Today’s Definition of Sharing

Little big boy reaches into little sister’s bowl and scoops up some yogurt and cereal and says, “Look Mom. I’m sharing with sister”. Sister continues eating and doesn’t seem at all bothered by his foraging. Boy is smiling.

I think we have to work on the definition a bit more.

Later in the day, little girl has the two monkeys. Little boy wants one. He hands her his pretend cell phone which she takes and he proceeds to unpeel her grip on one of the monkeys. She acquiesces. He tells me he has shared.

I again think that the definition of sharing needs some fine tuning.

In the afternoon, sister is pushing the yellow dump truck with the monkeys in it. Little boy sees her and runs over and puts his cell phone in the back with the monkeys. I’m about to comment on how well they are playing together when I realize he has taken control of the dump truck and left her behind with a monkey on her lap. She didn’t complain, but I think it’s because he was so sly.

“Give her the dump truck”, I instruct and I raise my eyebrows. He says, “It’s MY dump truck. Birthday present from Grandma”. This is all true and it is his, but at our house we share and everyone can play with it. He takes it back, but now she is stacking monkeys on the books and doesn’t want it back. So I guess he can use it.

Somehow that scenario did not feel very good.

And then tonight she has her teddy bear and he wants it. He tries to take it. She resists. He says, “Mom! Sister isn’t sharing. It’s my turn.”

What do I say to that?

2 Comments

Filed under Life with Kids

2 responses to “Today’s Definition of Sharing

  1. This is rough territory. I have these same sorts of questions. We share everything in our house as well, but sometimes the big sister can be pretty convincing about why her little brother needs to surrender whatever he’s using to her. Not exactly sharing, but I don’t know, if he’s OK with it? But then I feel for him. At some point, doesn’t he need to learn to say “no, that’s no OK”? Does he need me to teach him how? Or will he figure that out on his own when he gets tired of it? And will big sister then, in turn, learn that she can’t just commandeer things? And how messy will it be when that lesson is finally learned? Do I read more into these things than there needs to be? I have answers to exactly none of these questions.

    • Laughing – It’s all very subtle stuff isn’t it. Today, little boy was being a bit of a bully (for that’s what it is when he takes advantage of little sister’s littleness) and I said, “What’s the right thing to do?” He very slowly put the apple slice back on her plate. But I liked that I handled it using some big guiding value language instead of getting caught up in the nuances of definitions. Oye – it is not easy!

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