Why Shouldn't You Force Your Kids to Share?

It's common for parents to want their kids to share. But is it really the best option? Find out what you need to know in the following article.
Why Shouldn't You Force Your Kids to Share?
María José Roldán

Reviewed and approved by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

You only have to see some children at the park or at school to realize that, on many occasions, parents force their kids to share. Even when they don’t want to. Not only does this fail to achieve the goal, but it also produces insecurity, anger, and discomfort in the little ones.

For this reason, today, we want to tell you why you shouldn’t force your children to share. Keep reading!

Forcing kids to share doesn’t make them more educated children

It’s essential for parents to take an active role in the education of their children in order to assure their development. While school plays an important role, there are some things that little ones need to learn at home long before reaching the classroom.

In this sense, coexistence guidelines and good manners must be instilled from the early stages of life. But what about sharing their belongings with others against their will?

You may remember an episode in which your parents forced you to share in childhood and you became very upset with them. Just the same, you may also have repeated this action with your children at some time or another without even realizing it.

The truth is that parents feel social pressure to raise their children well and if they refuse to share their things with others, we feel like it’s because we did something wrong. As if we’d raised a little selfish and spoiled tyrant.

But you can relax! Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that children don’t want to share is something that’s completely normal.

Two twins playing with blocks playing on the floor, one crying.

How can we teach kids to share?

For children, it’s natural for their belongings to be very important to them and, therefore, they don’t want to lend them to anyone else. Not even that toy that they weren’t even paying attention to five minutes ago.

How can we expect children to have these levels of generosity if many times even adults aren’t capable of achieving it?

You mustn’t teach them to share with words. Rather, you must teach them by example. And at the same time, respect their times and accompany them so they can let go of their objects when they feel ready to do so.

Finally, you need to keep in mind that forcing isn’t teaching at all. What’s the use of another child enjoying an object, if your child cries uncontrollably because they feel that it was taken from them in the cruelest way?

Little ones don’t understand that sharing is temporary

The notion of time is very different for children and for adults. If little ones feel that something very precious has been taken from them, even for a few minutes, they become distressed as if they will never see it again.

Added to this, when it is their parents (the people they trust the most) who force them to do it, the discomfort increases, and a tantrum will be soon to arrive.

What’s yours is yours

The egocentricity of little ones is at the highest level and the word “mine” is the one they like to use the most. In addition to causing discomfort, handing their things over to other children doesn’t make them friends.

Just as you don’t want them to talk to strangers, don’t force them to lend their toys at the park to other children they don’t know. Especially if they don’t want to.

Your toys are your treasures

It may just be a toy for you, but for your child, it’s a great treasure with enormous emotional value. The television in your home, your car, or any other important object in your life is just as important to you. Would you leave any of those precious objects at the mercy of others, without any qualms? No. Well, your child feels the same way about their possessions.

Generosity can’t be forced

Being a generous person isn’t something that can be forced, but it’s a value that’s observed in the environment and is learned over time. Also, forcing kids to share or pressuring them to do so doesn’t make them generous. It makes them submissive.

If your child doesn’t want to share, allow them to protest. And if they don’t share with others out of their own free will, don’t force him. This will only ensure that they never want to share anything with anyone, not even when they grow up.

It’s their decision, not yours

Sometimes, as parents, we forget that our children are separate beings and have feelings and desires of their own. It’s clear that we must educate and guide them in life, but certain decisions belong to them. In this sense, you must accept whether or not your child wants to lend something to someone else.

A mother and her toddler daughter lying in bed talking.

My child isn’t ready to share

If this is the case with your little one, the best thing you can do is not force it and be a good example. Your child may not listen to you, but they watch you all day and imitate you in every way. So, if you want them to internalize the value of generosity, you must show it to them with your daily actions.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Razeto, A. (2016). El involucramiento de las familias en la educación de los niños. Cuatro reflexiones para fortalecer la relación entre familias y escuelas. Revista mexicana de investigación educativa, Pág. Educ. vol.9 no.2. Recuperado en 16 de septiembre de 2021, de http://www.scielo.edu.uy/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1688-74682016000200007
  • Valdés Cuervo, A., Martín Pavón, M., Sánchez Escobedo, P. (2009). Participación de los padres de alumnos de educación primaria en las actividades académicas de sus hijos. Revista mexicana de investigación educativa, vol.11 no.1 Recuperado en 16 de septiembre de 2021, de http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1607-40412009000100012

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.