when they want what other kids have(14 Posts)
So my five year old (school starter) has noticed now at how other families work, that some have things she doesn't. She's been on two play dates and both times she's come home saying "so and so has an iPad, phone and camera" can I? Obviously she doesn't know how much they cost or why we're not into high tech here and especially at such a young age too, but she just sees it as "unfair" . We explain that we have a lot that others don't, she has siblings like some don't, she has a garden and swing like some don't, she has toys and gMes and some don't etc.
How do you teach them or guide them to see gratefulness, and that all this tech stuff isn't needed right now. I know I sound old fashioned but we just don't want them superglued to it as we find they won't know how to come away from it plus all that stuff is pricey. We have a family iPad, but don't use it as it causes sibling rivalry, she certainly doesn't need a bloody phone, and a camera, they get to play with my older ones.
I know it's being a kid, the novelty of what your friends have but now I'm seeing it from a parents eye and see it as ungrateful for all that she does have. (We also have 4.2.5 week old)
Buckle up OP! It's a long ride.
We're the same. We don't have loads of cash and our DC have never had the latest tech...not that we would get it for them anyway!
You have to be honest OP. I have told my from early on that an iPad is very expensive...that it costs more than Mummy or Daddy have to spend and so we can't have one!
I then tell them they're lucky to have access to a laptop and phone and also that some children in other countries have NO toys at all.
I've shown them videos of kids in Africa etc. Not distressing ones...just of kids in their (bare) classrooms and so on.
Mine are 11 and 8 now and know the value of money. They no longer moan for big items.
You don't have to do some kind of massive gratitude teaching that gives them the message for ever: you just keep repeating what you are already saying cheerfully and confidently. It's the confidence that does it, the absolute absence of guilt on your part. This is something all little children have to learn and it takes some time.
You can see why she's puzzled. You have an iPad, but she isn't allowed to use it because it's 'not needed', but she is allowed to use other toys which are equally 'not needed'.
We weren't allowed to listen to music at home as we weren't allowed to use my Father's expensive and ancient music system. Nor we we allowed to have our own, because we had 'the stereo equipment' (that we weren't allowed to use). Telling me that the starving children in Africa didn't have a radio either wouldn't have made that any more comprehensible to me tbh.
Oh I missed that there is a family iPad! OP...you could let them have it for an hour a day. Mine are allowed on for limited time...it's ok to let them learn a bit about it...they need to know how to get around a screen.
Being grateful for what you do have is a quite complex social skill and one that most 5 year olds aren't mature enough emotionally to truely master. You really need to not look at this with adult expectations of her behaviour and empathy skills.
That's not to say of course that you can't set her down the road to understanding now, Cory and Violet's first post have some good advice about how to deal with this. What I'm saying is don't expect the moaning to stop completely, just be consistent in your message and expect the real deep understanding of the issues involved to come as she matures.
Was going to suggest what violet said, I think it seems a bit unfair that you have one but she's not allowed on it. Could she be allowed on for an hour at weekends maybe?
Sorry posted to early. It's not really a family iPad is it if no one except parents are allowed on it maybe they could earn time on it for good behaviour to trying hard at school?
My parents absolutely hated it when I moaned that 'so and so has got this or that' or 'so and so is allowed to do this'.
They gave me short shrift, saying, effectively, 'tough'. And then would ask me why I thought this sort of argument might work with them (the implication being 'we don't care what others are doing or have').
Curiously, the only things I remember and regret not having (when I bother to think about it) were the experiences, mostly the school trips. None of the material stuff.
I should point out that my parents were loving etc. they were just firm on this.
You will get a lot of it. I have 2ds aged 13 and 10. 13 yr old had a brick phone for about a year, and two months ago got an ancient iPhone from a family member, and that was late compared to his friends. Myself and DH have IPads, but they are ours and the children respect that, because that is what I expect of them. My 10 yr old was desperate for an XBox 1 for his birthday, but was told that it would be a family Christmas present. This caused tears, but he got over it. I think they just have to learn to accept that is how it is in your house.
So what if OP has an iPad and DD can't use it? Can't there be a world where kids are told 'because I don't feel you need an iPad just yet', and that's that?
If I feel my 5 Year old has enough to keep them entertained, I don't need my kid to have it all when they will have enough. I was that child who had little. My mum was good at explaining things to me, and after a while I learnt to value what I did have, but mum allowed me to tell her what I wanted. Sometimes I got it, sometimes not. And if I acted extremely nasty about not getting what I wanted, she'd sometimes buy it and give it to any one of my cousin's .
Not suggesting the OP goes that far, but kids should not dictate what their hardworking parents buy to please them, but there is no harm in them sharing their likes/dislikes.
So far we have taken the route of having family things. So we have a tablet, a computer, a PlayStation etc but they are family ones. They can use them but any squabbling and that's the end of it. I tell my DC that they are lucky that we have the things we do.
Technology is how it is these days, but I see no need for them to have their own things at primary school age.
I have to admit I find myself siding with Jay here. If you feel guilty about reserving anything to yourself as an adult because you feel it is unfair, life gets very complicated.
I did not allow 5yo dd to wear my jewellery (which she would have loved) because it was expensive and it was mine, I did not allow access to the laptop until they were quite a bit older because I knew I wouldn't be able to replace it if it got broken and I needed it for work, they could have a cheap camera to play with but they could not have my expensive one. Plenty of things were family things, some things were not.
"I'm sorry, but this is mummy's x and only mummy gets to use it" is quite an acceptable lesson as long as it does not morph into a constant lack of generosity.
Children do need to learn that they can't just have their friends' toys because it is unfair, or the cake that grandma is saving for tea with a friend, or (as teenagers) help themselves to the perfume dad gave mum for her 50th.
I actually think it is kinder to be relaxed and completely matter-of-fact about this rather than tying yourself into knots about it.
She has one of my older camera she plays with now and again. She took it to the beach with us the other day as we made it a little project to see the world through her eyes kind of thing. Was fab.
I think it is of course in moderTion with the expectations, sometimes I forget how small five is as she seems a bit older in her intelligence/empathy if that makes sense. I think she understood more when we were having fun in the garden with toys and we said well you're extr lucky as you have siblings to play them with, some people aren't so lucky yet or ever to have siblings. In a light hearted way of course.
The iPad was mine as a present and they use to have a little go every now and then but it got dropped by them so it's a no-go now as its not been fixed.
Not only that, I don't have time for iPad playing with my own so for them to play with it being broken would just be silly.
I agree with jay about the not letting them have everything that's yours. I feel guilty on this often but am trying to be more understanding and make them understand the importance of individual space/property etc.
Like when they're playing too with each other, if one has spent a very long time doing something and the other wants to bash it or change it, we try to talk about that with empathy of course.
I think an issue is they have lots of stuff that needs decluttering then that may open their eyes to what they have.
The battle is that I laws etc will buy stuff willy nilly... Cross face.
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