Reasons for Future Therapy

I’m not into human experimentation when it involves drugs and stuff, okay?  Let’s just get that out into the open before you read this.

I’m a big fan of this blog called Sociological Images.  All kinds of stuff is discussed on there, and since I have an obsession tendency with analyzing media, particularly that which is blared at girls/kids, I was drawn to this particular post about gift giving.  Basically, Jimmy Kimmel asked his viewers to give their children gifts they knew would not be well received (aka, that they would totally hate), and film the kids opening them.  The intent, I’m sure, was to see kids freaking out, maybe pitching a few fits, and to laugh at their crazy reactions.  The blog author focuses on what constitutes an inappropriate gift – it’s either something that I would consider trash (a black banana, half-eaten sandwich, or juice bottle that just has a little left) or “the gift is considered bad because the recipient is a boy and the gift is for a girl” (Wade).  This was particularly interesting, since the boys mostly showed disgust, cried, or otherwise made fun of the gift.  Mostly, the kids were at best very disappointed and at worst completely pitched a fit.

After reading this blog post and watching the video, I just kept thinking about why the kids were so upset.  I mean, I would definitely not be happy if someone gave me something that was clearly trash (who wouldn’t think they were being pranked?), but a lot of these kids were totally rude if the gift was something they just didn’t want, like a stapler.  A parent admitted it, saying, “Jimmy Kimmel told me to do it,” to which this 8-or 9-year-old boy said, “Well tell him to suck my balls.”  Seriously.  The kid said that, the parent still filmed & submitted the tape.  The issue switched over to materialism, the culture of deserving things, and parenting for me, so I just had to know – what would Hazel do if I did this to her?  After lots of thought, I decided her gift would be a package of dish sponges, clearly opened.  This isn’t trash, it’s not gender inappropriate (because there’s no such thing in our house), but it’s definitely not something she would identify as a toy.  Here’s the video:

I love my daughter.


2 thoughts on “Reasons for Future Therapy

  1. Wow. That is a really interesting experiment, and I horrified at some of the childrens’ reactions! Mostly, though, I am horrified at the parents for not being aware of why their children react this way. Oh, there is so much wrong with how we’re parenting our children!

    I’m really curious about how you steer clear of the social traps out there with Hazel. I see my nieces and nephews being given “girl” and “boy” toys, seriously branded items, and other things that really don’t let them use their imaginations, etc. They’re surrounded constantly with toys that are forcing ideas on them that I find really damaging! I could go on and on about it. How do you keep that stuff out of your home? Don’t well-meaning family members try to give your kids gifts that you don’t find appropriate?

  2. It’s hard sometimes, but completely worth it, to be so conscientious about everything we brand as “okay” for the girls. At first, I think our families thought we were kidding about how we wanted to raise our kids; we emphasized less materialism, more thought. Mostly we have to constantly talk about it. Before Hazel’s first Christmas was the hardest time. She turned 4 months the day after Christmas, but she was absolutely bombarded with gifts. It was ridiculous, the amount of stuff she got that year. We had talked about what we liked – books, very simple toys that were wooden or cloth, not electronic, or $ for her college fund – and she got some things that fit that bill, but not much. With my mom present (she was the worst offender, always has 1000 gifts for all of us), I separated out all the inappropriate stuff into a huge pile and donated it to a thrift store before we even drove home. It was harsh, but I think it helped everyone see that it’s really a conviction Amos and I share; we really feel strongly about the importance of play, and that includes the types of materials available. I think it’s just consistency, having people see that we really don’t allow gendered stereotypes to rule our parenting style/their play (or clothes, even), and those people that love us try to give gifts that fall in line with that. We’re lucky they try to, since I’ve heard plenty of my like-minded friends lament how their parents or in-laws seem almost to find it offensive, giving the grandkids the loudest, most obnoxious gifts they can think of with the idea that the parents are depriving or cheating the kids out of fun, or something.

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