Thursday, March 27, 2008

How To Make Sure Your Children Hate You Forever

The Boston Globe-Democrat shows you how with this story on "no-gift" birthday parties for little kids. Instead of getting presents, kids as young as 6 and 7 are told their friends are giving donations to charity instead.

Isn't this a great way to teach children about charity? Uh, no. It's a great way to get them to resent you and the whole concept of charitable giving. So why are parents doing this?

In some circles, parents have become almost competitive in their quest to banish materialism from their children's parties. The nonpresent is quickly becoming the "must-have" gift. The bragging rights are going to be 'How much money did you raise at your birthday party?' " said University of Minnesota professor Bill Doherty, a founder of the group Birthdays Without Pressure, which hopes to launch a national conversation about super-sized parties.

In other words, it's all about the parents making a social statement, regardless of the feelings of their own children.

The smartest person quoted in this story is Bennet Murray a 6-year-old leaving a no-gift birthday party in Brookline. When asked if he might like to do the same on his birthday, he said "No. "I like getting presents."

What some kids need more than new presents, it seems, is new parents.