So, the other night, Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment which compiled viewers’ video responses to his latest challenge for parents to pull holiday-related trickery on their children, after his “film your kids’ reaction after telling them you ate all their Halloween candy” segment went viral last month. This challenge was to wrap up some random garbage and give it to kids as an early Christmas present.
I find this entire thing really troubling, because pranks are a form of bullying even between peers, and a prank played by someone in a position of power, especially a parent pranking a child, is bullying that can fundamentally undermine trust.
Where some people see bullying and child abuse, I see over-entitled kids who are spoiled rotten. Getting hot dogs, juice, or a book as a Christmas gift is a huge tragedy for them. I can just imagine what they will grow up into. But oh, those poor kiddies who didn’t get a mountain of expensive toys and gadgets once in their lifetimes. They are total victims of horrible, mean parents.
We all know how sensitive I am about child abuse. But giving kids a book or a carton of eggs for Christmas is NOT abusive. It teaches them a very important lesson about entitlement.
I once saw this segment on television where grandparents gave their small grand-daughter $100 wrapped in a simple white handkerchief. The kid didn’t see the $100 bill but when she got the handkerchief her face lit up. She walked around the room, showing her gift to people and looking extremely happy about it. I don’t think there is any special attachment to handkerchiefs that this child has. She just managed to retain the kind of happy, joyous attitude to receiving any gift that all children have naturally. Of course, most of them lose it because they are showered with endless expensive gifts they no longer even manage to value for more than two minutes.
These kids are old enough to know that you do not throw tantrums no matter how much you dislike any gift you have been given. Where are their manners? Where is at least a glimmer of understanding that you should not hurt the feelings of a gift-giver even if s/he failed to please you with the gift?