Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Reality of Sharing

Cora is crawling now. Well it's more of a scoot than a true crawl. Needless to say, she is mobile. And that has turned E's world upside down. I would even venture to say that this new development has been a harder transition for E than when we first brought Cora home from the hospital. She wasn't touching his stuff then. Now it's "Oh no! Cora has my (insert whatever toy here)." Then E will take it away and Cora will cry. On the positive side, E will replace whatever he has taken away from Cora with one her "baby toys" as E likes to call them. But of course those aren't near as fun for Cora as what her big brother has. So there's been a lot of talk about sharing and modeling what taking turns looks like which can be exhausting. And honestly, it's kind of comical watching the two struggle over toys as long as I can step in before a complete meltdown from either one happens.

Mike and I agree that we don't think our kids need to share everything. That's just not a reasonable expectation to set for our kids. As adults, we don't share everything and me being an only child, I really don't share everything. Some things are mine and only mine and that's ok.

A while ago I read a story about a mother criticizing another mother at a park for not teaching her child to share. I can't remember what publication this story was in but the gist of it was that a child brought a truck to the park to play with and another child wanted to play with the truck too and the child was not sharing. The mother of the child with the truck did not intervene and make her child share. That's when the mother of the child without the truck made the criticizing comment about how that little boy must not have been taught to share. The mother defended her choice not to intervene because she felt her child had made a conscience choice to bring his truck to the park to play with and that's what the child was doing. Why should he have to give that up just because another child was upset he didn't have a truck to play with?

I find myself agreeing with this mom's logic. As adults we aren't required to share just to make someone happy. Why should we teach our children this when it's not reality? For instance, if I'm reading a book and someone sits down next to me and wants to read a book too but doesn't have one, I'm not going to automatically share my book just because sharing is the nice thing to do. There will be disappointments in life and not always getting what you want will be part of that. And yes, as an only child, I have on the rare occasion experienced the disappointment of not getting what I wanted.

Mike and I are trying to teach our children that some things we do share but it's ok to have special things that we don't always have to share. For example, E's blanket that he sleeps with every night, he doesn't need to share that with Cora. That's something that is very important to him. But when it comes to blocks, those we share. Mike and I use the phrase "that's a sharing toy" a lot. As we navigate through this lesson of sharing, I'm sure it will create some confusion for our kids on what to share and what doesn't have to be shared. It certainly is easier to teach them to share everything. But I'm hoping our approach in the long run will teach E and Cora to stand up for what is important to them but also know the importance of sharing what we have.

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