So, as we all know, Christmas is coming up. And with it, sometimes comes a dilemma for parents – do we buy what the kids want, or do we follow societal expectations and do “the right thing”?
Before our eldest, who is now seven years old, was even born, my husband and I bought a PlayStation 2. We bought a bunch of games and played them semi-regularly. Once the kids were born, and grew up a little, they started playing it too. It broke last year, and we bought another, second-hand console to use with all the bits we had already purchased. The second-hand one lasted a month. So we got it fixed, and the next one also lasted a month. We gave up.
Nine months later, and our only-just-turned-four year old still remembers the old PS2, and wants another one!!! My problem with that is that given his father is a computer programmer and computing is just a done thing in this house, the boys already have their own computer (second-hand also, but still). They have an iPad each to help with their Aspergers (as per recommendation from their Occupational Therapist), and also on recommendation from their OT, they have a Wii.
For a seven and four year old, they are both pretty technologicaled up. Even for an Aspie family, they are technologicaled up.
Master four wants a new PlayStation. Master seven wants an XBox. The XBox is out, due to the fact that even though the PS3 and the Wii are both able to be hooked up to the internet, the XBox just seems to be “more” internet related, and we do not feel they are old enough for that yet. It would be possible to not hook the XBox up to the internet, sure, but I really don’t want the constant arguments about it.
Besides – the games that Master seven wants can be found on either the PC or the PS3 or the Wii, so he can just suck it up.
So… You can see where this is going can’t you?
Yes, tonight, I ordered them a PS3 online, along with a couple of games. As this obsession with the PS3 has been going on all year for Master four, it has been in the back of our minds that we would need some extra money this year for Christmas. So we have made sure to have some.
Still… I can’t quite shake this feeling that I am doing the wrong thing. I blame society for this. Society says that too much technology is bad. First it was the radio, then television, then computers and gaming consoles. Kids should be outdoors, playing and building things with their hands and playing with cars and trains.
But what if your kids are not interested in cars and trains, and what if being outside often makes them sick or hurts them? What if you have a great selection of outdoor equipment, including a cubby that came with the house, and swings and trampoline that were bought by a grandmother who worried about them being inside all the time, and they still didn’t want to go outside, or it still made them sick or sore?
What if this is the only thing they want for Christmas, other than a rubber duck for the bath (when it comes to toys other than the technological ones, my eldest has simple tastes!)?
What if? Well, you go with the flow, that’s what! You decide that even if technology is limited in other houses, it doesn’t mean that you have to follow their rules. You decide that what is right for your kids is right for your kids, regardless of what if right for other kids. You decide to do what is right for YOUR kids.
So if your kids want to follow the technological path, and you are ok with it – don’t let society dictate your parenting. Do what is right for your family. We only have one life – we need to live the best life for us. And for this family, that involves a lot of technology.
Although, I do also buy cars and trains and outdoor equipment. And books, and art supplies, and general “toys”. Just in case I can convince them to get off the screens for a while 🙂