Over ski week, we did not travel, so I was able to kick back and catch up on my Real Housewives of New Jersey. In one episode, Jackie, who is new to the group, wrote a column for their local newspaper where she referenced (anonymously, of course) one of the other women new to the group, Jennifer.
Jennifer is the one-upper, who loves to talk about how big her house is, how much Chanel she owns, and all things luxury. She also blatantly spoils her children to excess. Yet, these children seem to be kind, welcoming to others, and generally normal.
So, it got me thinking. We also live in an area of excess, wealth, and luxury. How can I give my children luxuries and experiences in life without creating spoiled and entitled children?
My kids are still young (2 ½ and 4), so I have time until they fully realize the Haves and Have Mores around them. They have both been flying frequently since eight weeks old, and, for my daughter’s fourth birthday, I took her on a girls’ weekend to New York City.
I have been thinking—was this wrong? Too excessive? Will she even remember it? For future trips, are they too young to make Disney worthwhile? Will they come to expect a beach trip every winter? In a world of Kardashians and Rich Kids of Instagram, I feel like if I give an inch, they will expect a mile. It is a fine line to walk to consistently try to instill values over valuables and kindness over “likes” on social media.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to give my children travel experiences, and I want to buy them toys—and not just on birthdays. I want to take them on frivolous trips and stay in fun hotels. And that’s ok. I also want them to understand this is not the way everyone lives, and they are not entitled to these vacations, presents, and luxuries in life. If we skip a winter break trip to the sun and sand or miss a year skiing, that needs to be ok also.
We are living in a world where so much is expected from our kids and from us as parents, but I feel by showing my kids the world, it might help teach them to understand how people live outside this area and to appreciate a good thing when they have it.