Saturday, March 20, 2010
Gifts to children - be conservative or be liberal?
During his fourteenth birthday, my son's demand as a gift was that we buy him a mobile of his own. You can say we are old fashioned but yes we told him outright that he cannot have his own mobile as we did not see any need for it. He was either at school or at home. Hence why did he need one? Pat came the reply - "all my friends have it".
Well, we explained to him that there might be various reasons for his friends owning their own mobile. Maybe their parents go out to work and hence they need to be in touch with their children. But here I was not working and hence accessible any time they wanted me. His response - "not all his friends' moms work". I told him maybe his friends go to tuitions, or other coaching classes on their own hence they need it. This was also negated. Alas all my explanations were of no use and were severely quashed.
His only mantra was he needs his own mobile as his friends have it. Period. It was not just any mobile but the ones where he can listen to music was what he was looking at as his friends have these.
In these times, I guess our ideas as to what is an appropriate age for buying expensive stuff for our children is a real question mark. On one hand if we put ourselves in their shoes, it is truly a conflicting situation they are facing what with all that peer pressure. But at the same time I feel that children have to be taught restraint and must get their priorities right. Yes, many of us can afford to buy expensive stuff but in the long run I somehow place more premium on having less and enjoying more peace of mind. Being more philosophical than being too materialistic. That is the only thing that we as parents are trying to inculcate in our children. Hence many a time we end up being "No Parents". (On another note, have you ever counted the times you say 'no' to your children in a day? You will be amazed!)
I guess we would like to hold on to this as far as we can and right now things are back to normal after a gruelling session. Have you faced this conflict? If yes, how have you dealt with it?