My wife and I had an interesting arguement yesterday. We had bought a pumpkin from the local supermarket to carve into a jack-o-lantern. My wife had the bright idea of buying both kids their own pumpkins so they could both have their own to do with as they wish. I promptly informed her that that was the dumbest idea I've ever heard. I thought this might be an opportunity for family bonding and a lesson in cooperation for us as well as the kids. My wife sees structure, disipline, and direction for children as oppression. Now, I can get carried away at times in my Stan from American Dad approach to parenting, but I saw this as another submission to the child's will, another senseless waste from giving kids things they didn't even ask for to prevent even a potential of disappointment.
In defense of my wife, she was raised by very strict parents. She was prohibited from many seemingly harmless things most children take for granted, which prevented her from developing into a well adjusted adult like her peers(according to her). Therefore, since her childhood was the absolute worst ever,(I've seen her championship belt) the right way to raise children must be to let them do whatever the hell they want, whenever they want. I'm no expert in parenting, but try at least to ponder the consequences of decisions I make regarding how my daughter is raised. In my experience, the more material things you give children, regardless if they are "deserved" or not (that's a debate unto itself) the more they will expect in the future and the less grateful they will be for what they have. To me, they should be grateful we even have ONE pumpkin to carve. Or can afford to buy Halloween costumes.(I'm resisting the intense urge of resorting to "when I was a kid...") But needless to say, most of my costumes growing up were of the homemade variety. Of course, my wife ended up winning this skirmish, but I think I'm getting through to her little by little. I want my kids to have a happy, worry-free childhood, as she does. I just think its ironically easier for them to grow up truly happy and content if we allow them to be happy and content with less, rather than more.