Longtime reader Cherry asks:
Just because it is the season and I’m curious how parents handle things with their kids at this time of year:
How you do deal with the pressures from the Munchkin for Christmas presents? Or has he hit that stage yet?
Cherry, any doubts you have about my son hitting the “all about the presents” stage would be allayed by the very long list of items dictated to me by said five year old in a surprisingly detailed letter to Santa. We’ll see if Santa can deliver some PVC pipe for him to make his own marble run, as well as some building material for a treehouse. That should be a challenge.
The interesting part of it is that my son doesn’t watch network television, so he has little exposure to the mighty media forces on display every Saturday morning.
But still, like any kid, he has things in mind that he wants and since his wants are so far very simple, we can handle it.
However, to take some of the emphasis off of himself and what he will be getting, I have tried this year to include him in some philanthropic pursuits which include going with me to the store to pick out toys for some underprivileged children, as well as going through his current set of toys together and picking some to donate to another charity.
Which is much harder than it sounds, actually, because every toy suddenly becomes a favorite that is unable to be parted with. Even though it hasn’t been so much as looked at in the past three months, it immediately becomes his most favorite toy that he has loved always. I stand over him and say, too bad dude, you’ve got to pick. The accompanying dramatics should really get him nominated for an Oscar, but after the tough decisions are made, he feels proud of himself.
I’m not sure how much worse it will get in the coming years, but I hope to balance any sense of entitlement with making sure that we do charitable works and deeds. And not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. Then, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that the message that it’s not all about him manages to penetrate that bubble of self-importance that childen often carry themselves around in.
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