Monday, January 12, 2009

Into the Fray

To this point this has been a benign little blog primarily about comings and goings at The Pink Victorian. I have avoided political controversy and tempered my parenting ideals with reality. Today I will cautiously raise a topic for discussion which is apparently a very volatile matter, for the sake of gaining understanding and becoming a better peacemaker. To protect the children involved, I will call it the
Organic Oatmeal Issue.
Let me explain:
The holiday season was peppered with citations by my contacts, which are many, and of multiple generations, that Christmas gift-giving and receiving has become more manipulative than loving, especially when the recipients are young children. Instead of a gift being a surprise for all present during its unwrapping, lengthy negotiations are held long before the day about the acceptability of the gift or oblique threats are made that certain forbidden items might be revealed at the foot of the tree just for spite.
For example, a grandparent receives notice that only unpainted toys are to be given to the grandchildren, presumably to eliminate the risk of lead paint; or a father-in-law hints that he is wrapping a cap gun for little Jimmy for the sake of his developing manhood, fully knowing that Daddy and Mommy don't intend for Jimmy to play with artificial firearms. Power Rangers dvds are given to children who don't watch TV and parents retaliate by enforcing their ban on red dye #40, only to have Christmas M&M's added to their organic oatmeal...you get the idea.
I am curious. Is it just me or has gift giving become territorial? What do you think? Are parents at the mercy of the mandates of Christmas Morning Magic and impotent to confiscate the contraband? Are they asserting their rules and convictions out of a sense of insecurity in breaking away from the ways of their upbringing? Is this a subtle rebellion with the offspring being used as weapons? Are grandparents today of the mistaken notion that they are co-parents with equal jurisdiction over the kiddoes? Have parents abused the luxury of the innate quality low-cost childcare to the point that the lines between parent and child have been blurred? Do they fail to "leave and cleave"? Are the grandparents just so limited in quality time and desparate to be the "favorite" that they are willing to undermine the authority of the parents? Do they feel unappreciated for all that they feel they have already given? And perhaps most importantly, have we become so child-centered that little Jimmy's Christmas morning bliss is the objective and pinnacle of the holiday season? I am curious.
What are the potential solutions to this problem which lies dormant year-round but is one more thing that internally threatens the family, which is already under seige from external forces?
What say you?

****DISCLAIMER: I reiterate that this post is strictly for informational and discussion purposes. Let's keep it clean, folks. And please know that I can only speak of other families' challenges vicariously because my children and their cousins have four utterly perfect grandparents who would never, say, let a 2 year old watch STAR WARS because, well, he wanted to. I'm just sayin'.

1 comment:

e_susan94 said...

If I read you correctly I am the same way. The "other" generation just doesn't understand & realize it and really thinks it's OK half the time. What I do is continue to bring up my children the same way and when it comes to the gifts we remove them from the house the same day or the next day. If they are old enough to understand it we explain it, otherwise we just get rid of them as if they never received it. We have gotten "dollar store toys"- all are made in China, probably recalled, and with lead paint, toy guns (that we don't play with), movies that our children should not be watching, candy that are meant for teenagers or adults, and chocolate that has 89 ingredients but one of them isn't even "milk or cocoa powder". I care so much about my family & I gotta do what I gotta do to protect them even at Christmas time. I know there are some Mom's that don't agree but I have to do what is best for my family and so far it's been working great.