There are many mothers and fathers who are overwhelmed when their young children do not want to share their belongings and therefore force them to do so. It is possible that in a park, children’s party or after school you have seen scenes in which parents force their children to share their toys or their snack. Many children forced to do this end up crying inconsolably without really understanding what is happening.
Many parents, when their children do not want to share, explain to them how important it is to do so, although what really worries them the most is not only that their child learns the lesson, but that the lady next to them listening and seeing everything knows that They are good parents who educate their son in the best way. This makes no sense and we should not care what others think of our upbringing if we really know what we are doing.
When we want children to share
The objective for which parents want their children to share what is theirs with others at all costs, is so that they become fair and generous people. In this way, we think we are doing the right thing, even though we do the opposite with them every day, without realizing that this is not right and it confuses the children.
Sharing things with others is a very abstract concept for children. Empathy is difficult to understand when they are young and it is even more complicated when their self-centeredness is still in full swing. It is difficult for young children to empathize with others when there is a situation that is not fair, they only think of themselves and this is fine. It is part of their growth, and although we want to work on empathy from the earliest childhood, we must also respect their process of understanding.
Forcing is not teaching
Forcing a child to leave his favorite toy with which he has barely played for 10 minutes to leave it to another (be it a friend, brother or cousin) because he also loves it, thinking that in this way you are giving him a great life lesson, is not right. In fact, it can be very cruel. It is essential that you change your thinking about this, for the good of your child and his development.
Leaving your child crying to show how important it is to share and for someone else to enjoy their things is cruel. You who are an adult and have empathy, put yourself in your child’s place. Think that someone takes away something very precious to you just to enjoy it while you were using it. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? If you want, you can lend it, and if not… then no. Well, it’s the same with your children.
It’s not going to teach them anything that they cry while other children enjoy something precious to them. It doesn’t matter what you explain to them, it’s not something that’s right even though they’ve instilled in you since you were a child that it is. Forcing is not teaching and therefore it is not a good parenting option.
When a child does not want to share
That a child does not want to share his things does not mean that he is a bad person or that he is rude, nor that he is going to become one. It is part of his development and you must accept it as such. It is a necessary stage for his evolution and it is the only way that little by little and almost innately, he learns such important values as justice and empathy.
You can explain to him that if he wants he can leave his toys so that other children can play with him (not that they take it away and leave him crying), but if he does not want to leave something in particular, absolutely nothing happens because it is his decision.
Teach this instead of forcing sharing
Instead of forcing your children to share, it is better that you teach them a lesson that is really important: respect others and their belongings. Take turns and learn to play as a team instead of wanting what others have. And this is not learned overnight, it takes time and a specific maturation process, so you must do your part and be patient, without forcing them to do something they do not want, such as sharing.
You can talk to them about the importance of sharing and its benefits: the game is more fun, new friends can be made, etc. But never force them to do it. You should always ask them if they want to do it and they will only do it when they are ready for it, and never before. Never take things out of their hands and leave them with nothing just because you think it’s better… because in reality, it’s not.
It just takes time for this situation to improve on its own. Do not punish them and always help them find a solution so that everyone wins. Remember that he is also learning to have better social skills, and this takes time.