Alanya Kolberg and her son planned to spend a day playing in the park and meeting up with friends. What happened to them in their first minutes there sparked a viral debate on social media about a topic all parents encounter.
Sharing is not caring
Kolberg's son, Carson, was carrying some of his favorite toys, including a transformer, a Minecraft figure and a truck. Almost immediately, a group of boys swarmed Carson, asking him to share his toys with them.
"He was visibly overwhelmed and clutched them to his chest as the boys reached for them," Kolberg said in her Facebook post.
Carson looked up to her to see what he should do. She stated her reply to Carson in her Facebook post, which gained over 240 thousand shares and over 720 comments debating her parenting decision.
"You can tell them no, Carson,' Kolberg told him. "Just say no. You don't have to say anything else."
When the group of boys ran to Kolberg to tattle on Carson for not sharing, she didn't sway from her decision.
"He doesn't have to share with you," she told the boys. "He said no."
Kolberg said several parents in the park gave her dirty looks when she responded this way.
Many people who saw Kolber's Facebook post disagreed with her parenting technique in the comments.
Katie Hearn pointed out that children use sharing as a way to make friends.
"My mum did teach me that being kind and sharing is the best way to be and tbh that has helped a lot in my adult life," Hearn said.
Kolberg compared expecting children to share their toys with children they don't know to expecting an adult to share their sandwich with strangers in the park.
Katie Hearn said comparing a child trying to play with another child to an adult asking for a bite of sandwich isn't a fair comparison. "Suggesting that the child shouldn't ask to play because he/she is in the wrong also isn't fair."
Many people commented they agreed with Kolberg's decision. Prentice Danforth commented that she agrees 100 percent with the message Kolberg is promoting.
"If you choose to not share with someone you don't know, it is all good," Danforth said. "I love that your son understood that and it is wrong for others to assume that kids need to share everything."
Chantel Jones, a pre school teacher, commented she promotes similar sharing rules in her classroom, though many parents disagree.
"That's what I teach my kids, to use words to politely say 'no thank you,' 'this belongs to me,' or 'I'm using this right now,'" Jones said.
Kolberg said the reason Carson had brought his toys to the park was to share and play with his friend they were meeting. The picture she shared on Facebook shows Carson and his friend sharing the toys together, which he most likely wouldn't have been able to do if he'd given his toys up to the group of boys.
Kolberg wants parents to "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."