Okay…time for a little admission here. I do not really teach my kids to share…there I said it. Most of you already know I am not a very conventional parent and one of the things that has always bothered me about conventional parenting wisdom is the whole sharing mandate. Kids have to share we are told. But I never really got this because I do not believe in having double standards where kids are concerned…aka mommy can hit you but you can’t hit me…or your sister, or you can’t throw a tantrum but mommy can yell when you do something naughty.
I never felt okay with telling my kids they have to share their belongings with other people because I don’t feel compelled to share with other people if I don’t want to. I don’t let the lady down the street share my car. I don’t let my friends share my DSLR or my cell phone. They can ask and maybe I might say yes but under no stretch of the imagination do I HAVE to share anything of mine with them.
The whole emphasis on sharing seemed silly to me because it IS a double standard. This has come up often lately as the two children next door have been totally indoctrinated with the sharing mandate and what does this mean for my son? It means he is blackmailed daily into turning over his bike, his John Deere truck, his DS…okay it is slightly embarrassing the amount of “stuff” that kid has so lets stop there. You get the point. Last week when he was at their house the father actually made him “share” his snorkel in the pool. That is so gross! According to my son the man actually said “If you come over to our house to play in OUR pool you need to let them (his kids) have turns using your stuff.” Do you think he would try that if I came over and used his pool and brought a raft with me??? See…double standards.
BUT….I DO encourage cooperation in my kids. They all have items that belong to them and are not subject to sharing rules. Other items we buy with full disclosure that these things are community property and must be used in cooperation with each other and respect for the fact that they do not have exclusive rights to those items. When we have guests they don’t have to share their stuff…period. Just like I don’t have to share my stuff with guests. We do discuss how friendships require give and take though. When they are over at some one’s house they need to ask to use things that don’t belong to them and if the answer is no…the answer is NO. They are not entitled to anything.
My kids usually have no problems sharing with other people either, despite lack of specific instruction in that area. They just have certain treasures that they would rather not risk by loaning them out and I totally understand that.
So what do you think? Logical or horrifying? LOL.
When Noodleboro recently sent me a game to review called the Learning to Share Fun Park Game I didn’t know if I would like it but when I realized that is really more about cooperation and working together than sharing, I knew I liked it. I really like cooperative games and reviewed some others here.
The actual game consists of carnival rides and activities….a log ride, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and circus tent. You roll a die to find out what ride you need to do and then if you “win” you get a specific token. Example: You win the log ride by balancing a ball on a forked twig while it goes through a maze… if you get the ball out without letting it fall, you win. Each ride has a specific token and each player has to get all their tokens before the park closes. The cooperation comes in because often you have to do the same rides more than once and you may get extra tokens that other players don’t have. Since everyone loses if you can’t get out before closing time it gives you incentive to share your tokens with other players and get sharing stars in return.
My kids had a blast with it. Kids love carnivals so of course they will love a carnival game and the cooperative element isn’t cheesy at all…it makes sense. Every time we played I heard “Can we play again???!” :)
The game is for kids 4 years and older and I think the hand-eye skills in at least one of the rides does require some skill that kids younger than 4 might not have yet…so heads up there. There are definately small pieces that young children could choke on too.
They get a thumbs up from me and my kids. So how do you handle sharing in your house? We have some good conversation going on below in the comments.