A Missouri mom disagrees with the age-old saying, “sharing is caring,” and her Facebook post explaining why she taught her son not to share has gone viral.
Alanya Kolberg of Springfield, Missouri, revealed her reasoning in a Facebook post last week. When she took her son Carson to the park, Kolberg said he was “approached” by at least six boys who all demanded that he share his toys with them.
“He was visibly overwhelmed and clutched them to his chest as the boys reached for them,” Kolberg wrote in the Facebook post.
Carson looked to his mother for answers. Kolberg told her son he could tell the boys “no” and doesn’t have to say “anything else.”
“Of course, as soon as he said no, the boys ran to tattle to me that he was not sharing,” she wrote.
Kolberg, an investment educator, said she told the boys her son “doesn’t have to share with you” and if he wants to, he will.
Although her response triggered “some dirty looks from the other parents,” Kolberg stood by her decision to teach her son that sharing is not mandatory, and she took to Facebook to defend it.
In her Facebook post, Kolberg compared the scenario to if she, as an adult, were eating a sandwich at the park and strangers asked her to share the meal.
“Am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!” she wrote. “So really, while you’re giving me dirty looks, presumably thinking my son and I are rude, whose manners are lacking here? The person reluctant to give his three toys away to six strangers, or the six strangers demanding to be given something that doesn’t belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?”
While it’s important for children to learn how to share, Kolberg argued, it’s equally important for them to learn “how to say no,” “how to set boundaries” and “how to practice self-care.”
“The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults,” the married mother of three wrote in the Facebook post. “We don’t live in a world where it’s conducive to give up everything you have to anyone just because they said so, and I’m not going to teach my kid that that’s the way it works.”
By Monday, Kolberg’s post had been liked by over 230,000 people and shared more than 211,00 times on Facebook. The reactions, however, have been mixed and the post sparked a heated debate about the sharing rule.
While many praised Kolberg’s attitude toward sharing, others blasted the mother for teaching her child to be “selfish.”
“Children already know how to say ‘no.’ Teaching them to share is what they need to be tough because ‘no’ comes easy for them as it is,” one person commented. “She is a selfish woman and teaching her kid to be selfish.”
“Sometimes what people want to label as selfish is not selfish,” another person commented. “She isn’t teaching him not to share, she’s teaching him how to protect and be responsible for his things.”
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