It's drummed into us from a young age: sharing is caring. But one mum took to social media recently with different ideas. And we have to admit, she has a point.
"MY CHILD IS NOT REQUIRED TO SHARE WITH YOURS," began Alanya Kolberg's Facebook post, all in caps. The caps may seem over the top at first, but read on to understand her frustration.
Alanya shares a story about a recent trip to the park with her son Carson, who took some toys with him to play with. "As soon as we walked into the park, Carson was approached by at least six boys, all at once demanding that he share his transformer, Minecraft figure, and truck," she wrote.
"He was visibly overwhelmed and clutched them to his chest as the boys reached for them. He looked at me. 'You can tell them no, Carson,' I said. 'Just say no. You don't have to say anything else.'"
Alanya then told how the boys went and told their respective parents that this little boy in the park was not sharing, and that he was being supported in that choice by his mum.
"That got me some dirty looks from other parents," she wrote. "Here's the thing though: if I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!"
She went on, "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 three toys away to six strangers, or the six strangers demanding to be given something that doesn't belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?"
Alanya thinks we need to teach our children they aren't entitled to everything they see, just because they want it, flipping the idea of sharing on its head. Sharing is still important, of course, but nobody can possibly share with everyone. In our house, we focus on sharing with siblings and friends, and those who are in need. And then we share with strangers if we have enough of something to go around.
What is more pressing than the sharing lesson is the lack of boundaries so many children are growing up with now. Alanya talked about at the long-term implications of that.
"The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults. While I do know some adults who clearly never learned 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 practise self-care," she wrote.
And Alanya has a suggestion for parents who encourage their children to demand that other children share with them. "The next time your little 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."
Many Facebook commenters overwhelmingly agreed. "You were right and I agree with you 100 per cent," wrote one.
"And how many adults are struggling in life because they don't know how to say no," commented another.
A few weren't so sure. One said, "I have mixed emotions about this. I understand your point of view but I was raised up with sharing is caring and all that so I don't know what to say."
But it looks like the internet is generally in agreement with Alanya. We need to teach our kids to say no, set boundaries, and respect others' boundaries too – and that can all start at the park.