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Should You Teach Sharing?

To Share or Not to Share

One of my friends went to a preschool interview with her child where the head of the school said she does not believe in sharing. Claiming that children under the age of four are not wired to share, she doesn't think that kids should be forced to do so.

Tots can enjoy one toy as long as they please. When they tire of the object, it's free for another wee one to do what they will with it.

While this concept may work well in her environment with proper monitoring, it could be a recipe for disaster when the kid is surrounded by others who expect a little give and take.

What is your view on sharing?
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Happsmjc Happsmjc 8 years
I wouldn't want to live in a world full of adults who did not have to share as children. I feel like it promotes selfishness and the world is already full of selfish people. Sharing is a life lesson that one must learn as a child, regardless if they want to do it or not.
rgrl rgrl 8 years
I have sometimes felt like making a kid share in some circumstances is sort of a forced thing, and the child does not actually understand the true meaning behind it, being left with bitter feelings about it afterwards. I think sharing is great, but it shouldn't always be forced and there are some cases where a child should not have to share.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
Exactly Jennifer.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
Exactly Jennifer.
jennifer76 jennifer76 8 years
Oh, and sharing your own personal things still falls along the same lines. Would you invite your friends over to play Guitar Hero but not let them have a turn? Invite them over for dinner and then get mad if they drink some of the wine because you wanted more? Etc...
jennifer76 jennifer76 8 years
Kids aren't wired to do a lot of things that they need to learn to do. I agree that the "put it down and you're done" rule is a form of sharing. It's certainly also hard for them to grasp that concept at a young age. BUT, taking turns and playing <em>with</em> other children at the same toys help kids develop important skills. Learning to empathize with another child who desperately wants a turn with a fun toy, learning to forego something you may want that isn't right, learning to deal with disappointment, learning to be happy with an equal pleasure that isn't exactly the very one you're sure you wanted, learning the joys of doing a kindness to another person etc...The concept that sharing is only to make life easier for adults seems off to me. Teaching children to share and enforcing the rules you've set take a tremendous amount of effort. It's a lot easier to just ignore them and let them go all Lord of the Flies on you. :? And I think comparing sharing communal toys in a school setting versus the most expensive item you personally paid for and own (your car) is a bad comparison. Sharing communal toys is more like sharing the roads (by being courteous) or sharing park space. Can you imagine one family coming in and setting up a large tent in the one area of shade in an entire playground and just hanging out there all day and not allowing anyone else to use it?I think BabySugar's point that these kids will really only know how to deal with other kids who also don't know how to share is spot on. Maybe these children will be ok with the situation at school, but they will endure a lot of angst when trying to deal with children who <em>have</em> been taught to share and who are upset that these children have been told they don't need to.
jennifer76 jennifer76 8 years
Kids aren't wired to do a lot of things that they need to learn to do. I agree that the "put it down and you're done" rule is a form of sharing. It's certainly also hard for them to grasp that concept at a young age. BUT, taking turns and playing with other children at the same toys help kids develop important skills. Learning to empathize with another child who desperately wants a turn with a fun toy, learning to forego something you may want that isn't right, learning to deal with disappointment, learning to be happy with an equal pleasure that isn't exactly the very one you're sure you wanted, learning the joys of doing a kindness to another person etc... The concept that sharing is only to make life easier for adults seems off to me. Teaching children to share and enforcing the rules you've set take a tremendous amount of effort. It's a lot easier to just ignore them and let them go all Lord of the Flies on you. :? And I think comparing sharing communal toys in a school setting versus the most expensive item you personally paid for and own (your car) is a bad comparison. Sharing communal toys is more like sharing the roads (by being courteous) or sharing park space. Can you imagine one family coming in and setting up a large tent in the one area of shade in an entire playground and just hanging out there all day and not allowing anyone else to use it? I think BabySugar's point that these kids will really only know how to deal with other kids who also don't know how to share is spot on. Maybe these children will be ok with the situation at school, but they will endure a lot of angst when trying to deal with children who have been taught to share and who are upset that these children have been told they don't need to.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
sorry I should have said that is a form of sharing.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
see that's funny graterfinn because to me that is sharing. And I realize that's what the article is saying too (that the child can play with it alone and when they're done then someone else can play with it). Sharing doesn't always mean playing with something at the same time, it also means taking turns to play with the toy individually.
graterfinn graterfinn 8 years
we used this rule with our kids that we learned at their day care. if they were playing with a toy, it was theirs. if they put it down, it was up for grabs. it worked really well with our twins since it was enforced at their day care. their friends at the time were also students at the same day care, so they all understood how it worked. it's proved harder with our little one who isn't in the same day care situation.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I agree that children are not wired to share. I also think it's important to teach them how to. Sharing is a fact of life. We have to share so much in this world, the air we breathe, the road, restaurants, public places, parks etc. When I'm at the store shopping and I'm ready to check out, I have to wait in line (another form of sharing and waiting your turn) because we can't all use the same check out person at the same time we have to share him/her. Ot you can go to another line which is also sharing - we're all using the store at the same time but we can do so without being rude adn by acknowledging that there are others who need to be there too. It's more about being accepting, tolerant and courteous of others to me.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 8 years
I read one parent's opinion somewhere that made sense to me - he said "the purpose of making kids share is just for the convenience of the parents, so they have a quick way to settle disputes." As in "well, you've played with this for a few minutes, lets pacify this obnoxious other kid by giving him your toy." I agree, kids aren't wired to share. Adults don't have to unwilling share anything - can you imagine having to loan your car to a neighbor just because they came over and asked? Hopefully I'll have taught my kid to be kind and considerate, so that they'd want to share, but I don't intend to force it on them.
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