**This post has a lot of swearing in it. You have been warned.**
I was preparing an entirely different blog post with significantly less swearing, but that one will need to wait. All this week, I’ve been seeing the same ridiculous “article” being shared all over Facebook and lauded as good and true and the way we should be raising our kids. It’s this one, in which the author (Very Bloggy Beth, henceforth referred to as VBB) argues that we should not teach our kids to share because by doing so, we are enforcing the idea that our children are “entitled” to anything they want and that they can “step all over people to get what they want.” I have read this “article” several times over, trying to glean even a semblance of common sense or veracity from it, and all I’ve gotten for my trouble was an eye sprain from rolling them so hard at the overly-entitled bullshit attitude presented. I’ve also gotten a severe case of the sadz from both the “article” and the egotistical congratulatory attitude of, “Yeah! No one should have to share!” that I’ve been seeing all over FB this week. Thus, even though I can’t believe I have to say this, I will say it: “For Fuck Sake, People! Teach Kids to Share!”
Before I go further, I will say that I do agree with the first scenario VBB presents. That child brought a toy from home to the playground and should not have been made to share it if he didn’t want to. Personally, I wouldn’t have allowed my kids to bring something into a public place where there are other children if they weren’t willing to share it, but that’s me. So whatever. As for the rest of the asshattery presented, OMFG. There is no way in hell I would have allowed my child to monopolize a communal toy other children were waiting to use, and I sure as shit would not have sat on the sidelines if my kid was unwilling to share. That bullshit doesn’t fly here. I usually never judge other parents, but I am going to judge the shit out of that. Way to teach your kid that no one matters but them! Excellent job, VBB, you’re parent of the year! *said Juliane sarcastically* I’m curious to know how VBB would have felt if the situation was reversed? Would she have been just hunky-dory, A-OKAY! with another child denying her special snowflake the opportunity to ride on that toy for an entire 90 minutes? That might as well be a year in a toddler’s mind. And if there really was another “almost identical” toy nearby, why couldn’t HER child have used that one instead? Or why couldn’t the two kids have taken turns on the identical items, trading off after every few minutes? To me, that whole situation smacks of pure selfishness and plain lazy-ass “parenting.”
VBB defends her fucked up view of life by giving the example that “you wouldn’t cut in line at the grocery store just because you don’t feel like waiting,” and that is true. But, as a woman in my parenting group pointed out, you also wouldn’t stay at the front of the check-out line all day and say, “Screw all these people behind me!” Instead, you’d do your thing and then you’d move on, and then the next person would take their turn. Hey, wait! That’s sounds an awful lot like…*gasp* SHARING! I sure hope VBB isn’t encouraging her most special child to wait in lines! <<eye roll>> <<holy shit, my left eyeball just rolled away!!>> <<Fuck! Hold on.>> <<Okay, eyeball reinserted.>> VBB also states that by not teaching sharing, our kids learn how to cope with disappointment. While I agree that children do need to learn how to deal with disappointment since life is full of it, that doesn’t give our own kids the right to purposefully CAUSE frustration and hurt feelings in others by acting like self-centered fuckwads. Nor should we, as parents, condone that type of behavior by our silence from the sidelines. That is NOT okay. As for VBB’s bullshit examples of sharing cell phones and sunglasses, those are personal property, not public equipment and thus are not applicable. And, anyway, who hasn’t loaned their cellphone to someone needing to make a quick call? Is that just me? Well, I guess it’s because *MY* mom taught me how to share and take turns.
Look, I get it. Parenting is hard. It’s so much easier to just let the kids do what they want, whenever they want, for as long as they want. And it’s certainly easier to sit your ass on the sidelines than to get in there and explain life to your kid or to be the one implementing a disappointment. But, when we don’t teach and enforce common courtesy towards others, THAT is when we are doing our kids a great disservice. Sharing itself is what teaches kids that we aren’t entitled to whatever we want for as long as we want it. Sharing also teaches kids the art of negotiation, empathy for others, and patience. It will also teach your special little snowflake how to deal with the disappointment of not getting exactly what you want exactly when you want it. Sharing is mostly a lesson for the person doing the sharing, not for the person on the receiving end of the sharing. Knowing how to share and take turns is an important life skill and kids are not born with it. The fact of the matter is that kids are born as selfish assholes. It’s really their defining characteristic. That means that it is doubly important that we grown-ups teach children how to be functional in society. To that end, how about we not teach kids that it’s okay to hoard something that’s for the entire group? How about we NOT teach little Jonnie and little Janie that they are the center of the universe and that the rest of us mere mortals just have to wait? How about instead, we DO teach our kids the joy and sense of fulfillment that can come from allowing someone else to go ahead of you in line, to take a turn with a coveted item, and to just be kind to others because that’s what people should do?
Look, I know people are going to raise their children in the manner they see fit and that, ultimately, this post only serves to vent my own feelings and make me feel a bit better about this shitty world. Some people are going to teach their kids the atrocious manners espoused by VBB. It makes me sad for your kids if you decide that MEMEMEMEMEMEMEME! attitude is right for your family. I can only hope you are in the extreme minority and that majority of us (I know I am) are still teaching our kids to share and to take turns. I suppose that only time will tell, but it seems to me that any delightfully self-centered egomaniacs will eventually be put in their place by their peers. I mean, think about when you were a kid…did you want to play with someone who didn’t know how to share and take turns? Did you want to play with someone who hogged all the good toys? I’m guessing not. To be clear, I’m not advocating that kids must share everything all the time, but I am saying that we DO need to teach our kids that we should share and we should teach them how to share. For example, in VBB’s second scenario, she could have said, “Hey, why don’t you, sweet fruit of my own loins, ride that toy for 5 minutes and your new friend can ride this on this one for 5 minutes, and then we could switch?” (OMG…compromise! negotiation! *clutches pearls* sharing!) Contrary to what VBB seems to think, those are skills most of us adults use daily. Guess what? We started practicing those skills at a young age on the playground. So, FFS, People! Teach Kids to Share!