Parenting is full of pot holes. If there is anything that shows hindsight is 20/20, it is being a parent. So, if there is anything that I know I have done right, at least for our family, and that I have done right enough that Buds has commented and complimented me on it many times over the years, it is our children and sharing.
I am eternally grateful that I read Siblings Without Rivalry soon after the Buster was born. There are tremendous treasures throughout the book, and the one that has come back to us time and again is children fighting over a toy or some object that both of them want. Our standard has been to not make the children share. If you’d like to share, that’s great. If you aren’t ready to share that’s great, too. If you used your allowance to buy this cool toy, and a brother or a sister wants to see it, you are welcome to say, “I’m not ready to share yet.”
It carries over to food for us, too. If you leave food on your plate, the adults have to ask permission to eat that leftover item. And if the child says, “No, I don’t want to share it,” the adult has to accept that. Food will be thrown away rather than a child’s wishes be ignored. (And don’t tell me about the children starving in Africa who could eat that food. I’ll rip right through that argument with a few well-chosen words–starting with–“What factory farm do you get your meat from?!”)
Anyway, what we see in our home is children who are very willing to share–unless they aren’t. And it is fascinating, with our young neighbor who HATES to share, the children don’t like to share with him. Natural consequences follow very quickly from this approach.
I really hope this isn’t the only tally I’ll get to make in the “win” category.