Mom Explains Why Her Child 'Is Not Required To Share With Yours'

"The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults."


That's how mom Alanya Kolberg started a Facebook post last week, which has since gone viral. In the post, she explains why she thinks it's important she teach her son, Carson, that it's OK to say no when someone asks to use your things. 

Carson was at the park when he was approached by several other children he didn't know who wanted to play with the toys he had brought with him. 

"He was visibly overwhelmed and clutched them to his chest as the boys reached for them," Kolberg explained. "He looked at me. 'You can tell them no, Carson,' I said. 'Just say no. You don't have to say anything else.' Of course, as soon as he said no, the boys ran to tattle to me that he was not sharing. I said, 'He doesn't have to share with you. He said no. If he wants to share, he will.' That got me some dirty looks from other parents." 

Despite the reaction from parents around her, Kolberg stands by her choice to raise her son to say no when he wants to say no.

"The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults," she wrote. "While I do know some adults who clearly never learned how to share as children, I know far more who don't know how to say 'no' to people, or how to set boundaries, or how to practice self-care. Myself included." 


Carson had actually brought the toys to the park with the intention to share them — just not with these boys he didn't know. He and his mom were meeting a friend and her daughter at the park, and Carson took the toys along so he could share them with her. Kolberg posted a photo of Carson handing the toys off to her.

"Please remember that we don't live in a world where it's conducive to give up everything you have to anyone just because they said so, and I'm not going to teach my kid that that's the way it works," she concluded. 

To be clear, Kolberg isn't saying that her child shouldn't share with anyone else. Instead, she hopes to instill within him the confidence to say "no" to things he's uncomfortable with — and, in turn, be understanding when others say "no" to him. 

Experts agree that Kolberg has an important point. 

"We have to teach children how to decide with whom to share, how to respectfully decline their request and how to respect themselves and be assertive enough to say, 'No.' Children don't always have to share simply because they are asked to do so," Dr. Susan Ashley, clinical and forensic psychologist and author of 1001 Best Tips for ADHD, told Attn. "The message should not be you don't have to share because you have a right to say NO; the message needs to be 'here's why you can choose not to share in this situation.'"


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