Learning to share is a major step in any child’s social development, but can children be taught to share too much? Alanya Kolberg thinks so. In a Facebook post last week, the mom recalled teaching her son not to share during a recent trip to the park. The post, which gives an alternative view of the “Sharing is caring” doctrine, has gone massively viral, racking up more than 200,000 shares in less than a week. Kolberg’s argument that children need to be taught self-care and personal boundaries, in addition to sharing, has struck a chord with thousands of readers, though some disagree with her approach.
Not everyone agrees with Kolberg, however. “This is actually a very harmful way of thinking,” one commenter wrote. “What you are doing is raising a child who will feel entitled to have everything both their own stuff and everyone else’s. Not the best idea.”
I think the real take away from this is that sharing (and not sharing) requires balance, and kids need to be taught to — and be allowed to — find the balance of giving and keeping that works for them. Yes, sharing is an essential social skill — but so is being able to say “No” when you need to.
Some commenters have pointed out that Kolberg’s post is a lesson for people at any age. “Great lesson for adults too!” one commenter pointed out. “We are taught to give everything of ourselves or be deemed selfish and thats not always healthy.” Another suggested that self-protection is something that can take decades to learn, writing, “I'm 51 years old and I'm only now giving myself guilt-free permission to share my money, possessions, affections or time on MY terms, if I feel so inclined.”