Something to share with you..

February 20, 2011

The post about not sharing my children reminded me of a child care pet peeve.

While working in childcare in the 1980’s, the first thing I learned after eliminating “good girl” and “good boy” from my vocabulary, was to stop demanding that children share.

The only way to truly raise generous children is to be generous. There are no short cuts.

The reality is most items are difficult to share. You can’t share a teddy bear, but you can take turns with a teddy bear. You can’t share a toy car, but you can share a piece of cake. Blocks or figurines can be divided, but individual blocks are impossible to share.

When parents used to complain about their children’s lack of willingness to share, I would sympathize, then I would ask them to give me the keys of their BMW. I just need to run down to the store for a few minutes. You’d be surprised at their lack of sharing! The same went for expensive jewelry. These parents were quite stingy. 🙂

Why do we expect our children to exhibit a level of generosity that is not only developmentally unrealistic, it is it is not culturally normal? Learning to set boundaries is a good thing. Learning to be a generous person is good too, but the way to teach that is through role modeling and positive reinforcement, not by demands.

I learned this in the 80’s, so why oh why are teachers and parents demanding that children “share?”.

One Response to “Something to share with you..”

  1. This was so good! We do have unrealistic expectations for our children, stop crying, don’t be sad, eat everything on your plate,you should taste everything, don’t throwup on the floor, run to the bathroom and other such nonsense that we don’t do ourselves. This post made me smile. I loved you asking for the keys. Brilliant!

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