Why Teaching Your Kids To Share Is What You’ve Been Doing Wrong

Why Teaching Your Kids To Share Is What You’ve Been Doing Wrong

From an early age we teach children to play well together which usually translates to being kind to other children and learning to share. It’s no coincidence that no matter how many toys there are, if a child has picked a particular one out of the box, then all the other children will want that one too.

In these instances the usual parenting advice is to encourage children to share, take their turn and after a certain time, to let another child have a go with the toy. However, there is a new practice that actually goes against this traditional teaching of sharing which, although it may seem to negate our notion of teaching our children to be thoughtful and kind, it actually creates a mindset of generosity and empathy towards their peers.


Why Teaching Children To Share May Not Be Effective Parenting Advice

Your first reaction may be of course I should teach my children to share!’ After all, children need to learn that they can’t hog everything for themselves and they need to be aware that other people want to use or play with what they currently have. But by doing this, are we really teaching our children the right lessons?

While it seems that the right thing to do is for a child to give up a loved toy to give to another – whether voluntarily or with tear-filled screaming – there is another side to this and that is we are teaching children that it’s okay to have something someone else has, just because they want it. The idea is that this teaches them that they are ‘owed’ in some way just for wanting the toy. Whether the child is at either end of the situation, they are learning that they can essentially step over someone to get what they want. It’s also usually the case that the child doesn’t even want the toy, but it’s a opportunity for power and possession of something the other child wants.


Our ultimate shared goal is for our children to learn, understand and grow into kind and generous people who can respond naturally to the needs of others and they develop these qualities in their early play environments. By forcing them to share we are allowing children to create these mindsets:

  • Creates competition and feelings of negativity towards the other child.
  • Allows a child to believe that the harder they cry and protest the more likely they can get what they want.
  • Takes away the pleasure of playing because they know there is a time-limit on the toy they have.
  • Allows a child to perceive that adults are in charge of who gets what and for how long, and it’s usually inconsistent depending on how much the child protests.
  • Allows a child to conclude they themselves must be greedy but it’s what they have to do to get what they want.

What Should You Do Instead?

It’s all about allowing a child to think for themselves and giving them more control. Understandably as parents, we sometimes believe we should regulate, oversee and control a child’s behaviour and responses because we understand the situation much more than a child, however, we need to step back a little and allow children to self-regulate their own turns with a toy. In other words, we trust that our child can formulate, make connections and come to the right decisions by themselves.


By doing this a child can play happily for as long as they like, with no pressure of power struggle or parental control over how long they have the toy for, but also to hand over the toy with willingness and love when they’ve finished with it. This may sound undoable but with the right amount of freedom, they can learn over time from their own emotional responses and develop their moral understanding.

Not only that, but a child learns they shouldn’t just give up what they want just because someone else demands it in a negative way. Instead, they have a choice to give the other child the toy because they understand the feelings of the other child and perhaps they want to hand over the toy because they no longer want it and recognises the other child may want a turn just like they did themselves. Therefore, this technique:


  • Allows a child to learn they can be just as happy playing with another toy while they wait.
  • Allows a child to realise they are good and patient.
  • Shows they don’t have to cry and scream to get what they want. Everyone gets a turn eventually and in good time.
  • Allows them to create more positive feelings towards the child that voluntarily give them the toy they want.
  • Teaches them that they are generous when they hand over the toy to another child of their own free will.


The overall idea of implementing this different style of parenting is to develop a greater sense of empathy in children during play. Playing is a crucial time when our children learn how to communicate effectively and this technique helps develop their sense of empathy and their skill in patience that will help them be more efficient in handling bigger situations in the future.

Featured photo credit: via

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Jenny Marchal

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.


The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.


As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.


I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.


The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via


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