Alright I might be a little late in my post here ... did everyone hear the buzz about that mom who doesn't teach her kids to share?
Well I am thinking about her article as I sit here at my doctor's office. Just like any doctor's office, the tables are brimming with old magazines speckled with a very few new issues. I must admit, I have a terrible weakness at doctor's offices, I must confess, I have a weakness for People magazine. Really. I am not the mom who reads in the aisle at the grocery store (though I have no judgment if you are), my guilty pleasure is to look at all the pictures of stars in dresses and check out the latest trends. And I love the "who wore it best?" page.
Anyway, I noticed right when I walked in that someone was reading the new issue. I filled my time with flipping through old ones (when you are a new mamma and have a 2 year old and infant, you spend a lot of time at Dr.'s offices) but I had already seen them. I really wanted that new issue. That guy had the issue for what seemed like forever ... and I swear he already looked through it and was just flipping pages again for no reason ... no reason except to flaunt in my face he had the magazine I wanted to read. But the magazine isn't mine; I have no claim to it. It is owned by the office and if they have a problem with people reading zines for too long, they would probably put a time limit sign, right (like the cardio machines in the gym)? So, choose your own adventure, what would you do?
For me, I just waited until he was done. Patience. We don't teach it. What we do teach is the second option. We teach our children that because we want, it means it is our turn. That isn’t sharing, that is entitlement.
When our children are on the playground, especially if my kiddo brings his own toy, guess what, yours is not entitled to use it just because they ask. And if my child is swinging, he doesn’t have to get off just because your kid decides that he wants to use that very swing. Just in the same way if your kiddo brings a toy to the park, my kid needs to learn that he does not have a right to it just because he wants it, nor can he push your kid off the swing just because he decided he wants to swing too.
I haven’t MADE my 2 year old share. If he is playing with a toy and the baby wants to play but my older one does not want that, I ask, “Is there something he can play with?” and then he goes and picks out a toy for him. My problem has actually become that my 2 year old wants to share too much … really! He offers up toys that aren’t really fun for a baby and I even catch him trying to share candy and food with him. Let’s talk about a sticky problem there – I want to encourage the sharing so I praise him for doing so, but I gently remind him that his baby brother is not old enough for candy or carrots.
I haven’t gotten to the struggles where both kids want one toy and aren’t willing to budge, but for that situation I did have a friend suggest a timer. They each get to play with it for a certain amount of time, sounds like a reasonable solution and we will get there soon, I am sure.
Sharing should come from a good place in your heart, right? It shouldn’t be done out of obligation or being told to do so, that just builds resentment for the sharer and entitlement for the one who gets to take something away. My aim is always to try to foster the best relationship between my two boys. It isn’t the easiest method, for sure! It is much easier to dictate what kid gets what when, but I really am aiming to teach them to respect each other’s boundaries, have patience and respect for each other and anyone else they encounter. It may be harder for me as a parent, but better for them in the long run.
What are your thoughts?
If you want to read the article that got this whole thing started and publicized on GMA -- click here!
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