30 tips to stay married 30 years. #18 Don’t Spoil the Kids, Particularly Early.

Claudius: [writing] It is always unpleasant to hear of the murder of a child: but the reader must take my word for it that if he too and known little Drusilla, her father’s [Caligula’s] pet, he would have longed to do to her precisely what Lupus did.

Robert Graves, Claudius the God 1935

It’s time to bring up the subject of kids

I was watching a video of my kids first couple of christmas’ and in so doing what really jumped out at me was how the whole gift business seemed all about us rather than the kids.

Every time the kid opened a gift they liked and wanted to play with it we were chasing another gift, it was particularly funny when watching my oldest who was fascinated by a pencil, we would keep giving him another gift to open, he would smile, hold it for a while and head back to the pencil. He would have been completely happy playing with said pencil till the next day (even today his spare time when not gaming is spent drawing).

Not only did that pile of gifts become clutter that would make dawife crazy but once a person gets a large number of gifts suddenly the exceptions game changed and not for the better.

If instead of a flock of gifts we purchased one or two each Christmas for the boys and told any relatives who wanted to kick in to buy em savings bonds the house would have been a lot less cluttered, their bank accounts would have done even better than they did and most important of all they would have not only appreciated the stuff they had a lot more but learned that life isn’t about stuff.

And of course I suspect two and a half decades later with bills and loans to pay they would really appreciate the nest egg that twenty years of extra savings would have meant.

The time to avoid spoiling your child is always now, if you already have kids, the time to start is now, if you haven’t yet now’s the time to resist the temptation of watching them open gift after gift. I know there is joy in that but you’ll have more from a well adjusted kid who isn’t obsessed with things and an adult who knows the value of them.

The 30 tips so far…

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