Yes, your kid is a brat… at least, sometimes.
And I know it’s true, because mine are brats sometimes, too.
That’s why I have a couple extra thoughts or counter-points for the people who like this woman’s approach to sharing:
On the one hand, she’s correct. Children don’t HAVE to share their toys…
And it’s true there is an epidemic of people who feel entitled to have what others have, even when they haven’t earned it.
The entitled attitude likely begins in childhood, where teachers and parents carefully indoctrinate tiny socialists with the idea that being a good citizen means SHARING. And, if you won’t share, the government will make you.
I agree that’s bad.
For example, a wealthy entrepreneur with really neat possessions may be completely selfish with those possessions if he wants to be. (And I don’t automatically deserve a piece of his possessions, even if I call my piece “taxes.”) 🙂
However, if my child is the one with the really neat possessions on the play ground, then I’m going to take the opportunity to teach him/her that the best part about having “stuff” is letting others enjoy it.
Thankfully, my oldest daughter already knows the joy of sharing. She’s a gift-giver, like her daddy. It makes her happy to watch other people play with something that she also likes to play with…
…which is why she bought a light-saber for her little brother for HER BIRTHDAY.
Yes, she really did.
Of course, I didn’t tell her she had to make sure her siblings had gifts. But she wanted him to open something. And, for that reason, she ended up enjoying the gift part of the party even more than she normally would.
This is a complicated truth, especially for young children, who are possessive by nature. But, it’s a truth nonetheless.
“It’s far better to give than to receive…”
Furthermore, if a child doesn’t learn the positive effects of being generous, he or she will quickly discover there is a downside to being That Kid Who Always Says “MINE!” or “NO!”
Eventually, the other kids will stop being interested in your Transformer and your Minecraft figurine…
That’s a big let-down for “That Kid” who likes to flaunt his favorite toys, just to yank it away when another gets too close. “That Kid” enjoys the power of deciding who gets to play and who doesn’t… (And, no, don’t act like your kid wouldn’t be “That Kid,” because ALL kids are “those kids” who tease others sometimes.)
Eventually, the other kids get tired of being led around on a leash by “That Kid” so they say, “I don’t want to play with your stupid Transformer anyway. Mine is better.” And then they go somewhere else.
I’m not saying this is “right”–but I AM saying it’s the natural response to a kid who won’t share his toys. The others will exclude him in return. And playing with those really cool toys suddenly won’t be as really cool, without an audience.
Tough lesson, Junior.
Not only is he lonely, playing by himself, but if he decides later that he DOES want to play with the others, it may be too late. They might treat him to his own medicine.
“We don’t HAVE to play with you.”
Is Junior’s mom going to give me a dirty look because my brats are excluding her brat (who did the same thing five minutes earlier)?
Technically, mine don’t HAVE to feel compassion for your son, if he gets to the point where he has lots of cool toys and ZERO friends, right?
No, my kids don’t have to share.
But, you see, I will teach them they will be better off treating Junior the way they want to be treated, because they will be happier in the long run if they do.
They should treat Junior the way they want to be treated, even if he acts like a brat first (Because, I will point out, “Sometimes YOU GUYS act like brats, too!”)
Again, I understand being concerned that other kids are too entitled. I get it! And I know being forced to share changes everything. If I had told my daughter she HAD to get presents for her siblings on her birthday, the magic would have been lost. It was beautiful because she chose freely to be generous.
But I’m not worried about teaching my kids to say “no” more often. (I mean, seriously, it has been their favorite word since they were toddlers. They don’t need more practice.)
I’d rather they give TOO much and have their generosity taken advantage of than to have kids who grow into stingy adults. I’d hate if they learned to protect their “stuff” at the expense of making new friendships.
Eventually, they may look around at their piles of cool toys and realize they have no one to say “no” to anymore. Because everyone is gone!
Ultimately, no one likes to play with a brat…