Giving to children without giving too much

You can’t get spoiled if you do your own ironing.

— Meryl Streep


Like most parents, I try to give the best to my daughter without spoiling her. Sometimes, it’s tough knowing where to draw the line.

Just for fun, we once took a weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina. As we strolled through an outdoor market in the town’s historic district, we came upon a table of hand-made Russian nesting dolls. There were about two dozen sets of the colorful matryoshka, each presented in a different theme: animals, children, flowers.

The dolls were beautiful; my 7-year-old daughter was mesmerized. She eyed each set carefully, working up the courage to ask if I’d buy her one.

I silently mulled how I’d answer her. These weren’t children’s dolls; these were collectibles. The cheapest set was $28, and they escalated in price to about $120. She was looking at a cute set of Panda bears that ran $40.

Candidly, price was not the real issue. I had other concerns. I wondered if she’d enjoy the dolls for an afternoon and then relegate them to a box in her room – home to many other “gotta have it” toys and dolls.

In fairness, on occasion she’ll pull out a stuffed bear or ignored souvenir from another vacation, using it to help recall a fun memory from the trip. Maybe she’d assign a warm memory to the dolls.

On the other hand, my daughter was going through a “I-want-to-buy-something-everywhere-we-go” phase. I often said yes – too often.

Ultimately, I said “no” to the dolls. They were too extravagant for a casual souvenir. My daughter curled her lip for a minute but didn’t complain. I think she understood. Later, we let her choose a children’s book from another booth, and she was happy.

Did I draw the line at the right time – or did I deny her the chance to begin a lifetime love of collecting Russian dolls?

I think I made the right decision, but it’s a constant balance to give without giving too much.


Published by robertpeek

I live in Jacksonville, Florida and enjoy my work as a marketing and public relations professional.

One thought on “Giving to children without giving too much

  1. I enjoyed your post. I am in the “preparent” stage and am myself concerned with the commercialism that has taken over. I have been thinking of not letting my child believe Santa exists. I actually wrote a post about this very thing after Christmas! But you write about the vivid imagination of your daughter, of children in general, that makes the magical illusion of Christmas seem delightful. I’ll have to think about that. When my daughter arrives, I might just change me mind (and convince my partner to change hers) about Santa Claus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: