Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 9, 2008
First off let me say I do love my kids. I love them so much I’m willing to have them hate me at times to ensure they become healthy, happy adults who can handle themselves in the world. Why is it then I feel like a minority most days?
I can’t tell you the number of new parents I meet that say “Wow kids are expensive!” I look at them like they have two heads. No, the reality is your kids don’t need the brand name clothes, diapers and you don’t have to buy a new car when your expecting your first. You will be surprised that even an Echo can fit two car seats in the back seat!
What has happen to people? Why are we trying to give our kids ever little thing that might give them a fraction of an IQ point edge over the kids next door? Do you really think everybody’s kids can be the next leader of your country or a president of a major corporation? Why does your kid need a PDA to keep track of their activities?
You know what I think. We feel guilty. We really do want the best for our children, but then we get sucked into some dumb advertising which stirs a slight feeling of guilt. Then we start with extra activities, lessons, booking play dates (does any one else recall just going over to your friends house to play on your own?) and before you know it we turned into hyper parenting freaks.
This is the new world of keeping up with the Jonses. Instead of keeping up with them we want our kids to keep up with their kids. We are all systematically over investing in our children. The really scary thing about this is studies are showing it hasn’t help one bit. In fact it’s now gone too far and we are producing a generation of over dependent children.
Case in point I was at a career fair last year for my company. I met a man who was handing out resumes for his university age son. I toss the resume in the garbage at once. I told my boss about it and he shook his head in disgust. He knew what I knew: we don’t want people like that. They tend to have overly high expectations, be unrealistic and overly self absorbed. In short they suck at working well in a team. So yes your child may have an extra point of IQ, but he can’t function well in society at large so it doesn’t help one bit.
So I propose the other way to parent. I will invest love, understand and experience into my children. I will not be buying them a toy in the store because they are crying about it and I feel embarrassed. I will not be buying them name brand clothes because they want them. I will only put them in one activity at a time because they need time to play. I will not invest in private tutors because if I can’t help them I’m sure their teacher can manage just fine. I will give them what they need and not what they want. I will invest the one thing that is worth more than anything else in the world: I will invest my time with them.