old would be a doozy.
9. I am a sharer.
So I would like to say I lead by example and they have no excuse. Have I been known to overshare? Maybe. OK, yes, I totally overshare. I talk too much, I will tell you details you won’t be able to forget, and if you like my bra, you can totally borrow it!
10. It teaches self-control.
Listen, I have been known to smuggle a cheesecake in the bathroom so I don’t have to share, but I am 40 and have birthed three kids so I get to do stuff like that. So can they when they are older, but for now, they can share. They can learn to take a little less so someone else may have some too. There is no reason for overindulging (again, unless you are a mama who just wants to enjoy some sugar in the privacy of her own bathroom).
There are limits of course. I don’t want them to share boogers, pacifiers, or used baby wipes. Also, sharing stories of mommy and daddy “wrestling” or a story about that epic turd you plopped in the commode this morning is ill-advised. Some things are better if they are not shared. Hopefully, one day they will learn the difference.
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