16 January 2010

To spoil or not to spoil

We have a hideous abundance of toys in our house these days. It goes against everything I feel is right as a parent. Yet as much as I try to blame the onslaught of gifts from our large extended family, I held nothing back at Christmas time either.

Its easy for our parents' generation to criticise and make extraordinary claims about our kids being spoilt, about children not needing so many possessions, about how happy they were with their one rag doll or their one matchbox car. It sounds noble, encouraging children to make their own fun and use their imagination. The truth is, they didn't have the choice did they? Its not that we are "richer" than they were, my parents in particular were successful professions just like us (well, like my husband anyway). Its the toys themselves. We simply have easy access (think department stores and online shopping) to a hideous quantity of cheap toys. We live in a throw away society. And it pressures you into participation. Honestly; pressures.

So there I was at Christmas time, wandering around cursing Walmart and the revolting array of unnecessary plastic and claiming the kids didn't need any of it and so on. In the same breath I anxiously searched the shelves for the perfect gift for my 7 month old who didn't need a thing. And I bought it. Along with a nice little assortment of items for the boys as well.

Its disgusting. However there is a certain joy in watching my 4 yr old's endless joy as he embraces his obsession with his new lego. And the onslaught of unnecessaries from the family back home hasn't been put at the back of the toy box yet either.

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