My son is 4 years old and, as all other kids, is very fond of video games. He has a limited screen time, and currently his tablet was broken by his younger sister. He cried but then understood that we will get it fixed. (That would not be before 2 months).


Now yesterday we went to a party and there were 8- to 10-year-old kids playing X-Box. Since my kid is very good at playing he got all excited and told me that he wants to play too. I said when they are finished I will ask them. Once they were finished I asked the kid if he could let my son play at which he refused. (not straight but he said the games were not working). I told my kid that we can only ask someone but not force them to share. So we'll have our own X-Box when he is 5.

Later at bedtime he said that those kids were too bad and he will not share with them and that I should scold them.

Did I do the right thing? I feel so bad. Maybe I shouldn't even let him hope that he would get a chance to play with other kid's stuff.

2 Answers 2


It's possible that the other child was lying because he didn't want to deal with the backlash if had said "You're too young, I'm afraid you will break my game". In the future, when you ask if your four year old can play with an older child's electronics, you might add "I'll stay right here and supervise to make sure nothing gets broken." It isn't really fair to expect an older child to share something breakable with a much younger child whom he doesn't know, without more assurance than simply the child in question "promising" he won't break it.

If you are wondering how to explain this to your four year old, ask him how he would feel if he got his Xbox and his little sister wanted to play with it. If she said "I won't break it" would he believe her? Ask him what his little sister could do to make him feel safe about lending his toys to her. This question could end up being a good teaching experience.


I don't think you could/should have done anything different. You were correct when you said that you can't force people to share their things.

If the child who refused to share was your child, you could take action if, and only if, you knew they were lying about the XBox not working. Going on the basis that the child was lying isn't necessarily right. Maybe the game was broken. Maybe the controller needed to be charged.

If the child was lying, then that is too bad for your son and I know rejection feels bad. You should however teach your son that withholding from that child or other children in the future just because of this incident only perpetuates the issue. Teach your son to share when he is capable of sharing, even when he doesn't want to, even when it's with someone who has already wronged him, after all two wrongs don't make a right. Teach your son to take the high ride.

Finally for you, don't give up on all children just because of this one issue also. Your child will have plenty of other opportunities to play with other children and their toys. Teach him it's OK to ask and also teach him how to gracefully accept rejection. Sometimes people, all people, not just children, just don't want to share and there is nothing we can do about it.

  • 5
    +1 but I wonder about this: "Teach your son to share when he is capable of sharing, even when he doesn't want to..." Teaching generosity is important, but so is teaching self-respect and boundaries. Children also need to learn that it's okay to say "no" and to expect that when they answer "no" to a request, it is respected. Relevant blog post: bustle.com/p/… Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 19:23
  • @RoseHartman I should have clarified a little more because that is what I mean. "When he is capable" encompasses mostly when he has the capacity to share but also when he is comfortable to share. It is definitely ok to say no but saying it out of vengeance or spite is probably not a good thing. Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 22:04
  • i had also told him about the good things he already had and how some people don't even have those. but when he said i wont share i didn't think he was old enough to be taught about vengeance. So yeah you are right that i shouldnt stop him for asking but he should still expect a NO. Thanks for your responses they are really helpful :)
    – Samra
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 22:38
  • An 8 year old won't want to share his prize posessions with a little child. Not because they don't want to share, but for (well founded) fear of what kind of destruction could happen. The kid could have said "no way is he allowed to play with my Xbox because I take care of my things and he doesn't" (in an age appropriate way). Instead they used what could be described as a gentle lie.
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 20:50

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