Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear parents: take it down a notch, I'm broke.

Today I had a really infuriating conversation with Olivia in which I wanted to contact another kid's parents and just bitch them out.


Because quite frankly, I don't believe a 7 year old should have any of the following:

  • laptops
  • cell phones
  • iPads or any kind of tablet
  • eReaders
  • iPods
  • Extravagant birthday parties with 30+ kids
You know what? Fuck you. Because I know have a daughter who is asking for not only a laptop for her birthday, but she wants a cell phone so she can text her friend and then a Nook or Kindle Fire to read and then for sure an iPod because cd's are for losers. 

She actually said they are for losers. I swear I felt a pang in my heart as I have three in my purse right now. It's god damn tragic, is what it is. 

When I was younger the definition of a cool kid was based on the jeans and shoes you had. When I was in first grade (like Olivia is now), you were the shit if you had a Trapper Keeper. I remember really wanting one but just kind of knew my mom couldn't afford that but somehow (maybe from help of an uncle) I got one. I also got a Lisa Frank folder to go in it and it's pretty much like popping my cherry right then and there. I was so bad ass. Never mind I didn't know how to use the multiplication tables or the conversion charts and I used it to store my stickers and artwork instead of you know, actual homework, but still. I really really awesome when I was the only one at my table with one. 

Then in third grade light up shoes were the thing. I do remember my mom driving us all over the place looking for light up shoes. I ended up getting a really ugly pair I said fit but were really a half size too small. By the time school started that fad had ended and I had to go the entire school year with these ugly ass, too small shoes. And you know within a month only one light works so I looked stupid. 

In sixth grade, I really wanted an Espirit bag (never got it) and Nikes. I didn't get Nikes either. I got knock off, old lady Reebok's and hated life. Not only did I suck in gym class and couldn't do any pull up's or climb a rope (still can't do either), but I had to be shamed wearing my old lady shoes. 

By middle school I was starting to get more firm about not going to school looking like a dork. I begged, absolutely BEGGED for a pair of Nikes. I got a pair of old lady tennis shoes and they were ugly. But who fucking cares- it had the swoosh and that's all that mattered. I still sucked in gym though. 

In high school my only requirements for wardrobe so I didn't get beat up were at least Levi's instead of Target jeans and a Champion hoodie. I got both and that was basically it. It was enough to keep me out of the dork pool but nowhere near the popular pool. Which, at least I didn't get beat up. Nobody even paid any attention to me and in hindsight, that was probably OK. 

But kids are different today. They don't really care about clothes or anything (at least yet), they want electronics. First up, there's no reason she can't do her learning games on my laptop, she doesn't need her own. She gets really angry when I give her a 30 minute limit every other day. I don't need my kid geeking out yet. The phone? No. There is no reason for a seven year old to have a phone. There should be no reason for your kid to be home alone and need a phone to "check in" when they get home. No, Olivia wants to text her friends. Um, no. 

The eReader? Ugh. I kind of get it. But then again, I want my kid to enjoy holding an actual book in her hand, get excited walking through a library or a book store by just being surrounded by all of the possibilities. So no. No to that. Tablets and shit? No. It's basically a big phone that you can't call from but it's not as versatile as a laptop. There's no need. 

And the birthday parties with every kid in your grade? Stop that shit. Because when you do that? The rest of us practical parents hope your kid gets sick and has to cancel the party and you're out all of that money. OR that someone slashes your tires in the parking lot when you have a meltdown with a crowd of party kids surrounding you. 

I know that's not just me that thinks that. 

And what are we teaching our kids if we give them these things now? Seriously? How the fuck do we out-do ourselves next year? By the time they are 16 it'll be boob jobs and liposuction. We're the entitled generation as it is, what's this generation going to be like then? Good grief. 


kimberrleigh said...

Okay, here's my thing on the technology. By no means do we need kids sexting at age 8 - but how do you not know that your child is going to take that technology and learn from it? Growing up, I always had a computer. My parents both used one for work, and so they caved and bought us a home computer to all use - which ended up in mine and my sisters bedroom (eventually just my room when my Mom moved her office into another room). And that was the best damn thing that ever happened to me. I know the internet was at a different point back in the late 90's, but I learned how internet networking worked, and how to program and how to tear it apart and put it back together. There's a part of me that wishes my parents would have bought me more gaming systems so I could have studied those.

And we desparately need more female software engineers/women in technology. I'm not saying you should force her into it, but from what I can tell she's a really really smart girl. Her only being 7, I can see your bind you're in (also the financials of it all). But please don't discount her urge for technology. Obviously I'm not a parent, so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt (but also consider it, because being a woman in technology I know what I'm talking about lol) - but ease her in with like one device. If she uses it more than the superficial way and shows a general interest/not peer pressured, it might be a really great investment in her future.

As far as the parties go? Yeah fuck that shit. Not necessary. Also screw the parents that let boy/girl sleepovers happen in like 3rd grade. Fucking idiots.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Parties? If you want to send invites home from school you must by policy include everyone otherwise you have to somehow find the numbers of the 8 kids your kid really wants to invite but doesn't know the last names of & I've never worked out how to do that so we just don't have parties.
My kids had a laptop at 6 because my dad upgraded his & gave us his 5 year old model. I was 25 before I had a computer. Granted it was 1992..
Cell phones are just ridiculous unless it's an old one with no service. We're thinking of getting my oldest one for his b'day. He'll be 11.

Shannon @ Bungalow960 said...

The rule my parents had for cell phones is that you got one when you really needed on. For me, I was 15 and traveling out if state for cross country meets and my parents needed to get in contact with me. Same deal for my sister at 15 with tennis tournaments. My brother got one at 13 because my parents seriously give zero shits now because they want to be done with parenting. My brother is also an annoying asshole.

Lin said...

As much as I love my Nook there's still something classic about holding and smelling a real book. Was the smelling party creepy? Oh well, it's true, I smell books. Whatever.

Kids today are totally spoiled with all this crap. My 7yr old goddaughter asked me to get her an iPad for Christmas last year. I actually laughed at her and said she'd have to rethink this & give me something under $45 cause I'm broke.

Unknown said...

Tell her if she wants an iPod, she needs to earn it. And tell her how long it will take her to earn it so she understands the value of money--Maybe you could meet her half way at Christmas?

Tech. Stuff is important, but kids don't understand how much all this stuff costs. when I was a kid, all my friends shopped at limited too, and all my clothes were from target. I remember the day someone told me target clothes were like walmart clothes and I was so bummed out, but as an adult, I look back at that and think, wow... Those kid learned that behavior from somewhere, and it had to be their shallow ass parents.

My parents were always very honest with us (sometimes too honest).. Encourage Olivia to be "popular" because she is kind, not because she has been given stuff. Teach her how to earn things-- give her a quarter for any chores she does and if she really goes above and beyond, maybe 2 quarters, or a whole dollar. She will start to get it, and take pride in earning the things she wants. It will also teach he to take care of those things. Maybe over the summer you can sponsor (or supervise) her doing a lemonade on a Saturday afternoon at the park. Now is the perfect time to teach her how to earn things.. If she wants those things bad enough, she will prioritize and earn.

A beautiful lesson for a growing mind.

Ruth said...

My daughter has NONE of that stuff. She is 16 and is OK with it. She went through the wanting a cell phone phase, but she never talks on the home phone so realized she really doesn't care. She would like a laptop and that I'd get her if I had the money. Hopefully later this year. She has one for school, but she just gets to use it. The school owns it. My girl loves to write so it would be of use to her. She doesn't want an ereader. She loves books. She would also rather have cds than mp3s.
I have seen 5 year olds with cell phones. I honestly do not know how their parents afford all this stuff. Over Christmas so many people I know gave their kids tablets. My daughter doesn't like those either.
There is the saying that "Give the kids all of what they need and some of what they want". There is a lesson in that.

Unknown said...

we are totally coming at this from the sammmme point of view. Aaron wants to start our future kids on the atari before they are ever allowed to play newer games lol.
I just got a tablet...mostly so I could watch netflix, and so I could read in bed (my old school kindle didn't have a back light and it annoyed my husband to have the light on), and so my cat wouldn't shed in my laptop keyboard. I like the laptop more for stuff though.
Anyways...I totally get that 'how do you one up this one.'

Iron Criterion said...

I'll tell you what: reading posts like these makes me terrified at the idea of having children.

But what I really want to understand is in the current economic climate how parents can afford to cater to their child's every whim? Whenever I see someone whine about how hard their life is, I can't help but wonder how many iphones are in their house, or laptops and massive LED TVs.