Monday, November 2, 2009

Strange but true

I had read of a birthday party of a three year old where children along with their parents were invited. As is the custom, gifts were showered on the birthday boy who accepted these with glee. Other children , naturally curious, wanted to see the gifts but the birthday boy refused to open them or part with them.

Children started throwing up tantrums and many of them were crying loudly to have a glimpse of the gifts. The little boy refused to share the gifts despite both his parents cajoling, pleading, bribing, threatening and playing all sorts of tricks on him. Birthday party turned into a nightmare.

Questions of significance are : Why did the parents behave the way they behaved? And why did the little boy behave the way he behaved?
Behaviour of parents is dictated by what parents of other children will think of them. Probably, other parents may say “ How have they brought up their kid? They haven’t even taught the kid to share”. The necessity to ‘look good’ in the eyes of others becomes more important than the necessity of the child to own and enjoy his gifts. So much so the parents will go even to the extent of beating the child on his birthday to teach him the value of sharing. What a beautiful birthday gift for the child, and what beautiful memory to grow up with.

As for the child’s behaviour, it needs to be understood that the gifts are his and he needs to possess and enjoy them before sharing them. Often we have seen that once children have enjoyed the possession, they themselves give the toys to others or just leave it lying in some corner of the room. That’s the psyche of children. Do adults easily part with their possessions? No. Often they come up with reasons like ‘the gift has sentimental value’ or some such stuff.

My learning is that many of the things we do has a pay off. But we need to remember there is also a heavy cost to pay.

13 comments:

Sylvia K said...

A very thought provoking and very true post. We never experienced that kind of problem with our four. But the idea of sharing was always there. The birthday boy/girl -- I have two of each -- always received numerous presents, but I always made each of them a special gift on the others birthdays. So they grew up looking forward to each others "big day". We didn't have many big parties, it was really just a big family celebration and it worked well for us. I know that doesn't or wouldn't work for some, but I guess we each do what feels right to us. I do know my grown children are wonderfully loving and generous with their siblings and their parents.

But we all do what we feel is right for our own in any given situation.

Always appreciate your insight!

Have a good week!

Sylvia

Kavi said...

I guess the need to 'look good' is a need that just seeps in and stays there !

Birthday parties, gifts and return gifts are the order of the day.

Sir, what would you say of somebody i know, spending lakhs and hosting a birthday party at a 5 star hotel ! What is he doing for his child !

Well, the missus had a standard answer though..it is his bank balance, it is his child !

Ugich Konitari said...

There were no "norms" as such for birthday parties in my childhood. But obsessions with presents was greatly frowned upon. My children, both adults today, certainly enjoyed the presents, in their birthdays, but there was an undefined but accepted limit on expenditure as understood by parents. So their big thing on birthdays was the eats, the games, and the prizes in treasure hunts etc, and the presence of grandparents and uncles etc. As my children grew older, things became more sedate, and we also started visiting an orphanage with sweets on the occasion, to introduce them to the concept of sharing. We now do this on Divali bhaubeez day instead.

Once you get caught up in "I must have whatever keeps me ahead of the Joneses" , your child skews his thinking about possessions, celebrations, needs, etc.

I often worry about how these kids will turn out when they are older.

A post whose time has come....

Neha said...

I was always so very excited when it came to gifts on my birthday - when I was a kid...I loved them (who doesn't), and used to open them the moment I receive them, play with other friends with those new gifts..everyone was happy including me...now we call it rude if the gift is opened in front of the person who gives u that gift...time changes everything...

renci said...

pozdrav za tebe

Pinku said...

feel sad for today's kids really...too many burdens and expectations from them..

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

I completely agree! Why should he share a toy which he has just acquired and not even had a chance to enjoy?! It's ridiculous to expect maturity from a child which most people do not acquire even at an adult age!

nsiyer said...

Thanks Sylvia for the encouraging comments. you egg me on.

Hi Kavi, yes its all about looking good.

Ugich Konitari, thanks. Yes the time has come

nsiyer said...

Neha, totally agree with you.

Renci, thanks for posting and visiting my blog. I will come too.

nsiyer said...

I agree Pinku. That's what is happening.

Hi Roshni. Thanks for your insight and apt comments.

Babli said...

Wonderful post. I appreciate as you have portrayed the true fact. Your each and every post is excellent. It depends on person to person how he wants to live his life like some wants to show off by spending thousands of rupees for kid's birthday but never ever bother to look after his studies. Its difficult to analyze and criticize.

Ganesh said...

Nice thought provoking post sir and like you say it is more about parents than about the kid when these birthday parties are planned. I think this whole concept of gifts and return gifts is just to promote consumption and more consumption and India is following this trend on the foot steps of the western world. First the kid doesn't remember who gave what at 3 - 4 yrs of age and half the time the toys are not age appropriate and goes to the garage or sometimes return gifted!. And this whole culture of return gifts!....not sure who and why we started this....growing up in India things were so very different....parents got some toys, most cases ONE toy and children wish and sing for the B'Day boy/girl and get chocolates and food, have fun and play....END of story. But now a days it is so much of a hazel with parents trying to out do other parents with venue, food and return gifts...."my son's/daughter's birthday party was such a blast"....I am sure the kid would have enjoyed a quieter B'day with just a few close friends and attention to him....rather than have 50 parents from far and wide whom he doesn't meet or know.....hope at some point we all realize it is for the kid and remember to keep it that way....

nsiyer said...

Thanks Babli for your valuable and insightful comments.


Thanks Ganesh for those beautiful words. Where are you and nice to have you back.