Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Going Overboard! When Is "Enough Is Enough" Too Much?

What's happening to children's birthday parties these days?

Peer pressure is butting in here as well, it seems. 'Peer Pressure' is a bit pushy, methinks, and should be taken aside, or down to the old shed out the back and given a good talking to! A few home truths and facts of life should be explained, in detail, to 'Peer Pressure'. I don't remember my mother or grandmother ever succumbing to this kind of nonsense. It used to be 'Keeping up with the Jones's'...but the 'Jones's' left town and the 'Peer Pressures' moved in to take their place! Now, with their pushiness, they've taken over the neighbourhood!

I do, however, remember excitedly shifting from one foot to the other, my eyes sparkling in eager anticipation, while I watched my mother preparing chocolate crackles, 'cheerios' ready to be heated when needed, accompanied by the obligatory bowls of tomato sauce, home-made sausage rolls, savoury biscuits/crackers bearing deliciously-tasting toppings of a vast variety, fancy cupcakes, bowls of nuts, lollies/candy and crystallized ginger. And of course, the main feature of the day, the decoratively-iced birthday cake.

When my brother and I were children, our birthday parties were never Cecil B. De Mille productions, but we eagerly and impatiently waited for each birthday to arrive (not like today!). Just a couple of good mates would join in with the fun. The afternoon would be spent racing around the yard, playing and chasing each other! Every now again stopping by the table for a 'top-up' of fuel to re-energise our motors for the next game of 'cowboys and indians' or whatever was on the agenda. A tub of ice loaded with bottles of sarsaparilla, lemonade, lemon squash, creaming soda, ginger beer and horehound stood by to quench our wild, young thirsts.

Kids don't need lavish birthday parties. They need to be able to kick off their shoes, run around the yard bare-footed, get dirty and go back to their homes with sticky faces and gravel-rashed knees and elbows!

Let's get back to basics....let's get back to the simple ways as much as we possibly can. Children don't need all the fancy toys and gadgets to make them happy. A child's imagination and the freedom to allow a child to utilize that imagination is the best gift one can give a child.


  1. I agree Lee, now let me say it for both of us;


  2. I agree to disagree with you, Peter...I think it is a sure sign of using one's commonsense! We are all born with inherent commonsense...some of us choose to use it, while others don't...they're too concerned about what others think about them and 'keeping up appearances'.

  3. Some parents are bloody ridiculous. But when we see how they pander to their horrible kids in the supermarket or the mall, nothing should really surprise us!

    Don't get me wrong, I don't hate kids - only the brattish ones that their parents haven't a clue how to say "no" to - and that goes for the over-the-top birthday parties, too.

  4. It's the parents who are at fault in the first instance. Children will test their boundaries every time, naturally. If the adult doesn't set the rules, one can't blame the child...a child knows no better, if it's not taught by its parents. The poor kids become little brats because the parents are too damn ignorant in parenting skills. Then it turns into an ever-increasing circle as the child grows into an adult to carry on the faults of its parents...(and this comment is turning into an epic!) ;)

  5. I always buy some sons some helium balloons because they are cheap and cheerful and last for ever.

    I love the old fashioned party games too, how often do kids play musical chairs today and pass the parcel? Mine did until they were 10 or so.

    I do love giving them parties and a sense of occassion, they are not allowed to wear football shirts either, unless they are playing a game.

  6. Hi, Lee. I agree with you. In the UK I used to see all these parties in Macdonald's and think what the children were missing. Or they have fancy catering bhrought into the home and hire conjurors or whatever. As you say, kids need their friends and a way to use up their energy!

  7. G'day Elle...welcome to my blog...thanks for visiting.

    Hey, Welsh....nice to see you, too...

    So many parents give the appearance, to me, anyway, of having the wish to 'buy' their children's love and unfortunately, with some, this practice continues as the child enters its teens and beyond.

    Teach the child the basics of life...the simple enjoyments...teaching them to always have their hands out expecting more and more is not the way to go. Teach them to aspire and achieve their goals. Handing everything to them on a plate, and a fancy one at that, is not the way to go.

    What does one do as 'follow-up' the next year...and then the next? The pattern has been set, and it's difficult to break once in motion.

  8. Mmmmmmmmm, when's dinner?

    We did the ordinary birthday celebration for our first born, just as you described with the games, cake and running around.

    However, it was soon obvious that we were living in the stone age when it came to celebrating birthdays.

    All the other family's kids had birthdays at bowling alleys, gyms, Chucky Cheese and the local Putt Putt. So, yes, we bowed to the times and our second born had his birthday celebrated at a laser tag arena.

    I'm ready for the wet noodle lashing now.

  9. Well I've caught back up with all of your posts. Quite prolific you are!
    I think hiring a girl with ponies to come and give rides is okay at childrens birthday parties. (I have a daughter in the business)
    I agree, the oppulence is unnecessary.

  10. Consider the lashings handed out with much fervour and completed, Dave! ;)

    There's nothing wrong with a pony in the back yard, Cliff...it serves a double purpose...just think of the garden fertilizer after it's departed! ;)

  11. And who started this idea that the birthday child HAS to win the games? Eventually they will go out into the wide wide world and be mugged by reality.

  12. You are so right, Lee. So many aren't prepared for the realities of life. And that's a pity...for them...and I guess for some who get in their way! ;)