Posts Tagged ‘ participation awards ’

My Latest Annoyance: Parenting In Excess

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

I had two graduations in my life. One in high school, one in college. So what is with the “preschool graduation,” “kindergarten graduation,” “second grade graduation,” “fifth grade graduation,” and “junior high graduation?” I am not there yet, since Fia is just now in preschool, but I can tell you one thing: it’s going to annoy the sh-it out of me when it’s our turn.

I think the last two decades have been an exercise in indulging our children. From our consumerism when it comes to the holidays (read my rant) to the idea that when playing sports, no one loses anymore. “Oh hooray for us!! We are all winners!!!” In my Participation Awards blog post, I brought this up because sometimes it’s hard to resist all the indulgence. But really, when trophies and medals are given out to both teams so that no kid “feels bad,” I say suck it up and toughen up. You think teaching your kids never  to lose is smart and useful preparation for life? I don’t know what candy-coated life you live in, but it ain’t mine, nor most of ours.

Speaking of candy…I read another mom’s blog called Rage Against the Minivan. Kristen Howerton’s hilarious rant about all the “new” holidays that set your kids’ expectations for more gifts–like candy–got me thinking about all these “graduation” issues, sports issues, and of course my own annoyance at the holiday toy overload.  They all stem from the same line of thinking: spoil and shield your kid from what’s real. Since I’m already having a crappy week, I figured I’d just continue to rant about it all.

Her take on St. Patrick’s Day is spot on. Her kids came home from school with the expectation of receiving chocolate coins from an elf. Seriously?  I mean, will it ever end?

This year at Fia’s preschool I didn’t even know it was Valentine’s Day. And luckily we were out of town so I didn’t have to deal with anything. But when we came back, there was a huge basket of cards for her from her “friends.” Written of course, from the parents of the kids she plays with. Okay, that’s sweet. But just like in Kirsten’s piece, I found some parents had put together gift bags of candy. I’m sorry, but that’s just not cool. It raises the bar for anyone who cares (I don’t, so knock yourself out. You’ll get a handmade doily from Fia every year that I don’t whisk her off to Hawaii during holiday weeks. That’s it.), but it also sets a precedent. One that is embedded in an already monstrous problem facing our society: obesity. Okay, okay, I get it. You think I’ve gone too far to equate a Valentine candy bag with obesity. But the snack epidemic is already out of control in this country and gift bags of candy don’t help.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in Parents Magazine by Sally Kuzemchak:

Obesity experts now believe that the frequency of eating, not just bigger portion sizes, is also to blame for the uptick in calorie intake for kids and grown-ups alike. “Our children are being offered food at every turn,” says Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. And adding just one extra snack each day can make a big impact. In fact, it’s possible that obesity is driven by as little as 165 extra calories a day for kids ages 2 to 7, say researchers at both Harvard and Columbia universities. That’s roughly the amount in a handful of potato chips.

…Or a bag of Valentine’s Day candy. Or chocolate coins left by leprechauns.

I don’t know what the solution is because it would truly take a village–where everyone is in agreement–to stop this madness; to stop creating indulgent children who have no perspective when they grow up and face the real world. I’ve seen the results in my extended family. It’s not pretty. But the village mentality won’t work. The addiction to consumerism and more, more, more is just too great.  I guess the only way is to try and shield my kids from all the excess. Ironic, since so many parents are doing the opposite: they are shielding their kids from real life. I wonder, who will grow up with the better coping skills?

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