My husband forwarded this article along to me and since it is an older article from Slate, I figured I’d make it new again to our readers.
I think we can all relate to the story at the beginning of this article. One little kiddo is playing with a toy, another little kiddo wants said toy and takes it away, parent of second kiddo steps in and demands that her kiddo share the toy with original little kiddo. Tears, pouting and general awkwardness ensues. Whether we’ve seen it happen on the playground and whether or not it has been our kiddo (I’m pretty sure it will happen at least once to every parent, you can be honest, no judgment here!), it is the kind of scenario that we dread, for the awkwardness, the tears, the potential hard feelings, basically many of the difficult parts of parenting.
This article has many interesting points, but I think my favorite part is the difference between modeling and teaching appropriate sharing behavior. For my 19 month old Peanut, I think that modeling is an appropriate approach at this point. My husband and I make a point to share (a book, a bowl of pasta, you name it), we expose Peanut to the process and when she is around other children, we’ll use the term “share” and encourage her to do so, but not with the rigorous expectation that it will go as planned. Because if there is one thing that parenting has taught us, it is to throw the terms “rigorous” and “expectation”, especially when used together, right out the window.
As Peanut grows older and is able to more to cognitively grasp the concept, that is where the teaching begins.
So until then, feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the subject!
Thanks for reading!