Alanya Kolberg has shared some home truths about teaching your children to share their toys in a Facebook post
As parents, there are certain things that we know we must teach our children.
Be kind. Do not hit. Treat others how you wish to be treated.
And - of course - share your things.
But one mum in the US has written a brutally honest post about why forcing your children to share their toys might not ALWAYS be the best thing to teach them...
Alanya Kolberg, from the US, took her son Carson to the park with her one day to meet their friend who was bringing their daughter.
Carson had brought along a couple of toys to surprise the little girl with when he was suddenly approached by a group of six much bigger boys.
The boys demanded that Carson, who was clearly uncomfortable by such a large group, share his toys with them, as all children are taught that they must share toys.
But what happened next was not what they were expecting.
Alanya explained in a Facebook post which has since gone viral: "Carson was visibly overwhelmed and clutched the toys to his chest as the boys reached for them. He looked at me.
"'You can tell them no, Carson,' I said. 'Just say no. You don't have to say anything else.'
"Of course, as soon as he said no, the boys ran to tattle to me that he was not sharing. I said, 'He doesn't have to share with you. He said no. If he wants to share, he will.'"
Such strength and presence of mind is hard to practice in real life however, and we can quite often feel judged and pressured by other parents into just going along with what they want so that we won't cause a scene.
Alanya wrote: "That got me some dirty looks from other parents. Here is the thing though: If I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!
"Would any well-mannered adult, a stranger, reach out to help themselves to my sandwich, and get huffy if I pulled it away? No again.
"So really, while you're giving me dirty looks, presumably thinking my son and I are rude, whose manners are lacking here? The person reluctant to give his three toys away to six strangers, or the six strangers demanding to be given something that doesn't belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?"
Alanya then breaks it down, explaining: "The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults. While I do know some adults who clearly never learned how to share as children, I know far more who don't know how to say no to people, or how to set boundaries, or how to practice self-care. Myself included."
The mum-of-three adds that the point is her son WAS going to share his toys - just not with complete strangers: "In any case, Carson only brought the toys to share with my friend's little girl, who we were meeting at the park. He only didn't want to share with the greedy boys because he was excited to surprise her with them.
"The next time your snowflake runs to you, upset that another child isn't sharing, please remember that we don't live in a world where it's conducive to give up everything you have to anyone just because they said so, and I'm not going to teach my kid that that's the way it works."
WOW. Powerful stuff!
Other mums commented in their hundreds with their own opinions. One wrote: "My kids don't have to share with strangers at a park and they know to not even ask another kid for a toy. I rather my child not share because nine times out of 10 the other kid will take it home with them. The only others my child needs to share with is their sibling."
But one mum wasn't quite on board with Alanya's delivery of her message, and wrote: "I get what she is saying and I also sort of kind of see how she is setting her "snowflake" up to sit alone at lunch. Lol!"
Another mum agreed: "I have twins and the last thing they were forced to share was the womb. Everybody is entitled to their own belongings and I don't force them to share everything simply because they were born the same day."
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