Sharing is caring?
Not necessarily, explains Alanya Kolberg.
This Springfield, Missouri resident has gone viral after posting a Facebook photo of her son, Carson, at the playground last week.
As you can see above, the picture features the young boy holding a few toys while being surrounded by a few of his fellow toddlers.
But what has captured the attention of the Internet is not necessarily what we see in this image, but the first line of what Alanya wrote as a caption to it.
MY CHILD IS NOT REQUIRED TO SHARE WITH YOURS.
Not exactly something you often hear from a parent, is it?
Kolberg went on to explain that her son is perfectly adept at sharing; in fact, he brought some of his toys to the playground in this case specifically to share with a friend.
But he was taken aback when kids he didn't know suddenly surrounded him and essentially grabbed directly for his Transformer, truck and Minecraft figures.
"As soon as we walked in the park, Carson was approached by at least 6 boys, all at once demanding that he share his [stuff]," Kolberg wrote.
"He was visibly overwhelmed and clutched them to his chest as the boys reached for them. He looked at me."
And this is when mother told son that he can simply say "no."
Naturally, Kolberg said in her lengthy caption, these rebuffed kids quickly went to "tattle" on her to their parents. But she stood strong in the face of the "dirty looks" she received.
And here's why, Alanya 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."
Based on this logic, Alanya asks, Whose manners are lacking here?
She then tries to answer her own question:
"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?"
Sort of makes you think, doesn't it?
Here is how Alanya concluded her caption, emphasizing how she wants her son to learn how to stick up for himself:
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.
The next time your snowflake runs to you, upset that another child isn't sharing, 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.
This post has been shared over 239,000 times.
Those who agree with Alanya have written such responses as:
I applaud you being a present parent, and for instilling your values in your children, for letting them know that you support their decisions, and that you have their backs.
She isn’t teaching her child not to share, she’s teaching her child comfortability, discretion and control. It’s not an obligation to share with strangers. Break the ice first, most children will willingly share when they feel comfortable and ready.
And those opposed to Alanya are represented by replied such as the following:
Children already know how to say no. We have to teach our kids that giving to others that don’t have [the same] is important.
Where do YOU stand on the topic of how and when to teach children the concept of sharing?