Some Reasons For Not Sharing

Yesterday I was dealing with a question from a reader about sharing. Click here if you want to know how I feel about sharing.

Some kids don't like to share. Maybe being selfish is natural, and they have to unlearn it. I don't know. But I do know that there are many reasons why kids may not want to share.

  1. It is a special toy. It doesn't have to actually be a special toy, for it to feel like a special toy to a kid. Big G got a set of cars for Christmas that came in a divided cardboard package. he carried his cars around in that for days. I wanted to throw it away, the other kids wanted to play with it, but the answer was always "No."

  2. They want to take care of it. I remember my older brother was always very careful with his books, he would let me read them, but not our younger brother. My mom thought he was just being mean, until BigBro explained that he didn't like that Little Bro folded down the corners of his books, instead of using a book mark.

  3. They don't want to. Yes, this can be personal. I don't think I would share anything with someone who was mean to me either.

  4. They are defensive. If they are always being forced to give up things when they don't want to, some kids may become more resistant to sharing in the future.

  5. They just remembered they had it. Sometimes when they are asked about it, it reminds them that they had it, which may make them want it. Even if they were playing with something else before.

  6. They don't know how. Some kids may worry that they won't get it back, or that they aren't allowed to play anymore. Showing them by example may be a great way to ease their worries about their toys.

To me, these are perfectly good reasons for not wanting to share. The trick then, as a Mom (or Dad) is to teach our kids to want to share, despite all of these reasons.


  1. Thanks for the insights...this topic has brought about much discussion in our home. Here are our conclusions - to be truly Christ-like, we should always be willing to give of what we have. And let's remember that our true treasures are in Heaven, not here on Earth. But we did realize there may be times sharing something is not appropriate:
    * health and safety - for example sharing of toothbrushes (um gross, I'll just give you mine if you really need it!), sharing of something that is not age appropriate and could injury the borrower (for example a bike without training wheels and the borrower can not ride without trainers)or not age appropriate in that the person is too young to use the item as it is intended to be used, or sharing of equipment that the person has not been trained to use.
    * the borrower has shown poor judgment in the past when item was borrowed and they broke the item, ruined the item, or misplaced the item without offering to replace it. Or item was not returned in a timely manner or not returned in the condition it was lent out in.

    Basically those were the two areas we thought that it may be okay to actually say no, you can not use this...I think we all should be willing to give what we have but not at the expense of us being taken advantage of. As for young children (since most of these ideas really apply to older children/adults or at the parents guidance) we thought that it is important to instill the importance of sharing everything we have with those around us.

    Makes me wonder about those extra special toys kids treasure and how hard it is for them to share, but I think ultimately they should be willing to share those toys too.

  2. I agree, I was just outlining reasons why most kids don't want to share. I don't think that they are good enough reasons to not encourage sharing.
    But the idea was to analyze why your kids might not share and focus on dealing with those reasons, rather than forcing them to share.
    But ultimately our goal is to have kids who are so filled with love and genrosity that they want to share everything.

  3. Yeah, I understood what you were saying and you did clarify at the end of you post that it is our job (Mom & Dads) to teach our kids to share regardless if they want to our not. We were just thinking that perhaps there may actually be legitimate reasons for not sharing and that it actually may be okay to say no.