It’s Okay Not to Share.. Or, Is It Not?

photo by our friend, Michael Kang

Photo by our friend, Michael Kang.

A fellow mom shared an interesting read some time ago on toys sharing topic.

As Baby is growing more and more conscious of her own self-existence and will (and boy, a strong one we figure out!), toys snatching and cat fights that resulted from it are getting more inevitable. And when we as parents are half-desperately constantly harping the “share.. must share..” mantras, the article is undoubtedly intriguing. In a nutshell, it talks about how it is actually okay NOT to share.

Yes, that has been quite a popular paradigm lately (we are seeing books with titles like ‘It’s OK not to share’ filling the shelves more nowadays heheh), honestly I think the idea about being OK to enjoy some(toy) while expecting others to respect that is not wrong in itself.

As Christian, however, I will appeal that we are aiming for a further goal, the heart, that is. While it is okay to enjoy something without wanting to be disrupted by others, it would have been out of self-centredness when the enjoyment is isolated from any thought for others. Bringing the kids to see the far superior enjoyment of being selfless and being blessing to others is hard and unglamorous work, by God’s grace hopefully we may!

Meanwhile, on the practical notes, I am actually considering such sharing policy (and seeking inputs from fellow parents too, so please drop some in the comments section if you have parental insights to share 😉 ):

(1) If some kid in the playground is having a good time with a particular toy and my kid wants the same toy, I should ask her to wait for some time (to allow the friend to enjoy playing with that toy first) before asking if it is okay for her to have the toy (in my case she can’t yet talk so I do the asking instead haha, hope no bully-effect implied :p ), if the friend refuses then I should offer my kid alternatives (read: distractions strategy)

(2) If it is the other way around, I should encourage the friend to ask as well. If my kid refuses, reason being she has just started playing with the toy, I hope to encourage the friend to allow her some time to play with the toy AND to remind my kid that while she is enjoying the toy, a friend is waiting. Apparently if she is selfishly taking too long, then I should intervene. If this leads to tantrums show off then a discipline should be in place.

(3) Along side, I should seek to teach her what God says about kindness and unselfishness OFF the spot (e.g. including story-telling with a toy-sharing scenario and all) and patiently wait for the glorious day when she would voluntarily hand over a favorite toy to an asking friend hahah..

So again, yes, it is alright to enjoy something while expecting others to respect that, but to have that enjoyment at the expense of another’s good should NOT be okay. And this, is what I think we need to carefully guard against. It is always good to mind both extremes in order to walk with balance 🙂 .

Another one to watch out for is (well, this one is quite personally for us), as parents, Hubby and I can be too focused on ‘getting along’ with the norm and expectation of the society that as good parents, we need to ensure that our child is giving away whatever she has in her hands the moment another child wants it, without a deeper thought on whether such parenting demand is doing both our child and her friend more good than harm. The last thing I want is for my child to translate it as ‘mommy loves other kids (or worse, her own image) more than me’, and condoning a potential bad-habit in other children.

How do you help your child dealing with sharing issues?