To share or not to share?

So here’s a question for you:

Say your kid has a special “lovey.”  A blanket, a stuffed animal, that sort of thing.  And then say that your kid brings this lovey to a public place, let’s say, a park.  And THEN let’s say another kid grabs the lovey.  This probably won’t go over well with your kid, or you.

Here’s my actual question.  Do you force your kid to share the lovey?

Rowan has two small blankets with tags all over them, ironically called Taggies.  We took one of them with us to the playground, along with some small trucks and a bucket and shovel.  Right away a little boy grabbed Rowan’s tag.  Rowan, understandably, started crying.   I gently took his taggie back, but the other kid’s mother flipped out.  She said that if a kid brings toys to a public place, it should just be understood that it’s all communal.  I tried to explain to her that it was my son’s special comfort item and that we would be happy to share the rest of his things.  She wasn’t having it though, and grabbed her kid by the wrist, and dragged him to their car, mumbling something about selfish and spoiled kids.

I’m all about teaching Rowan to share right now.  Sometimes he does quite well, and will pass out his toys to kids that aren’t even playing with him.  Other times tears are shed.  The difference though, is usually he’s just plain mad about it.  With his tag, it was more fear I was seeing.  Hence my hesitance to force him to share.

In the future we will leave tag in the car or at home to avoid another incident, but what would you have done in this situation?

12 thoughts on “To share or not to share?

  1. I just wonder how that other mom would react if your kid took some of her kids stuff and her kid started crying….you can’t avoid such incidents once you bring your kids “lovey” to the park…they are still too young to understand the concept of sharing I guess…so it probably is better to leave taggie home next time 🙂

  2. I think you did the right thing. The other mother needs to understand that while it is important for children to learn to share, there are some things that it is ok not to share. Children also need to learn boundaries and respect for other people’s things. I’m all for sharing, but not for a child just assuming that he/she can take a toy from another child whenever they want. Sharing is important, but so is asking. Parents should teach their children to ask before taking something and to share when asked. It’s a two-way street.

  3. Sounds to me like that mom had a classic case of “parent forgets to be an adult”. If she has a tantrum every time she encounters someone who doesn’t live by her rules, she’s missing a good opportunity to teach her kids. Hopefully, she was just having a bad day, this happens to me every once in a while, so I could forgive her. You, however, should not give her a second thought. I’d think she’d want it that way.

    We do have a rule that if Aaron brings something he has to share. I go over this with him pretty much anytime we go to playgroup. He continues to bring things he doesn’t want to share and inevitably gets upset about it. I figure it’s my job to let him experience this. This is life and maybe experiencing the small consequences of temporary choices will help him make better choices in the future.

  4. While Ido believe in sharing and teaching kids to do so, not nescessarily a toddler’s lovey. And just bringing toys to a public place doesn’t make the toy public. Grab her starbucks cup and take a swig or her blackberry and check your email… she brought them to a public place therfore they’re public…

    And letting him experience some of this is good parenting, it is the real world and kids are expected to share in one form or another.

  5. I think it’s okay to bring a comfort item to a public place. And I think it’s okay for your son not to share it. It’s obvious you aren’t teaching Rowan not to share ANYTHING, because you offered his other toys, but I think kids can have certain things that are just theirs, and the OTHER kid can learn that it shouldn’t be assumed that toys/taggies at the park = toys/taggies at the park for HIM. We take a lunch to the park all of the time, and we have never thought about bringing enough to share with everyone. Public places = places that are free for everyone to share. Public places does NOT mean all of the things I take from home are public too.

  6. at the risk of sounding like tactless white trash, i think that parent was an ass. her quick reaction was directed toward your taking something (gently, or not) from her child, not about sharing toys. she needs to grow up. if she takes her BlackBerry out to dinner, does that mean you can walk up and start playing with it? “Hey, I need to make a quick call. Thanks!” her response was awfully presumptuous, offensive, and i think she’s an asshole. there, i said it.

  7. Uhm, where were HER kid’s manners when he just grabbed someone else’s stuff? I know they’re just toddlers, but she really dropped the ball on that teachable moment with her child. Bringing your own things to a public place with total strangers does NOT automatically make them community property. If she brings her wallet to the park, is it okay for me to grab it? What, she brought it out where all the other people are… that means she has to share it, right? I REALIZE it’s a complex concept for toddlers to understand (that some things at the park are communal–perhaps sand toys that live in the sand box, for instance–but others are private property belonging to the people visiting), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to teach it!! Of COURSE it’s hard for them to understand, but no time like the present to start getting them acquainted with the concept (because they’ll be using it for the rest of their lives): not everything is theirs to take and use.

    Maybe she was having a bad day as someone else suggested, but I really see this one as a no-brainer. If my son ever took another child’s property and the child got upset, I’d gently make him give it back and deal with the tears. That’s just the right thing to do, and part of this little thing we call life. From the intensity of her reaction, it sounds to me like she might be one of those moms who just can’t stand to see her child upset/crying. Really, Tiffany, I believe you did the right thing. Your thinking has my vote.

  8. I agree with the others on the mom’s behavior. Jocelyn has two blankets that are special to her. While most of the time we do try to keep her blanket in her bag while around other kids, there are many days when she wants to hang on to it while she plays, particularly when she’s in a new place or around strangers. If another child tries to take her blanket, I gently try to remove it from the situation, like it sounds like you did. Often, that means that Jocelyn doesn’t get to continue loving on it either, to keep it from becoming a fight.

    With any other toys, we always remind her that if she brings it out around other children they will likely want to play with it, and if she isn’t willing to share, she shouldn’t bring it. In most cases, she’ll decide which are too special to bring out around the other kids, and which she’s willing to share. She is over a year older than Rowan, but it sounds like he’s the same sort of child, too. He’ll share, just don’t touch what’s most important to him.

    As for the mother, she clearly is of the mind that her child should have everything he wants, when he wants it, and who cares how it makes the other child feel. It sounds like she has no clear understanding on how to be a parent, because, like it or not, a parent is actually expected to teach their child that sometimes they have to accept ‘no’ for an answer. Touching another child’s lovey is one time a child should hear a ‘no’. Heck, she should’ve been the one to say no, you shouldn’t have had to. What parent doesn’t know that if a blanket or taggie is in tow that it’s clearly special to the child?

  9. Bad form, other kid’s mommy!! I have a sneaking suspicion that the other kids probably shares other kids’ toys much better than he shares his own!!! Me thinks you should be happy she left!! 🙂

  10. What kind of car did the mom drive? ‘Cause I’m thinking if it’s a nice one, I’d like to take it for a spin. If she brought it to a public park, she should share it.

    The mom should have explained to her child that it’s not ok to take something that doesn’t belong to them. I had the rule of sharing your stuff in our own home and anything that you didn’t want to share needed to be put away. But a public park? Pfffft! The only thing that has to be shared there is the playground equipment.

  11. Pingback: 2010 in review « A Sweet Potato and a Superhero

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