Why We’re Still Teaching Our Children To Share

Why We’re Still Teaching Our Children To Share

Ahh 2023. We have so many new tools at our disposal, innovative ways to make our lives easier. But it’s not just tech that has changed. Conversations look mighty different too, helping spread new ideas and philosophies to millions of readers. The mom-sphere is no different. I find myself more educated on children – how to birth them or raise them, than I ever could have imagined. One fascinating discussion that I have seen rise to the top is the idea that we shouldn’t be teaching our children to share.

The first time I read this, I was utterly confused.

The idea is this: adults don’t need to share, so why should children? One example I heard many moms explain is as an adult, if someone took our cell phone, we wouldn’t allow it. So why should we be putting the expectation on kids to do so?

I can somewhat see how someone got to this idea – however, I think it is incredibly more nuanced than that. Let’s start with siblings. It is natural that kids will want to play with a toy their sibling is playing with. And sure, we can teach not to rip out of their hands, or wait their turn, but learning how to share is critical. It can teach a child patience and that not everything they want, they get.

And it’s simply not true that we don’t share as we grow older. How many siblings did you know that had to share a car in high school? Even college? At work, I’ve had to share community office supplies and computer equipment. As my income has expanded, I’ve shared my finances, donating to people in need and giving back to some very needed community projects.

Simply put, teaching to share isn’t a bad skill.

It is something that we definitely use throughout our life. And it can be a great skill to teach children. Some parents might want to make stipulations on the act of it (such as, strangers can’t take from their kids or kids can’t take from strangers), but I think down the road, it helps us become better adults.

Why We're Still Teaching Our Children To ShareMy daughter herself has the habit of walking into her cousin’s house, seeing something she likes (that does not belong to her), and wanting to keep it. We are teaching her that she can’t do this because this does not belong to her, and she needs to ask permission to use it. And if said cousins do allow her to play with it, she will learn to share back with them if they would like their toy back.

And what a beautiful moment it is when you witness your child learning to share on their own without any prompting! What do you think – are you teaching your children to share?

Katie Templet
A kid at heart, Katie loves all things writing, Harry Potter and musicals. At any moment, she is down for either a cup of coffee or margarita. Her passions are building and improving her community of Lafayette, where she was born and raised, and teaching her one daughter to have a British accent. (Not so successful at that last part yet). She spends her day as a nonprofit ambassador, helping nonprofits amplify their mission and creating more social good.