Do we teach kids to do things without actually realising what we are trying to get across? Here’s a lady who questioned one of the ideals that kids are taught. The idea of sharing. Now, before you get all wound up about it, hear her story, and then decide.
Alanya Kolberg and her son Carson had gone to the park. Carson had taken along some of his favourite action figures and was quite content playing with them, when he was approached by a group of boys who demanded that he share his toys with them. Obviously the lad was a little overwhelmed, and reluctant to give up his toys, so he looked at mom for help.
Mom explained very politely that Carlson did not have to share, in fact, all he had to tell the boys was a simple ‘no’, which he did. This brought all sorts of dirty looks from the other mothers. Alanya decided to post her story, and did. ‘MY CHILD IS NOT REQUIRED TO SHARE WITH YOURS’.
Again, before you get all worked up, think about that statement. If you were to take your lunch into the park and sit down, ready to eat it. Would a well mannered adult simply come over and grab your lunch and eat it? Are you required to share your lunch with anyone who feels like a bite? The answer is ‘no’.
“So really, while you’re giving me dirty looks, presumably thinking my son and I are rude, whose manners are lacking here? The person reluctant to give his 3 toys away to 6 strangers, or the 6 strangers demanding to be given something that doesn’t belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?”
Why then, asked Alanya, can our children also not just say ‘no’. No explanation is needed, a simple ‘no’ should suffice. While it is important to share, there is also a time when you are not required to share unless you feel that you would like to.
Another example is if you were to go into your favourite coffee shop, and manage to get the window seat with a view. You order your coffee, and sit down to enjoy it. People want your seat simply because they want the view from it. Are you obliged to stand up and sit elsewhere? Alanya says the answer is that you are not obligated to give up your seat.
Alanya feels that while the goal should be to teach children how to function as adults, parents also need to teach them how to set boundaries. Parents are sadly lacking in doing this, she says. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’.
There is a huge difference, says Alanya, between the child who refuses to share all the time, and the child who does not want to share because he has not finished playing with his own toys yet. Alanya feels that parents need to stop teaching children to be more self sacrificial that they are.
So the next time your youngster runs back to you and says that the other kid won’t share, consider that we do not live in a world where kids have to give up everything they have because the other kid said so. A simple ‘no’ should mean the end of the confrontation.