18 answers

Sharing W/ Friends That Are Disrespectful

I have always taught my boys to share, and in the past couple of days my boys have been taking toys outside to play with. Several of the neighborhood kids want to play as well which is great and my boys have been sharing, but the problem is that several of them don't treat the toys w/ respect. Even to the point of breaking BRAND NEW things. I am not quite sure how to handle this, suggestions would be helpful, thanks.

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Thank you all. I think more than anything I needed the reassurance from other mom's that I was doing the right things by expecting that the other kids "follow" our house rules w/ my kids things. I also spoke to the mom who offered to replace the toy and asked her to please speak with her kids, that it just isn't right, she said she definately would. I appreciate all the support and will definately be using your advice on speaking to my kids about what they take out front! Thank you, thank you!

Featured Answers

Maybe you should have toys that you share and don't care if they get broken and toys that you don't share. It's ok to have favorites.

Hi W.

Hope that you are having an incredible day. I have 3 boys too! - 8,6 and 4. I believe that teaching them to share is very important. I have also learned that whenever we go somewhere outside of the home, like the park or beach. I always take a basket of toys that will not be missed if something happens.
ie balls, plastic happy meal toys, things that we have been given as hand-me-downs. I keep the outside toys separate from the indoor toys and it helps me have peace of mind :)
Even my BIG BOY (husband) still has toys :)

hope that helps! Have an awesome day

More Answers

My daughter has always been very careful with her stuff and I know the feeling. One option is to have some cheaper toys that they take out front to play with so there is no need to stress out. If the kids were older, peer pressure might work in having the boys explain that they treat their toys well and won't share unless they do the same, but at this young age, I think your best bet is to have some cheap alternative toys. This way the kids can play and no worries about breaking nice toys.

Boys will be boys. Kids will be kids. You might also facilitate your boys to ask these boys to bring their toys over to share if they want to use their toys. Might as well start learning to ask for what they want.

Good luck!

I would love to see the responses that you get.


This is a tough situation especially if you can't go to the parents and know that they would do what's right with their children and replace the toy. I imagine you are outside monitoring play and I see no reason why you shouldn't go to these children and tell them that they cannot play with the toys if they don't respect them and take the toys away if they continue to disrespect them. I've actually had to assert myself with some of the older children in the neighborhood who have disrespected toys and our "children at play" signs and in one instance I had to tell an older boy not to speak to my son in a certain manner that I found to be demeaning to my son. You will either have to carefully assert yourself with the other children or explain to your children that it's possible that the toy will get broken if they share with certain children and let them decide whether or not to share. Think of it this way...as adults we have friends and family that we know we can trust with things and some that we know we can't so we don't. There is nothing wrong with not sharing for a good reason and this might be a good opportunity for you to teach your children to assert themselves...your boys could simply say "I do not want to share my <toy> with you because you broke my <toy> when I let you play with it last time".

I agree with what others have already said. Use toys that won't be missed outside. I definitely step in if any child is being disrespectful or hurtful to another child in my presence regardless if that child is mine or not. If it is a recurring problem I would definitely talk to that childs parent about it in a constructive manner. I have also mentioned to certain parents that they have broken some of my childs toys and that I don't appreciate that. If they continue to break toys, being who I am, I would once again bring it to the attention of the parents and maybe even suggest that they reimburse you for it.

However, I only bring out the not to be missed toys when outside and keep the good toys inside.

I really hate it when parents don't supervise their children playing, especially when other kids are around. I shouldn't have to parent their child...know what I mean? But for the safety of my children and the other children playing around us, I watch out for all the kids.


Well, that is one of the reasons that I explain to my 7-year old twins that if they take toys outside that they need to be prepared to share as well as understand that things may get broken. There are also some things that I will not allow them to take outside as well. I think it is individual preference and you have to be realistic with your children to some extent.

Hi W.

Hope that you are having an incredible day. I have 3 boys too! - 8,6 and 4. I believe that teaching them to share is very important. I have also learned that whenever we go somewhere outside of the home, like the park or beach. I always take a basket of toys that will not be missed if something happens.
ie balls, plastic happy meal toys, things that we have been given as hand-me-downs. I keep the outside toys separate from the indoor toys and it helps me have peace of mind :)
Even my BIG BOY (husband) still has toys :)

hope that helps! Have an awesome day

Dear W.,
Sometimes certain toys need to stay in the house, or played with outside when no other neighborhood children are around. We can't teach other children in the neighborhood to be careful with our children's toys, if their parents do not instill these values in their children. Favorite toys, or special toys, that your children really enjoy can be kept in the home. If the neighborhood children ask to play with the toys, or ask where they are, have your children be prepared with what they will say regarding those questions. Maybe a simple response, such as, "My mom says those toys need to be put away for a while." or "My toys have been getting broken lately, and I have to leave them in the house." Another thing you can do, is to contact the parents and let them know the toys have been getting broken from so many children playing with them. If you have relationship with any of the parents, tell them the problem. "It seems that when the toys get played with by your children and mine, they are getting damaged. So, I am going to keep them in the house for now." Also, you can pray before you do the above and prepare the way for them to have ears to hear what you are telling them. Sometimes people may be offended, but your children do not need to pay the price. I am glad you are teaching them to share, but you can set limits even in regards to sharing with others. I hope this helps.


Put out the toys that you don't mind losing. If you don't want it broken, put it away.

Toys are toys, if they're not sturdy enough to withstand a child's play, they must not be good toys.

They're only toys anyway, there will always be more.

Absolutely intervene! You teach your own children to respect their toys; please don't let others teach them differently. You can very easily tell the other boys who mistreat or break toys that they cannot play with your sons' toys. They may bring toys from their homes to play with and when they show you they can treat your home and items with respect they will get the chance to play again with your sons' stuff. I'm sure you're aware that toys get broken, but playing in a way that children know will break or ruin toys should be stopped.

Hi W., I think it is great for kids to learn how to share. I was the same way when my kids were little, I never allowe new toys to go out side, and any time my kids had friends over I monitored their play, and If toys were not being used right I put them up, and certain toys, were not for sharing. I had 2 boys and 1 girl, and my boys always had friends over, boys are rough, so I was careful on what toys were for sharing and which ones were not. J. L If you would like more advice you can e-mail me at ____@____.com

Maybe you should have toys that you share and don't care if they get broken and toys that you don't share. It's ok to have favorites.

Hi W.

We live on a Cul-de-sac, so when one child goes out to play, the whole neighborhood joins in, which includes sharing of toys by all. So, I have LOTS of experience with what you're going through.

If you know first hand which child broke the toy, you should tell him/her that breaking and mis-use of the toys is not allowed and if such behavior continues, they will not be allowed to enjoy the toys and play with them. The best thing is to be outside with your sons while the others are around and nip it in the bud. Don't be afraid to tell these kids what YOUR rules are. I've had them all sit down in my front yard and (like a teacher) tell them exactly what is expected of them. Be prepared to follow-up on your threats, though. There will be that one or two who will push to see how far they can go.

Good luck!

This is not all that uncommon, unfortunately. I would talk to the neigborhood boys when you see them, explain that you've noticed that things are getting broken and that while you are happy that they all play together and share, toys are to be treated with respect. If they aren't, you'll remove the items. Explain that you are more than happy to provide things for them to play with, but they MUST be respectful. It's their choice. Then, make sure you follow through.

My problem is with a girl. She's the sister (two years older) of my son's close friend. She absolutly trashes EVERYTHING when she's at our house. I've gotten to the point that I don't have them over, because I just can't stand the result. The problem is that their parents are good friends of ours and don't see a problem with it. I've tried to be both subtle and direct. I even began telling them that "clean up time" is 15 minutes before they leave. They take it as a joke. It doesn't happen when just my son's friend is here. It's his sister that is a nightmare.

I wish you the best. I believe children should be expected to treat everything in their world with respect.


I have noticed this same behavior when my dau's friends come over to her house and their children play with my grandchildren in their bedroom. They totally destroy the room and never help put them away. They aren't respectful with the toys either. In this case, when I am around, I will make them pickup before they leave. But my suggestion to you is the not allow your kids to take out the "good" toys where the neighborhood kids can play with them. If they are outdoor toys, you may want to have them play in your backyard if you have one. Of course, I would talk to the kids first and let them know they need to treat the toys right or they can't play in your yard. But you might not feel comfortable with that.

Hey W.,
Call me old fashioned (and I guess I am)but I have always maintained respect in our home. Made that clear to kids in a variety of ways. When my children had friends over when they were younger, if they were not being respectful, I would have a "light" discussion about our home and the value we put on respecting each other as well as each others things. How "we loved to have friends over to share time with and how great it is to have them here today." Then I would go into how if they want to be free to come over there are rules we have for our home and these are them... Anytime I have had a kid that was difficult, disrespectful or a downright terror, they were not invited back. When they live in the neighborhood that makes it harder, but they were always met at the door with "yes, you are welcome to play with ? if you can remember our rules. If they continue to be disrespectful, they aren't invited back.
My son had a friend similar to the one you are speaking of, I have never been too shy with kids in my home. As a result, they change their behavior and know what is acceptable and follow the rules. If they don't, I don't want my child playing with them anyway. I see that as a really big red flag and manuever around it. I steer my child other directions and cool down the time they spend together.

We have the same problem with kids in our neighborhood. Teaching your kids to stand up for themselves and to choose good friends is just as important as teaching manners! Let everyone, your boys and the neighborhood kids, know that there will be no more sharing of toys until everyone is careful with them. Be very calm and matter of fact. Remind them that, "Last time something got broken (or dirty, or whatever)" when they ask why. Expect the neighbors to complain and think you're "weird," but don't back down. They'll learn to play nicely or they'll learn to play elsewhere.


That's great that your boys have learned to share with other kids but if the other kids are breaking their new toy's I would explain to your boys it's ok not to share if other kids can't play with them nice. Maybe try getting some "outside toys" that won't break. I've had experiences where I've had to step in with the neighborhood kids to tell them if you can't play with the toys wihout breaking them then you can't play with them. This has usually stopped with the situations that have come my way so far.

Good Luck!
D. S.

i have always taught my children to share as well, and have definitely faced similar problems. i know talk to my 5 year old boy b/f he takes anything out to play with kids that we either don't know well or kids that we know will break things. i let him know that if he really wants to play with it it is his choice but that it may get broken and he won't be able to play with it any more. after that he usually chooses not to take it out and will play something else until later. it is not really easy and doesn't always seem fair, but at least his toys stay safe and he gets to participate in the decision of what goes out.

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