To share or not to share

They say that sharing is caring. But I’ve been struggling to get to grips with it.

They say that sharing is caring. But, in the last few weeks and months, I’ve been struggling to get to grips with it.

Not my own sharing that is - I’m reasonably okay with that - passing the biscuits round and only being mildly peeved when people avail themselves of my generous offer.

No, it’s sharing for toddlers that is nagging away at me.

There seems to be an unwritten assumption built into parenting that states that your child must share all things at all costs. Toys, books, friends, games, is nothing sacred?

First off, Tibbons has a toy that is closer to his heart than anything else he’s ever owned (literally, as she’s carted around with him at all times, to all places).

So I’m clear that she is not for sharing and I think that’s okay. Other toys, I encourage Tibbons to share with friends coming round to play and mostly I think he does quite well.

But it’s difficult for young ones, so how far do you go in enforcing the sharing rule?

At other people's houses, I’m probably prone to thinking they don’t go far enough and at our house I probably adopt a similar approach, but feel bad for Tibbons if he finds it tough.

You see, I feel like I’m displaying contradictory behavior: at friends’ houses, trying to convince him that it’s okay for a child not to want to share their toys with him and then at our house doing the exact opposite and trying to convince him that, actually, sharing is great and should be done routinely, with the minimum of fuss.

If there’s a happy medium, I’m yet to find it.

Ideally, I’d like to let him share on his terms, but given how widespread the unwritten parenting assumption about sharing is, I’m not sure we’d have many more playdate invitations.

And how about those “helpful” types who try to make your child share? What’s to be done about them?