Written by Doctor G

Sharing is Not Natural

Some years ago I was on the playground with one of my boys, who was two years old at the time. Another child had brought his own toy to the playground, and refused to share it with my son. The mom extremely apologetic, and very dismayed. “He doesn’t like to share!” she told me, seeming really shocked and worried by that. “Neither do I!” I replied, laughing. If there is one scoop of ice cream left in the freezer? My husband is on his own.

Sharing is not a natural instinct.

Of course, we have to do it anyway, so kids have to learn.

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4 thoughts on “Sharing is Not Natural”

  1. I totally started doing this one. How long before my kids will “get” it? You’d think after a few months of me saying “If you want that toy your sister has don’t take it out of her hands, just ask her and she’ll tell you when you can have a turn” that they’d just start asking for whatever toy they want. It doesn’t seem to be working out that way.

    1. Well, we’ve had this rule for about 6 years, and they do it on their own now… 75% of the time. Now I say when I hear the fussing “What should you ask?” and someone says (often petulantly) “Can I PLEASE have a turn?” But the answer is always yes. Take heart. Repetition is a learning tool. I say, repetition is a learning tool!

  2. I hear you. I’m also wondering if there are some things that get to be theirs alone and don’t have to be shared – a favorite hat, a special pillow, a cell phone, an expensive or fragile item? I know that I have things of mine that I am not willing to “share” with my kids because they are especially precious to me. It occurred to me recently that they may feel the same. Do you have any parameters for marking personal property or should it all be communal?

    1. When they were young we said “It’s all ours.” As they’ve gotten older we have allowed certain gifts, stuff they buy with their own money, prized possessions, to be kept in a cubby. As long as they are responsible enough to return them to that cubby each time, and not put stuff in there without asking one of the parents, we’ll keep that policy. It’s working pretty well so far.

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