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Thursday, March 1, 2012

To Share or Not to Share ?

When I decided to have children, I always knew I wanted more than one just to make sure that my children could learn to share. I thought that naturally they would get this instinct with just the fact of.......  that simply another child lives in the house, and from just watching us as parents give things to them equally. Or having them help with chores around the house equally etc... Not to say that you can't teach an only child how to share. Its just with multiple children, its right in their face everyday to have to share when you live in the same house.

At an early age with my children, I fostered the need to share with everyone. We practiced it diligently when they were toddlers with saying things like, "Ok! its his turn to play with that toy, can you please let him play with it now?"," nice job sharing, I am so proud of you."or...."We share the crackers, lets make sure everyone gets one, thank you!"

I even call family meetings when there is a problem in the house, so each person has a chance to share their views and opinions on how to solve it. We have many discussions on the reason why its better to share amongst many other subjects that we talk about.

So why was I woken up at 6am in the morning last week with my 16 year old daughter screeching at my 13 year old daughter about sharing a curling iron?

I laid in bed listening to the argument. I could hear my 16 year old begging my 13 year old to use the curling iron. Then simply my 13 year old would just calmly say "No!" and then explain "that its hers."This of course made my 16 year old more frustrated and the screaming got louder and louder. By this time my 6 year old had woken up and came into my room and  asked with a worried voice, what was going on. Then I could hear scuffling from my 12 year old son's room. The girls had woken us all up. I lay there trying to decide whether to intervene or not. I waited, hoping that my 13 year old would do the right thing and share. More time went by and I prayed that my children would work this out on their own.

As their mother... the peace loving, sunshine and rainbow, glass half full type I am. I was hoping that my two teenage girls had learned how to share by now and could figure out how to solve this together.

However, as I heard my 16 year old ask my 13 year old again for the curling iron, and the 13 year old answering "nope." Then the 16 year old began to whale in a high pitched terror stricken wine.

Something snapped in me. I arose from my bed because I just couldn't take it anymore. I stomped out there looked at my 13 year old and said simply, "I didn't raise you to be a person that doesn't share, we are a family, and in our family we share." "This is over a curling iron, is this worth the pain that you are causing your sister?" My 13 year old throws the curling iron down, and mumbles that she paid for it herself and she shouldn't have to share it.

I turned around and slumped back to bed. The thoughts began racing in my head.
How did this happen? Where did my child get this attitude?
I know there is four of them, and each of them wants to have something their own. Why can't they just share?..... My daughters comment about buying it herself...(I thought,) If we didn't have to share everything we bought ourselves, then what an interesting space we would live in?

for example:"OOps I bought that couch, so you can't sit on it." Or..." Sorry, the food in the refrigerator, I bought that today." "So you can't eat any of it."

We bought a house with 5 bedrooms, just so my children can each have their own space, that's truly theirs. I thought this could be their place to get away, a sanctuary to be able to call their own, so they could have something that they didn't have to share. Maybe by giving them something they didn't have to share, caused this? My thoughts just kept reeling....Will my children ever learn to share? Who knew that a  possession like a curling iron would become so important.

I myself came from a big family. I am glad I had to share. Hopefully someday my children will appreciate this fact too.


Anonymous said...

Wow, a curling iron. I understand the need to learn to share but not the screeching. Things can be discussed and argued but I would have to put my foot down when it came to screaming or hurting. You will always get issues where two people disagree but I hope they learn as children how to handle them in a manner you'd expect as adults. There is compromise, discussion, bargaining and intelligent debates to give them a platform to work on. K

eastsideartschool said...

Yes a curling iron!

K, I totally agree with you about the screeching. This is why we have family meetings to discuss problems and have compromise, discussion, bargaining and intelligent debates. So they can learn the skills to work issues out. But this blog post wasn't about the screaming behavior I could write a few more based on this subject.(And yes, I have been working on this screaming behavior with my oldest daughter for a few years) This was about my surprise that my children are still having a hard time sharing, and how it pains me so to see that they have acted this way even as older children whom I think would know how to share by now.