Isn’t This Parenting 101?

At first I thought what I’m writing about is a generational thing. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I was only second guessing myself. Full disclosure; I’m a grandparent several times over, but I’ve always believed that manners, a degree of etiquette and common sense are timeless qualities that should always be in fashion. But that’s just me.
So I was more than a little surprised, annoyed and disappointed to find that gift registries have become a common practice in today’s hectic society. Now, I’m not speaking about bridal or baby registries, which have been around for some time and are pretty common place. No, I”m talking about birthday gift registries for children as young a 4-5 years old.

It seems some parents can’t be bothered these days returning a duplicat gift. So these very young, clueless children, on the distorted direction of their equally clueless parents, visit a web site or store and select exactly what they want for their birthday.

At. Five. Years. Old.

The parents position is simple. My child gets what they want and I don’t have to waste time exchanging duplicate gifts at the store.

Seriously? Your only argument here is playing the time card? Oh, and there is the little matter of your child getting what they want.

Forget about the fact that, at best, this is presumptuous. Forget about the fact that the items on the list may cost more than the family buying the gift can afford and if they show up at the party with something not from the registry….well, kids can sometimes be insensitive. Forget about the fact that it smacks of entitlement and an erosion of social etiquette.
This should be a voluntary act of gift giving, something the child buying the gift feels good about with a genuine show of appreciation on the part of the child receiving the gift. So what if your child receives two of the same thing! Do I have to spell out how arrogant and self centered this all sounds?

Whatever happened to, “it’s the thought that counts”? I guess that’s a thing of the past also?

Whatever happened to, “be grateful for what you have.” Gone?

I don’t mean to be harsh because it’s really not the fault of the child, but the words materialistic brat, come to mind, even though it really is a reflection on the parents lack of social grace and basic common sense.

When I first thought it was just me, I called quite a few people who were parents of young children and described what I’ve written here. The word they continued to use to describe this practice was, “obnoxious.” I think that’s a pretty accurate assessment.

So if you want to instill in your child the convenience of pushing a button so that the material comforts of your life can be obtained at the expense of another person’s obligation and financial cost, this obnoxious and tacky registry is for you.

Let’s hope, however, that manners and common sense prevail. Because if they don’t, the person that ultimately loses is your child.

And there seems to be too much of that going around these days.

 

15 thoughts on “Isn’t This Parenting 101?

  1. Dale

    Good God! Really? A registry for a birthday party? At. Five. Years. Old? How happy am I that this has not happened in my circle. My boys are very-soon-to-be-17 and 15 and never did such a thing happen! I would have been flabbergasted, quite frankly. I’ll never forget my oldest had a birthday party (by the way, we don’t believe in throwing the huge party every year either – just 3-4 kids) and his friend gave him batman underwear! The kid chose the gift to give to the kid! I thought it was the best thing ever. The father apologised, stating that Phillip really wanted to give Iain this gift. I told him that no apologies were necessary; it was definitely the thought that counted and I just thought it was the cutest thing that he chose so.

    No only do these obnoxious, materialistic kids get everything they want (they have no clue what it means to wait, to save up for, to anticipate) they are not even taught to say thank you. Oh George, what is happening to our society?

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  2. George Post author

    You’re right, Dale. It’s a sad situation when some children aren’t taught to appreciate and respect what they’ve been given or the opportunity to earn it. The point you make is worth noting; that a child takes great joy in going into a store and buying something that he thinks a friend or classmate might want. Don’t we all? So why take that away simply because you don’t want to be inconvenienced.
    This never happended in my circle either but if it did, I would have politely declined the invitation.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

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  3. Dale

    I would have declined as well. Great post and on a subject that is close to my heart. There are other “issues” that get my goat but we’ll save them for a later date!

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  4. reallifemarti

    I have a friend who has thrown a big birthday party for each of her kids every single year. Maybe I’m mean, but I just don’t get it. For my son, he had a little party for his third birthday, otherwise, it is immediate family and cake only.

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  5. joylovestravel

    Obnoxious is just the word for this!! I’m glad this wasn’t happening when my son was younger, I used to think the idea of this for weddings was bad enough, once upon a time people were grateful for anything they received and didn’t make lists. We threw a party a few times for our son and invited a handful of friends, they each brought a book and he was thrilled with that. Can’t believe this is the next big trend. What a shame….

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  6. George Post author

    One of my daughters told me just today that she’s received two borthday invitations for her six year old son that included gift registries. She ignored them both and bought something on her own. Not sure where we go from here.

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  7. A.PROMPTreply

    My 80-year-old grandmother was given a card from her granddaughter preparing to celebrate the 1st b-day of her child. In the card, the granddaughter had written a note saying that in lieu of gifts, her “little monkey” would appreciate cash so her mommy and daddy could buy her a swingset for the yard. These cards were given to all the invited guests. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than the gift registry; needless to say, my grandmother sent absolutely NOTHING.

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