I’ve had a shouty week again, and the objects of my ire and derision have been dodgy parents. I may as well go out on a high. After the sheer barbarity of schoolgate bullying of parents, the uproar about kissing your children, something so daft it beggars belief.
When I was a child I looked forward to my birthdays. Having reached an advanced stage in life, I no longer do so, but when you’re a nipper birthdays rock. They were days when you felt special. Your own one day of the year.
Well, no longer. Nowadays parents seem to feel obliged to give siblings of the birthday girl/boy presents too.
Here’s a quote from some sloppy thinking mum.
‘It’s difficult for little ones when another child is getting all the attention. I think it’s too harsh to expect them to watch their siblings opening lots of presents when they have nothing.’
This practice is apparently referred to as giving ‘unbirthday presents.’ I’d refer to this practice as arrant bollocks.
Children, and adults, need to realise that they personally are not the centre of the universe. If one child has a birthday, the others just have to suck it up, and remember that it will be their birthday all in good time. Then they’ll be made a fuss of. All the ‘unbirthday present’ idea does is make them into selfish, demanding materialists.
It’s not as if children don’t get stuff year round, anyway, is it?
Now the thorny issue of the cost of this stupidity. One example I picked up was 300 quid for the birthday girl/boy, and 40 quid each for the unbirthday presents. What? I’ve never had a pressie worth 300 notes in my life. I’ve bought used cars for less than that. Forty knicker? Not sure anybody ever spent that much on me, but it’s possible. But that would have been for my birthday, not to avoid tears before bedtime from a whingeing tantrum-merchant.
A Dr Richard Woolfson, who is a clinical child psychologist, brings some sanity to the debate.
‘We are so overprotective that we attempt to shield our children from every difficult experience and emotion… In every culture I know the day you were born is marked in a special way. To dilute it by giving a sibling presents takes away from the specialness.’
He named that tune in one. It’s another way of saying ‘Not everybody gets a prize. Get used to it.’