‘Johnnie, share your toy!’
‘No, stop playing with your toy and give it to Mary!’
‘Stop being mean, you can share or else we are going home!’
Just a few examples of phrases I have heard at baby groups. It makes me really upset hearing these. I would never expect another child to stop playing and exploring with their toy in order to accommodate Freddie, and vice versa. If Freddie is playing with a toy that another child wants, I will simply and kindly say ‘I know how badly you want to play with this toy, however Freddie is playing with it at the moment but I will let you know when he’s finished with it.’
I just don’t understand the whole culture around making our children share something they don’t want to share. Sure, it’s always nice to share but children don’t understand the importance behind sharing, they must learn this themselves and threatening them or labelling them as ‘naughty’ if they don’t share their beloved toy is just confusing and mean in their eyes.
You know, we don’t walk into a cafe and ask the waitress to tell Bill over in the corner to stop reading his newspaper because Fanny-Ann wants to read it. No, you just patiently wait your turn or kindly ask them if they will let you know when they are done with it.
There are extremes at either end of this argument, like everything, and I think it’s about finding a reasonable balance. Sharing is a nice thing to do and we can model this to our children in day-to-day situations. However we shouldn’t force sharing on our children if they don’t want to.