The Sharing Debate

The Sharing Debate
Let me tell you the tale of the park!
The scene is pretty much the same in all parks around the world: the kids are given something to do and encouraged to play together while the moms gather in small groups on the margins and fences of the playing perimeter and talk invariably about the children who are in front of them. They offer the tales of individual accomplishments – little A correctly identified a triangle at the age of 16 months or Smart little B, the smartest in the world, flipped from his belly to his back at 9 weeks of age, to tales of struggle – little C had 20 accidents yesterday, little D eats absolutely no veggies, or little E hasn’t slept more than 45 minutes at a time in weeks.


And then, in the middle of sharing or listening to one of these stories, we see two children unable to decide who will be the first one to hold the orange shovel. One of these children might be the one we just talked about, praisingly or not. And you see, just because we said something nice about them, we can’t now show the other moms that our kid is unable to share. So we step in, taking sides and forcing the kid to give up his right to fight for a toy he believes he has the right to hold.
Or we just talked about how he is struggling, and we don’t want to add this extra offense to their already existing list of misdemeanors. So we step in again, either giving in or giving up on demands that are not even ours.


None of what just happened has anything to do with our children. It has everything to do with us – how we want to be perceived, how we want others to be perceiving our kid, the judgment, the belonging, the sameness, the unique specialness.


What if we had enough faith in our innate goodness, knowing that we will do the right thing, even when nobody is watching. And our kids will too.


Step away from solving their conflicts. Step away from “teaching” them to be good and trust that they already are. And so are you.

This is an excerpt from “Manual for Motherhood.” Pre-order it now.


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