To consider if buying children’s affection with expensive gifts is possible other significant elements must first be weighed. To buy or not to buy? That is the question. Relationships should be defined and discussed to some degree to do our prevailing question justice. Relationships are demonstrative and dynamic by nature and interaction between at least two individuals directs the type and quality of that relationship.
People and society have varying definitions and levels of acceptability or perhaps tolerance as to what might be considered a relationship or even one that would be deemed a quality one. Let’s look at an example. A person who visits a grocery store and recognizes an employee and sees them 2 to 3 times a week and they exchange pleasantries about the weather, specials of the day, or even about last night’s ballgame results. A relationship has been established. Both parties are giving and receiving information about agreed upon relevant topics. In other words, probably at the most basic level, both parties are benefiting from an interaction that has existed for at least a period and this could also be considered a positive or relationship of quality. Most of us can recall the local butcher, barber, classmates, or the mail person who were pleasant and with whom we frequently interacted with. These would be considered mutually beneficial relationships at the acquaintance level.
There is a point when both or more parties engaged in interaction take steps to become “closer” so to speak, and there is direct or indirect invitations or requests to offer or receive more attention by spending more time together time together. Sharing a sporting event or a movie or cultural event for example. If this is done in a group type setting, then usually there is even less pressure bringing rise to naturalness and self-expression. In this interaction, if both or more parties are feeling they are benefiting or at least enjoying themselves, then possibly, just possibly there might be mutual agreement whether spoken or unspoken that friendship might be allowed to develop from what was just an acquaintance. Within friendship, there would be varying degrees of closeness with different friends until, as an adolescent of today might say they have graduated to BFF (Best Friends Forever) Only time and effort or lack thereof will reveal ultimately the development or decline of that friendship.
In a friendship, not to digress though, there begins the give and take and the compromising and discovery of the other parties traits, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. All of these are taken into account even by those teens who might offer a “whatever” when the other party says “Nah let’s go do something else instead tonight.” Whatever a person’s personal experience primarily learned in his or her own home and family will guide further interactions in accepting or rejecting of behaviors for the better or for, the worse.
For another example to suggest social development interaction. A young girl, Tanya at home sees how her mother dominates or manipulates her father into seeing things her(mother)own way. Without much respect, consideration, or flexibility offered on her part more often than not can cause young Tanya to develop unhealthy manipulative behavioral techniques, applying and practicing them with new found “friends” even very early in childhood. If her parents and siblings do not teach healthier behaviors her primarily this can have detrimental effects on all her friendships, whether male or female, as she matures. Of course, there are many other factors in the development of social skills, but experts agree that what happens at home has the most impact compared to a school setting, modern fads, music, and movies. Getting back to our fundamental question, to buy or not to buy?
There is more probability now the observance of the buying tactic, so to speak, to gain others favor. Even in the schoolyard when little money pockets Jimmy boy decides to buy a round of ice cream for his pals, this automatically garners him some tangible attention and perhaps not so sincere intentioned company. Discussion of degrees of acceptability and appropriateness at this point might be humorously disregarded as “kids will be kids” kind of reasoning. In any case, due to Jimmy boy’s unhealthy self-esteem or inadequacy, or silly choice, he literally was rewarded and got similar results he was hoping for. At some level, all parties were served and benefited. This, of course, being his inexperienced and shaky foundation mental processing at this point.
This brings us to the realm of “family,” and these relationships are to be the strongest impacting ones on our entire lives. Where mutual benefit and support should ideally be experienced. And what a tantalizing prospect? To buy or not to buy? A parent might generate the following. “I want my child to get closer to me, and I know he or she has wanted that I-Pod or that Hummer vehicle for his or her 16th birthday. ‘I haven’t been around too much due to the fabulous job downtown that keeps me away a lot from home. ‘Now that I think of it maybe our exalted social status has obliged us to have an overabundant social life keeping us further away from home and our children.” Parents as my counterparts will suggest to be glowing examples and making sure that there is true love, attention, and there be the healthiest of nurturing for their children. To buy a child’s affection with expensive gifts would be frowned upon and considered an unhealthy practice and lesson for everyone involved.
Herein lies the dilemma. To begin what is expensive certainly can be debated far too easily as a variant that in and of itself becomes a nonissue. This is because different opinions based on people’s bank accounts will constitute what is expensive or not. What might be expensive for Tanya’s parents, might not be at all expensive for Jimmy boy’s parents? Would a computer bought for a child be considered an expensive gift that would essentially be negative? Certainly not! A vehicle can also be used for very positive things and education to responsibility and maintenance of it. It could even promote joint projects and communication between parent and child.
The argument I set forth here is that little Jimmy boy might need attention from his high flying parents who possibly are seldom home. A gift, expensive as it may be, could indeed be just the gift that begins to bring back a “fondness or tender feeling” as Webster’s Dictionary defines, back into the relationship. The parent here is also searching quickly to smooth over perhaps any feelings of guilt for not being the best of parents. There could be more admirable ways of initiating more healthy interaction between parents and children, but c’mon let’s face it not all parents are Super Parents like Ward and June Cleaver from yesteryear’s television generated family ideal. Not that ideals should not be strived for, but, many parents and homes nowadays come in packages wrapped in divorce papers, weekend visitation rights, stepfathers, and step-siblings. There is also an extended time at grandparents house and daycare centers and often extreme and negative media influence. Sure little Jimmy boy and dad might much more benefit from a fishing trip or the like. At some point, if realized an activity of sorts could serve dad (or step-dad)to discover that this would be so worth the effort and time more in the long run to develop a healthier and closer relationship. Little Tanya along with mother might also be better served, with a planned mother/daughter special time and project together that could be so cool and fun lending to better communication and bonding.
As a step in and of itself, buying a child an expensive gift to initiate or develop fondness is a definite, “GO FOR IT!” If means are available and there is further growth in the future in other areas and ways to build a relationship, then this can be a beginning to new growth. Indeed reaching out to our children in different and creative ways, even if we fumble it up some, can only be of benefit. Many times children and people in general plain old like the effort behind an action. Kind of like looking for the silver lining around the gobbledygook results. We don’t have to be experts and over think to the point of paralysis all our actions that we propose! We can always go to our pastor, counselor, or parenting classes at some point for more direction. With the status quo and no quality time spent Jimmy boy and Tanya will become just like…us, maybe too busy, perhaps too important, and maybe to long gone from home. Remember the most expensive gift you can give them is YOU and someday, just someday, THEY too may become parents and have children!