Spoiled Kids At Christmas

I noticed something interesting 5 minutes into Christmas morning. My 2 year old had ripped open a couple Chuggington train cars and was in bliss. He was hooking them up, driving them around the carpet and oblivious to the flurry of wrapping paper flying around him.

He was happy. He was thrilled. If Christmas had ended after those small gifts, he would have been satisfied.

Our 4 year old, however, wanted more. And more. And more. The more he opened, the more he wanted. He’d barely look at what was inside the box before turning to find more wrapping paper to shred.

Did your kids act spoiled on Christmas Day? Chances are they did, and we’re to blame.

According to a new survey by Parenting magazine, 76% of parents say their kids act spoiled and are less grateful than they should be during the holidays.

59% of parents say that their kids are more spoiled than they were as kids. Only 11% say they’re less spoiled.

The average parent spent $271 per child on gifts this year, and 30% will spend over $300.

76% of parents say they feel GUILTY about saying “no” to something on their child’s wish list, and 18% try to give their kids EVERYTHING they ask for.

The harder you try to make them happy, the more they want, just scan Twitter for some complaining keywords just after Christmas morning and you’ll see the level of entitlement we’re enabling.

Spoiled brats show their true colours on Twitter

Once again my wife and I have made a pact that next year we’ll dial it down. Bring some sanity and meaning back to the morning.

What about you, did you spoil your kids this week?

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  1. Samantha December 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I like to think we did alright with not spoiling the kids. We have a 1 year old and a 4 year old, and we dialed back pretty big this year – no electronics, nothing flashy, and trying to be thoughtful about our purchases. Our daughter got a dress up chest (full of costumes that I got second hand), a coffeemaker & doughnuts for her play kitchen, a board game, some My Little Ponies. Our son got a stuffie and a blanket, both things I made for him. My husband and I noted that this year was by far the leanest holiday season for all of us in terms of gifts under the tree. It helps that we have a small house, so I have an interest in keeping stuff to a minimum, too.

    I want to set the standard while they’re young, that Christmas isn’t about a massive pile of loot or expensive presents, or even getting exactly what you want or everything that you asked for. The kind of entitlement in what you’ve found makes me cringe, that is exactly the kind of stuff I don’t want my kids to pull on a holiday that’s supposed to be about family and giving, not about who got the shiniest toy.

  2. admin December 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Well done, Samantha. That’s our goal for next year.

    We didn’t go over, over the top. We stayed in our budget, but when you see how quickly the toys get tossed aside, you wonder if 2 or 3 packages is waaay better than 5 or 6 or 8 or 9.

  3. Amy December 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for posting this Buzz – this has been my challenge for 6 years since my daughter was born. And every year I fall short of my goal to ‘dial back’ the presents. Definitely guilty on this front. However, I’m happy to say my daughter has always appreciated what she has and takes time and care with her ‘things.’ She has never been one to rush through gift after gift in an explosion of wrapping paper. And yesterday, she actually handed me the first present to open, saying she wanted to give me my present first. So, there may be a way to make your kids happy without ‘spoiling’ them so to speak. One thing I’ve done is use the buzzword “Veruca Salt.” If my daughter starts showing signs of spoiled bratitis, I simply ask her, “Are you being a Veruca Salt, or a Charlie Bucket?” It seems to do the trick. We’ve watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few times (and we both agree the original is better than Tim Burton’s update).

  4. danyelle December 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    We have a 6 year old and we had a budget and stayed within. She wanted an Ipad and a newer DS and got neither. Those to me are not christmas gift for any age. We stuck with things she needed like Clothes, PJs and a few smaller items like a dvd she had wanted as well as a few WII games for our family system. Her santa gift was spy gear and small items to do crafting with and books, “old fashion” gameboards to play as a family.

    Our focus has always been to ensure that our daughter understands the meaning of the holidays. We do have her buy gifts for the families that would have done without. I am sure when she goes back to school she will be one of the very few without some big item, which will be hard for her. We always reminder her we save our money for traveling.

  5. admin December 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Oh, and the best part about @charliem321 quoted at the top?

    His twitter bio: “im a proud christian and auburn fan! war jesus!”

    I’m sure Jesus is ticked you didnt get an iPhone4S too, Charlie. Maybe you need to Tebow more in 2012.

  6. Krista Swanson December 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    We always do “something to wear, something to read, something to play with”. Santa brings socks and underwear, a book and a toy. Total spend on everything is under $100. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it wOrks for us 🙂

  7. Lisa December 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    What you described about your kids opening presents was exactly what happened at our house and our kids are the same age. Our 2 year old, opened 2 presents and played and played and played and did not open any other presents for most of the day. Our 4 year old ripped open everything in sight and then asked what she should do.
    This year we did not spend a lot on our kids. Partially because what they asked for was inexpensive. Our son wanted Hungry hungry Hippos and our daughter wanted a doll. But when you add up everything they got from grandparents, aunts and uncles, they got a lot of stuff.

  8. Rachel December 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I don’t have kids, but I have been a nanny for many years now and my Christmas gift giving motto has always been : something to play with, something they need, something they want, and something to read. Stick to that, and I doubt you’ll find my problems 🙂

  9. Katie December 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Guys? If you actually knew Charlie, you would know that yeah, he was upset and that’s why he posted that tweet. Of course, he didn’t mean it. He even sent out an apology tweet and then deleted his account. The guy loves Apple and that had been his dream. In case you failed to notice, his hashtag says, “IknowwhatIwantformybirthday.” Again, if you knew him, you would know that he was just trying to keep a positive attitude. He’s a good kid and his family’s had it rough. So please, don’t judge him. He’s got a good heart.

  10. admin December 29, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Thanks for the note, Katie. Charlie’s tweet takes on a stronger sentiment when surrounded by the others, that’s for sure. I hope he’s learned a valuable lesson in social media and how things can easily be made very public.

  11. Furmen Sakume January 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Nope, not at all. The moment children in my family complain about the gifts I purchased them, I take the gift back from them and return it to the store for a full refund and keep the money for myself and shrug it off. They learn real quick to appreciate what they’re given for free from my hard earned money.

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