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How Much Is Too Much?

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There's a fine line between spoiling kids and treating them to nice things. I'm just not sure where that line is, sometimes.

wild neighborhood party

Karyn Bryant: Wade, Aurora and I live in a great neighborhood filled with lots of children and really cool parents. We've got generations of families, straight and gay couples, interracial couples, single moms, adopted kids -- truly a myriad of family varieties. Every Friday we have a playgroup that rotates from home to home, and out of the chitchat and party planning that takes place between the moms, the kids have been treated to some pretty spectacular things. Now, I don't want to be Betty Bringdown, but I'm starting to wonder (quietly to myself) if we're going a little overboard.

Before the Christmas holiday we had several tons of snow and ice delivered to the neighborhood so our little L.A. dwellers could go sledding and make snowmen. Everyone had a great time -- it was definitely big fun -- but it was probably a little over-the-top. So what? It's a memory to last a lifetime, right? For the parents maybe, but I don't know if the 3-year-olds really processed how special it was. With Easter around the corner, we've got plans for a whole extravaganza in the 'hood, and I'm worried that we may get carried away. So far we're talking bouncers, face-painters, an arts-and-crafts station, balloons, a petting zoo and an egg hunt! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

I want Aurora to have wonderful childhood memories with her friends, and special events are definitely part of that. She doesn't expect a blowout bash for every holiday, but I worry that we moms are starting to!

Help me, momlogic peeps! Should I just lighten up, write the check for the event and get my face painted along with everyone else? Or should I suggest we all take it down a notch?



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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
lisa  March 12, 2010, 2:22 AM

Wow, that is a lot. I don’t think you are being “Betty Bringdown” I think you might be providing a reality check. With parties getting bigger and bigger when will it be enough? Recently a friend’s 8 year old daughter had a birthday. She held the party at “Build-A-Bear”. Some of her daughter’s friends complained that they had already been to parties at “Build-A-Bear”, another little girl wanted to know just how much money she would be given to outfit her bear. These are not mean kids normally, but with so many big birthday parties the meaning behind the event has been completely lost. I’ve heard a lot of parents complaining that their children aren’t grateful for the things they have. If you are constantly given new things it just becomes a day to day event. If children aren’t grateful it might be because the act of giving and receiving has lost its meaning for them. I think we do an unfair thing to our kids when we give them so much at a young age. If every holiday or birthday turns into a three ring circus, you run the risk of setting up unrealistic expectations for the kids. Also, at a certain point, when there is so much, things stop being special or meaningful. Have the parties, but take it down a notch or two, the kids will still have a great time. If you don’t you run the risk of hearing things like “What, another bouncer? That’s sooooooo boring! I want something different.”

Black Iris March 12, 2010, 4:55 AM

You’re right, things are getting out of hand. It may be hard to stop your neighbors though.

The saddest thing about spoiled kids is that life isn’t as exciting for them. Hopefully you can convince everyone to just slow down a little.

Anonymous March 12, 2010, 5:29 AM

must be nice to have the money to do that sort of thing several times a year.

Sara March 12, 2010, 6:30 AM

Your kids are spoiled if they complain when you don’t buy things for them or you don’t have an extravaganza or they can’t appreciate that others may not have the same lifestyle and have the ability to be polite about it.

So if your kid throws a fit when you don’t buy them something or they’re rude to someone else who is spending less money on something like a party then they’re spoiled.

Poco March 12, 2010, 7:42 AM

How about having the kids make costumes, and mucical instruments THEMSELVES, and put on a show? Crepe paper, coffee tins, a comb with foil over it, and clothes that Mom and Dad no longer use…. the list is endless. Then take a video and show it while they have the cake and ice-cream !! The parents could bring supplies and let the kids choose ! I’m just saying ….

Julie March 12, 2010, 7:46 AM

As a mom who has the same worries, I would say yes, lighten up a bit. Though an Easter celebration like the one you describe sounds over-the-top, there’s no harm being done.

Easter is one of the holidays I look forward to because it is low-key, so I enjoy my family’s simple egg hunt, and dinner. But it would be great to have the option to take my son to something HUGE. I would just want to make it “something special” and not the usual way of celebrating.

My local YMCA puts on an Easter celebration with game booths, and egg hunt, food, etc. But it’s not something I do every year. I like knowing I can, though. :)

b March 12, 2010, 7:07 PM

if the only memory your child will have of it is a memory of looking at the pictures and hearing you say how much fun he had, then it’s too much. and, i’m gonna guess that if, when its your turn, you just bust out the paper, stickers, markers, paints and giant rolls of butcher paper and let the kids have at it, and you tell all the parents to just leave the kids to play, they will thank you.

Anonymous March 13, 2010, 2:07 PM

IMO this generation of kids is referred to as the “entitlement” generation.

nuthak March 14, 2010, 3:14 PM

If everything is special- then nothing is. Really special occasions lose their meaning.

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