Friday, December 2, 2011

OK, Just An Opinion: Adult Toys for Kids?

Hey, hey, Dr J here again.

OK, I am just in the mood to rant a bit, and I know it will probably go over like a led balloon. It also may be that as I represent the "older generation" that I see things just a bit differently because of my history, experience, and up-bringing. But here goes.

I am absolutely floored when I stand in line and listen to kids and their parents discussing possible Christmas presents -- "what do you want for Christmas" or "what are you going to ask Santa for?" The list that pours out of the mouths of nine and ten year olds almost makes me feel like I am living in an alternate universe. I spoke with one little girl not long ago who wanted this extensive list of electronic toys, including a cell phone with an extensive number of "bells and whistles" and I asked her what was wrong with new shoes or a new dress, or perhaps something nice for her room. Her response: "Are you crazy?"

I'm sure that we all look to give our kids and grandkids nice stuff and certainly the choice is often largely guided by our income. But I have to say that I have a really BIG problem with giving nine and ten year olds, and even some early teens, adult toys. When I saw what some kids were getting for their birthday I wondered what their parents w ere going to pull out of the hat for their high school graduation. Possibly their own Rolls Royce?

I remember one Christmas, several decades ago, when hubby and I and our four kids really didn't have two thin dimes to rub together. We scrimped and saved and managed to get them some new clothes, a nice toy for each and candy and such. As I was preparing to wrap their gifts, I realized that I hadn't gotten any Christmas wrapping paper. It was Christmas Eve and the stores were closed. Now what???? So I went to my neighbors living on each side of us, and got all the Sunday funny papers they could find and wrapped Christmas presents in the funny papers. Now the upshot of this story is that while the kids were delighted with the new clothes, the toy, the candy and such, they spent nearly the entire day reading all the Sunday funny papers. I think it is a Christmas I will always remember. That was also the same Christmas after we had a fire in our house and all the Christmas ornaments were gone. Again the financial crunch was pretty profound, so I went to the store and got wooden, paint-by-number ornaments and all of the kids and I spent several weeks painting the various ornaments that managed to remain in the family collection for many years afterward.

I guess my concern is that we are so anxious for our kids and grandkids to have the "latest" that we forget that an important part of our job as parents and grandparents is to "preserve their childhood." They are adults for a large percentage of their time on this planet. Once childhood is gone it is never to be retrieved. I really think we don't work hard enough at making sure that they have learned the simple pleasures of life, the ways of enjoying life without all the gadgets and the electronic wonders that are out there.

Remember, this is just my opinion. How do some of you feel about all this?


Tam said...

Hmmm. Well, I'm one of those people with a teenager with her own lap top, cell phone and she's had a blog longer than I have. I don't consider those things adult toys, they are just tools. TVs/computers/cell phones for me aren't for adults, they're devices. I'd go crazy if my kid didn't have a phone. Makes my life so much easier. So for me I don't have an issue, although I've been blessed to never be short of cash at Christmas. I'm not saying I spend $1000 on my kid at Christmas but I don't have to scrimp either. I think it needs to be kept in perspective. An $1800 Macbook for a 4 year old? No. A $500 laptop for a teen (so I don't have to share mine - selfish reasons) seems reasonable. The Macbook can wait for graduation.

I always feel a bit iffy about clothes as gifts, although I give them, but I would have to buy her jeans anyway, so to say it's a gift is kind of a lie. It's not like she wouldn't get them if Christmas didn't exist. It's different if it's a particularly pair of expensive jeans I wouldn't normally pay for. Something in my mind says Christmas is a time for things you wouldn't get if Christmas didn't exist. Although that's not always the case.

So I probably spend more than some parents on what some consider unnecessary things. Each family needs to make choices I suppose. :-)

Anonymous said...

I've never liked Christmas,which should make all readers take whatever I write with a dose of salt. It has become so commercial that it's success or lack of success for merchants has become a kind of gauge for the state of the economy which surely says something to the point.
Seems to me it's much more pleasant to receive something one really wants but wouldn't buy for oneself at another time of the year, when one can more readily believe that whoever bought it for him/her was truly thinking of him/her and not doing it to keep up with the season.


Hilcia said...

Dr J, although I don't have to scrimp to give children in my family gifts, like you I also don't believe that small children (or teenagers), need adult, expensive gifts during the holidays to make them happy. I also think it's all in the way they are raised though.

For example, presents were never the focus in my family during Christmas time when we were growing up (we celebrated January 6th as Three Kings Day instead just for the kids), and that's the way we (my brothers and I) brought up our own children. Christmas was always about family... and the meaning of it all.

We do exchange gifts on Christmas of course. It becomes important that the children don't feel left out during this time of the year, but they are not indulged with over-the-top, expensive gifts. Things like expensive electronic items, phones, etc... need to be earned. That's the only way they will learn how to appreciate such things, but then again, that's just our way. We all have different ways of viewing these things...

Jessika said...

I don't have a lot to put away for Christmas. When I ask the kids what they want I often laugh when they ask for an ipod touch or ipad as all their friends have them. I agree with Tam that these electronics make life so much easier to get in touch with the kids, and help with their homework, etc. However, what kids today perceive to be "gifts" is extremely different. I think electronics are gifts for teenagers that can manage & take care of them. Yet, even if I had the money there's no reason to have the latest, when the phone they have right now does everything fine, it teaches them they don't have to have the latest everything. Clothes, unless it's something I know they've wanted, I feel are not a real gift, it's more a necessity. It's fun to get new gadgets and things at Christmas, but really what I remember about Christmas looking back, is family time not the gifts. I try to keep that in perspective as I go shopping, and hope I'm picking something useful or fun. I make sure they realize what the important things in life are, not these gifts, but that we're all together. So far no complaints ;)

Dr J said...

Thanks, gals, for your comments. Many see the electronics of our world as devices and I most heartily agree. But I wasn't really thinking in terms of older kids--rather nine and ten year olds that want the same stuff as kids who are 16 and 17 years old. Those are the kids who I think are really growing up too fast. But all in all, I so appreciate the discussion and your taking the time to let your views be known. It's the best of blogging, in my book. (no pun intended.)

anieb said...

Nice Post Adult Toys

Hitachi wand shop said...

I don't think if it is applicable to play adult toys for kids, adult toys is still for young adults and adults and don't make your kids play the adult toys.

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