Dear Amy: We live in a well-off neighborhood. We all socialize together. My husband and I have one child. We like to travel and do exciting things. We do not lavish our child with an abundance of toys; we feel that experiences are more important.
We were close friends with another couple with two children, ages 8 and 6. These kids have amassed a huge amount of extravagant toys, such as electric go-karts. These things are not important to me and my husband, and we’d like them to not be important to our son.
Their 8-year-old, “Sammy,” likes to tell anyone who will listen, how much things cost. He will then proceed to not allow his friends to use these toys, for fear they will break them.
This is extremely off-putting to me, so I have distanced my family from theirs.
Recently, the wife of this couple asked what she had done to offend me because we don’t spend time together anymore.
I hesitate to tell her how I feel about her children’s lavish toys and her son quoting the price of them. I don’t want her to think I am envious, because I am not. I just have different values. How should I handle this?
— Too Many Toys in Texas
Dear Too Many Toys: You are judging your son’s friendship based on your adult metric, and it is obvious that you hold a harsh judgment about how this other family operates. YOU don’t want to be around this other child and listen to him showing off his possessions and quoting prices of things. But I think it’s a good thing for children to be exposed to all sorts of families, in part because this can help them to notice differences between people, and learn to accept, or reject, through their own growing discernment.
Some 8-year-olds try to override their insecurities through superficial means. One way to react to a child this age who is bragging is to respond: “Wow, an $800 go-kart? That’s a lot! I wish I had one of those — because I’d drive it to work!” When you respond with humor, you put it in perspective for the child. It’s silly!
A child who withholds his toys from his friends will have a tough time keeping friends, however. And this is a matter you can leave up to your son. Maybe playdates would be more fun for both children at your house.
Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle