Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Can You Give Your Kid Just Too Many Gifts?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Can You Give Your Kid Just Too Many Gifts?

Article excerpt

HOW many presents do you think a child should be given at Christmas?

Is one present enough? Three presents? Ten presents? How about 25 presents?

If you're a parent or grandparent, take a moment, think of one of your children or grandchildren, and count the number of gifts you think the child will receive. Remember, many children receive gifts not only from Santa, but also from grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, perhaps a neighbor and school friends. What number of gifts did you come up with? At a seminar I gave recently, one woman said that she already had tucked away 15 gifts for each of her children. "Fifteen gifts for each?" I asked, surprised. She said she loved Christmas and probably would be getting each of them another five to 10 presents before the big day. I asked the woman if any of the gifts were clothes that the children might need. She said no, they were toys. I said that it seemed she might be setting her children up for unhappiness in the future. They might get in the habit of wanting and expecting more and bigger. And what if at some point she couldn't provide what they had become accustomed to? They might feel resentful. I could see the woman's eyes glazing over. She was not hearing, and I was beating a dead horse. So I moved on. This past week a couple I see in therapy wanted to discuss how much they should give their children for Christmas. "He's one of those fathers who can't say no," she said. "And Christmas is his thing. He likes to shop for the kids." "I do," the man said, grinning. "I work hard. Why shouldn't I have the pleasure of giving to my children?" "You should," I said. "But you also owe your wife consideration and respect, and it seems the two of you need to compromise on what's enough. And it's a good idea to think of the ramifications for your children if you overload them. …

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