It is one of the earliest lessons that we are ever taught: it’s better to share.
However one woman has taken to Facebook to explain why that she feels that isn’t the case when it comes to toys, and her post has gone viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes and comments from parents who feel the same.
In the post, investment educator Alanya Kolberg explains that she had taken her son, Carson, to the park, when he was approached by a group of at least six other boys.
The children all began “demanding” that Carson hand over his three toys (a Transformer, Minecraft figure and truck) according to Kolberg, who noticed that her son had soon become “visibly overwhelmed” by the experience.
“[I told him], ‘You can tell them no, Carson… just say no. You don’t have to say anything else.”
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Kolberg goes on to say: “Of course, as soon as [Carson] has said no, the boys ran to tattle to me that he was not sharing. I said, ‘He does not have to share with you. He said no. If he wants to share, he will.’”
She reports that her comments earned her some “dirty looks from other parents”, but believes it was important to tell her son that he doesn’t have to share if he doesn’t want to.
She explained: “If I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!
“Would any well-mannered adult, a stranger, reach out to help themselves to my sandwich, and get huffy if I pulled it away? No again.
“So really, while you’re giving me dirty looks, presumably thinking my son and I are rude, whose manners are lacking here? The person reluctant to give his 3 toys away to 6 strangers, or the 6 strangers demanding to be given something that doesn’t belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?”
Kolberg continues: “The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults. 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.
“In any case, Carson only brought the toys to share with my friend's little girl, who we were meeting at the park. He only didn't want to share with the greedy boys because he was excited to surprise her with them.”
Kolberg finishes by reminding parents everywhere 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.”
“I'm not going to teach my kid that that's the way it works.”
The post has, at time of writing, been shared 234,039 times – and received a staggering 250,000 likes. And a number of people have taken to the comments box beneath to share their own opinions on the concept of sharing.
“The adults making excuses for kids running up to other kids asking/begging/demanding they share their toys with them, are the problem,” wrote one. “Kids are allowed to bring their toys to the park. Kids don't have to share with other kids. Kids shouldn't expect everyone to share everything with them. To think otherwise is wrong.
“Siblings are taught to share with each other, and not always or everything. Some of ya'll think it's OK to demand things of others, but it's not. People owe you respect, not use of their things. The sooner children learn this, the better. Hopefully some adults learn this lesson, as well. You should not covet what others have; work and get what you want.”
Main image: facebook.com/alanya-kolberg