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I hate these types of parenting questions

Dear Prudence, 
We have three kids and a strict rule on birthdays. The kids get needed items (clothes, bikes, books, etc.) and $200 for the party or a big gift. We want to teach our kids the value of money and how to budget. So the kids can get a sleepover or blow-out water park trip. My eldest saved up to get a brand new gaming system and TV, one that he doesn’t want to share with his little brothers. My husband just wants peace and I am hesitant to push either way. I am the oldest of five and have firm memories of my private property being wrecked by the younger siblings (don’t ask about my first car). I don’t want to just blindly react either. My younger boys blew their birthdays on expensive outings while my eldest really saved up for this (we refuse to buy video games for presents). Can you help?

—Uncheerful Giver

Re: I hate these types of parenting questions

  • ugh.
    I do come down on the side of privacy and ownership for kids though.

    charlotte989875mrsconn23cupcait927baconsmom
  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    He saved up for it, so I don't really think he should have to share it. Maybe they could have a rule that the younger kids can use it ONLY if they have permission from the oldest, but the oldest has the prerogative to say no if he wants. I don't have kids, but that's how we usually did it growing up. My brother and I had things that were only ours growing up (and could be used only with permission), and we turned out fine.

  • tawillers said:


    He's also learning buyer's remorse.  Because he got too excited about the ps4 and didn't realize his friends all got xbox one.  Now he's saving again so he can play with them.
    I'm so glad we held on to the PS3 for a really, really long time and then finally pulled the trigger on an xbox one for the kiddo's bday/Christmas this past year.  We would have been in the same position if we'd purchased him a PS4 (as we almost did a year or two ago). 
  • tawillers said:


    He's also learning buyer's remorse.  Because he got too excited about the ps4 and didn't realize his friends all got xbox one.  Now he's saving again so he can play with them.
    I'm so glad we held on to the PS3 for a really, really long time and then finally pulled the trigger on an xbox one for the kiddo's bday/Christmas this past year.  We would have been in the same position if we'd purchased him a PS4 (as we almost did a year or two ago). 
    There was this new Batman game that came out in June.  He had to have that game and he was POSITIVE ps4 was the way to go.  I mean, he really bought the damn thing for one game.

    But we're ok with it.  Maybe next time he'll think a little more and not let his excitement affect his decision.

    mrsconn23
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm on the side of the son in this one and respecting his things. My sister ruined far too many of things, items that I had purchased with my own money, and my parents never really punished her for it. She also totalled my first car, so I feel for the LW and her desires to not want to push her son to share. 
  • He saved his money for it, so it's his to decide what to do with. If he wants to let his siblings play then it's his choice. 

  • Son saved up for it so it's his.   But that means that son keeps it in non common space.   

    Right now my kids don't have TVs in their rooms and I have no plans to allow one.   So I'd veto a purchase like this until my kids are in late teens at least.   At that point if they want to buy something and not share it, it must stay in the room.   

    Maybe I'll feel differently as my kids age but right now they're too young to understand what they can't and can't use in common areas.   

    As a parent, I'd consider putting restrictions on the use of something like this though.   It's too easy to use these to shut yourself off from the rest of the world and I'd also have no problems saying that if you can't play by my rules then you can't play at all. 
  • Son saved for it, he gets it.  This when I would probably have a discussion about being nice and letting them play every once in awhile, but that it's his decision.  I would also offer that I would stay with the little one to help.  We already have said that anything in their rooms is theirs and they don't have to share.  They usually do, but I never make them.

    I'm the kid sister.  My siblings had their own stuff and it sucked, but I did really appreciate when they let me play with things.  I still remember recording over one of my brother's music tapes.  I tried to deny it even though it was my voice on it!!!!
  • I think if the parents wanted the game system to be a family thing, they should've bought it themselves.  

    But overall, the parents' expectations about this birthday system seem weird to me.  An older child is going to be more able to delay gratification than his younger siblings, so giving them the same level of guidance on how to use this gift seems like a bad idea to me.  
  • I think if the parents wanted the game system to be a family thing, they should've bought it themselves.  

    But overall, the parents' expectations about this birthday system seem weird to me.  An older child is going to be more able to delay gratification than his younger siblings, so giving them the same level of guidance on how to use this gift seems like a bad idea to me.  
    This as well.   You can't expect the same level of reasoning in younger children. 
  • This isn't even an issue with her kids, really. It's her and her H not being on the same page with regard to the game system purchase and maybe the whole way bdays are structured.  And this is why this is even an issue.  

    It sounds like her childhood experiences have inspired her to handle things this way and her H doesn't feel the same way about it.  So, really...they need to figure their shit out and be on the same page as to how to constructively deal with this.  

    But punishing the oldest by forced sharing is not the way to go, IMO. 
    cupcait927AddieCake
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