Priv­i­leged par­ent doesn’t like braggy child

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - CLASSIFIEDS - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamyt

Dear Amy: We live in a welloff neigh­bour­hood. We all so­cial­ize to­gether. My hus­band and I have one child. We like to travel and do ex­cit­ing things. We do not lav­ish our child with an abun­dance of toys; we feel that ex­pe­ri­ences are more im­por­tant.

We were close friends with an­other cou­ple with two chil­dren, ages 8 and 6. These kids have amassed a huge amount of ex­trav­a­gant toys, such as elec­tric go-karts. These things are not im­por­tant to me and my hus­band, and we’d like them to not be im­por­tant to our son.

Their 8-year-old, “Sammy,” likes to tell any­one who will lis­ten, how much things cost. He will then pro­ceed to not al­low his friends to use these toys, for fear they will break them.

This is ex­tremely off­putting to me, so I have dis­tanced my fam­ily from theirs.

Re­cently, the wife of this cou­ple asked what she had done to of­fend me be­cause we don’t spend time to­gether any­more.

I hes­i­tate to tell her how I feel about her chil­dren’s lav­ish toys and her son quot­ing the price of them. I don’t want her to think I am en­vi­ous, be­cause I am not. I just have dif­fer­ent val­ues. How should I han­dle this? — TOO MANY TOYS IN TEXAS

Dear Too Many Toys: You are judg­ing your son’s friend­ship based on your adult met­ric, and it is ob­vi­ous that you hold a harsh judg­ment about how this other fam­ily op­er­ates. YOU don’t want to be around this other child and lis­ten to him show­ing off his pos­ses­sions and quot­ing prices of things. But I think it’s a good thing for chil­dren to be ex­posed to all sorts of fam­i­lies, in part be­cause this can help them to no­tice dif­fer­ences be­tween peo­ple, and learn to ac­cept, or re­ject, through their own grow­ing dis­cern­ment.

Some 8-year-olds try to over­ride their in­se­cu­ri­ties through su­per­fi­cial means. One way to re­act to a child this age who is brag­ging is to re­spond: “Wow, an $800 gokart? That’s a lot! I wish I had one of those — be­cause I’d drive it to work!” When you re­spond with hu­mour, you put it in per­spec­tive for the child. It’s silly!

A child who with­holds his toys from his friends will have a tough time keep­ing friends, how­ever. And this is a mat­ter you can leave up to your son. Maybe play­dates would be more fun for both chil­dren at your house.

You should be hon­est with your friend. Tell her, “Sammy is hav­ing a hard time shar­ing his cool stuff. He likes to say how much things cost. I’m hav­ing a hard time with it.”

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