Tot Sauce: Sharing is Caring

by Amy Nance
 

From the day we are born, it's ingrained in us that sharing is the good and right thing to do. I have two cookies and you have none, so I'll give you one so we both have a treat to enjoy. But should sharing be mandatory?

I distinctly remember a policy we had in my kindergarten class that said if I had a toy and you wanted to play with that toy, I got to play with the toy for two minutes, and then I had to give it to you. In the end, it felt like no one really got to play with the toy.

When my son transitioned from the infant class to the toddler class at his daycare, we had a conference with his new teacher. She told us that she didn't believe in forcing a child to share. At first I thought this was very strange, but then she explained her view with a story about an Easter egg hunt from her childhood. She had been forced to give her sister half of her Easter eggs, even though she had been the one who had done all the work to find the Easter eggs while her sister didn't participate at all.

So in some respect, does mandatory sharing teach children that they don't have to work hard to get the things they want? The mommy blogger in this article thinks so. She feels like forced sharing gives the recipient a sense of entitlement that isn't practical in the real world.

What do you think? Should children be forced to share, simply encouraged or neither?