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Child expert claims you should NEVER make your kids share – and forcing them to does more harm than good

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MOST PARENTS have been in the uncomfortable situation of their child refusing to share a toy with another.

Whilst most parents might tell their child to hand the toy over, some experts are claiming that forcing them to share does more harm than good.

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Forcing your children to share could be teaching them the wrong lesson[/caption]

Across social media platforms, there are parents lending a hand to others by teaching them new techniques to parent their children.

One parenting technique that has become popular is to not force children to share and below, experts reveal the reasons why.

Dr Laura Markham from Ahaparenting.com, a website dedicated to parenting topics, spoke to VeryWellFamily, an online resource for pregnancy and parenting advice, about how you should never force your child to share.

And Dr Markham isn’t the only one, parenting coach and mum-of-four, Avital, also agrees that forcing your children to share before they are ready can be detrimental.

One of the principals of early childhood education is teaching your child to play well with others and to start good socialising habits early on.

Many parents may see this as a sign to teach children that they must share their toys but some parenting experts and psychologists are saying it is not.


Dr Markham said that forced sharing can actually teach the wrong lessons such as; crying loudly will help a child get what they want, parents are in charge of who gets what and when they get it and children should always interrupt what they are working on to give something to another child just because the other child asks.

Although these are not the lessons any parent wants their children to learn, Dr Markham says it often is what children take away from forced sharing.

Parenting coach, Avital says that brain development in children under the age of five has not caught up with the idea of sharing as they don’t recognise someone else as a separate individual from them or understand that someone else’s wants and needs might be different from their own.

Although forcing your child to share may teach them negative lessons it is always good practice to encourage them to share and Dr Markham and Avital have revealed what techniques you can try to teach children how to share without forcing them or causing any tantrums.

Avital says that: “One way to help kids with the demand that they share their toys is to ask them, pre-play date, which toys they’re not going to want to share today.

“Together you can store those toys out of sight so that they have some preemptive control.”

Avital also said that sometimes the best thing to do is simply nothing and let the children work it out between themselves.

She wrote: “When adults get too involved, we muddy the waters with our evaluations and judgments, seeing victims and aggressors where there are only children at play.”

Another tip Avital has is to model the behaviour you expect in your children.

This means making an effort to share around your children and to actively do the things your asking your child to do, around your child.

Dr Markham also offered advice on how you can ask your child to share without forcing them into it.

Speaking to Very Well Family she said children need to be given the tools to handle these situations and that it is parents’ job to provide these tools.

This means parents should model patience and provide the appropriate language for their children to ask others to share.

Dr Markham also suggests encouraging self-regulation by letting children play freely, feel fulfilled by their experience and then give the toy over when they are finished. 

She goes on to say that by allowing children to decided when they are finished with a toy it results in a child who learns patience and one who will be able to handle more emotionally complex situations as they grow older.

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Instead give your child the choice and encourage them to[/caption]

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