Handing an expensive gift to a child? Read this

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So what is wrong if you can afford to present an expensive gift? Hmm… When we talk about gifts, it is not only about our affordability but also about its effect on the receiver, especially if the receiving end happens to be a child. Before handing an expensive gift to a child, who is not your own, you need to contemplate how it will affect the emotional relationship between the child and the parent. Not only that, you also need to think how it will affect the child’s thought process.

Birthday party or a family function, exchanging gifts is a way of social life. Fine. But have we ever thought of the consequences of what we present to someone’s child out of good intention, or even out of formality? Recently I came across an interesting blog by Dr JV Hebbar B.A.M.S., M.D (Ayu)., PGDPSM wherein he has meticulously presented how a child could think upon receiving special gifts. He has outlined what he calls “tricky parenting policies”:

“Appeasement: You are my favorite child in this world. I love yoooooummmmmmch. NOW, finish this meal for me.

Give and take – You can play for half an hour now, but you have to finish the homework before sleeping.

Bribe – Eat the meals now and you will get to play outside with neighbors tomorrow and a day after.

Blackmail – Stop throwing tantrums or I will call your teacher and tell him that you are a bad boy. Harassment – FINISH THE HOMEWORK NOW or I will… (wide open, anger spitting red eyes)

Hide a deed – Do this thing and I will not tell dad that you tore the sofa cover today.”

Sure there are more tricks parents play, and I don’t intend to go into analyzing which of these tricks are good or not good for a growing child’s psychology, but one thing is sure that a parent-child relationship is not always what it may look like and involves complicated factors like emotions, an extremely complex chemistry, undefinable loving and hateful gestures, unseen or unknown selfish agendas and so on. Most of them being temporary.

When a guest enters the home and speaks sweet words to the child, this parent-child, strong yet fragile, emotional balance becomes a bit more shaky –

“This aunt speaks so nice words to me, unlike mom!  Wish I get to spend more time with this uncle, than parents. It’s okay to break some rules. Anyhow mom is not going to scold me in front of  this uncle.”

And imagine what happens when the guest presents an expensive gift to the child,  especially without the parents being aware of it.

“Dad always talks about rules, homework, eating, discipline, but this uncle talks so nice and gifted this! Mom always so rude but this aunt fulfilled my wish in a second. So…. the uncle is rich and dad is poor….?!” Before You Present An Expensive Gift To A Child

The amount of time and hard work the parents have to go through in order to stabilize this imbalance could be beyond the imagination of the person handing the gift. For this reason, if you must give an expensive gift to a child, especially when his or her parents are not of the same financial or social status as that of you, it is strongly advisable that you inform the parents beforehand what gift you are going to give so that they can do the homework before the child gets the pleasant surprise that is going to affect his or her emotions in different ways, beyond your control. While it is nice to surprise the child, surprising the parents might not turn out to be that nice!