Multi-spinoff - Gifts, a sign our culture is "sick"? - Page 9 - Mothering Forums
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#241 of 255 Old 12-02-2009, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
There are many ways of voting. You (general you) don't like the way companies market their goods, tell them why you aren't buying their products. Vote with your pocket book. Don't watch the channels/shows that carry the commercials. Don't shop at stores that participate in questionable business practices. On the other hand, write to and support companies that do. And, yes, sign petitions and vote at the polls. Write to your government officials and tell them what you want. Tell them what they are doing right as well as what they are doing wrong. It's easy to sit at home and complain about stuff. But that doesn't change anything. Doing something might not change it all at once either. But over time it can if enough people want it.
You're completely misguided if you think that "sit[ting] at home and complain[ing] about stuff," is all that I (and I am sure others on this thread) do. Please. People usually talk about the things that they care about. They also usually act about the things that they care about. The two go hand in hand.

And heaven forfend that some of us might see the human experience as, you know, a social experience in which people have an impact on each other.

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I agree. I often sit here like this: when I read threads about how [insert external evil atrocity here] is doing irreparable harm. Or could. Or might. As if a toy, or a TV, or a billboard, or a store, would have a greater impact on how my kid turns out than, say, her parents. And her family. And her upbringing. And our family values. That's not to say that some marketing isn't slimy in its approach, I think it can be. But there isn't a doubt in my mind that OUR (my husband and all of our family) will have a greater influence on her and the person she'll grow up to be. Knowing that gives me great comfort when she wants to be brainwashed by the Backyardagains for 30 minutes.



YES!! A lot of people in this thread are talking about imposing rules, enforcing them, even going to THERAPY over the way their family treats them, then they complain their kid has a meltdown because they GO to these events every year, and that the idea that uh, not going, to a place where you are not respected or even heard in some cases, is completely out of the question.

Self, inflicted.
1. Not every family is exactly like yours, not everyone shares your exact priorities, and therefore different techniques are appropriate for different situations. I really don't see what's so difficult to grasp about that concept.

2. I do academic work in a related area and I can tell you that your view of how unimportant marketing is is exactly what marketers prefer that you think. The best marketing plays on all of us in such subtle ways that we barely notice its impact.

3. Some of us care about children in general, not just our own children. If I only cared about my own, I wouldn't give a hoot about television advertising to children at all, since we don't have a tv. However, as I mentioned above, humanity is a social experience, and individual actions and feelings have impacts on other people around us, near and far.

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#242 of 255 Old 12-02-2009, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
YES!! A lot of people in this thread are talking about imposing rules, enforcing them, even going to THERAPY over the way their family treats them, then they complain their kid has a meltdown because they GO to these events every year, and that the idea that uh, not going, to a place where you are not respected or even heard in some cases, is completely out of the question.

Self, inflicted.
Since I am the only person who mentioned the word therapy in this thread, I can only assume that you are referring to me.

Your assumption that it was "over the way [my] family treats [me]" is completely incorrect.

Also, if you were actually paying attention, you would also notice that I pointed out that we solved this problem long before we had children.

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#243 of 255 Old 12-02-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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1. Not every family is exactly like yours, not everyone shares your exact priorities, and therefore different techniques are appropriate for different situations. I really don't see what's so difficult to grasp about that concept.

2. I do academic work in a related area and I can tell you that your view of how unimportant marketing is is exactly what marketers prefer that you think. The best marketing plays on all of us in such subtle ways that we barely notice its impact.

3. Some of us care about children in general, not just our own children. If I only cared about my own, I wouldn't give a hoot about television advertising to children at all, since we don't have a tv. However, as I mentioned above, humanity is a social experience, and individual actions and feelings have impacts on other people around us, near and far.
1.) I agree.

2.) Well, marketing is pretty unimportant to us because I know the way we live our lives is such that it is not the dominating influence in my kid's life. Not even close. It's called "striking a balance". One can be aware of something without being driven by the fear of it. Or paranoia. Depending on how you look at it.

3.) I also agree.

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#244 of 255 Old 12-02-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~pi View Post
2. I do academic work in a related area and I can tell you that your view of how unimportant marketing is is exactly what marketers prefer that you think. The best marketing plays on all of us in such subtle ways that we barely notice its impact.

3. Some of us care about children in general, not just our own children. If I only cared about my own, I wouldn't give a hoot about television advertising to children at all, since we don't have a tv. However, as I mentioned above, humanity is a social experience, and individual actions and feelings have impacts on other people around us, near and far.
I have to agree. There's a great book called "buy-ology" which discusses the lengths to which marketing and advertising go. I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they're not being affected by marketing. You could be right... but there were some SHOCKING revelations in it, to me, at least.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#245 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 06:10 AM
 
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There are two separate issues and they get conflated.

One issue is where there is consistent thoughtless giving, but it's on a small scale. In those cases, yes, the recipient's rudeness is not going to fix the giver's thoughtlessness. It's not a big deal unless there are emotional problems at play.

The other issue is where you have an inverted pyramid extended family, with a ton of relatives giving to a small number of children. In this case, the type of gifts doesn't really matter, everyone could switch to giving beautiful fairtrade wood magical perfection, and it would still be just too much stuff. If you didn't have emotional problems already, you're gonna get some dealing with the avalanche.

In the second case, traditional etiquette doesn't work because traditional etiquette comes from a world of material scarcity and unrestrained fertility. Like pi has been saying, your only option may be treating repeat offenders like 3yos. And it sounds like in her case, her relatives were just being clueless. Mine were being kind of malicious. They liked causing me trouble, they thought it was funny. As I've written on another thread on this issue, giftgiving is a perfect vehicle for messing with people, because if you have a problem with it, everyone else is primed to think that the problem is with you.
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#246 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The other issue is where you have an inverted pyramid extended family, with a ton of relatives giving to a small number of children. In this case, the type of gifts doesn't really matter, everyone could switch to giving beautiful fairtrade wood magical perfection, and it would still be just too much stuff. If you didn't have emotional problems already, you're gonna get some dealing with the avalanche.
Yes! That is a great way to put it
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#247 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I never said that it wasn't wrong. You can't control or change other people. But you can change how you deal with them. You can remove your family from them. Yes, there will be repercussions and consequences. Only the parents can decide if their decision is worth that. But if they chose to continue the 3 event holiday and their child's meltdowns, then they need to realize that they are responsible for their part in it.
I will say it for at least the fifth time in this thread.....going to the events or not has zero impact on the volume of gifts. The gifts come to us if we do not go to them. There is no escaping the gifting in my situation.

And before anyone tells me to just get rid of the gifts before my dd sees them, I consider that lying, deceptive, and potentially very harmful to the bonds between my dd and her well-meaning and loving, but clueless relatives. Not to mention, she can READ the packages as well as I can and would know what was going on.

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Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
In the long run, my child's well-being is more important than the feelings of the extended family.
This is true for us as well, which is why I am trying to find a way to deal with it. And it has (and will again in the future) include being so "rude" as to try to discuss it with family.
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#248 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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I haven't finished reading the whole thread, but this struck me:

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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
a bit OT from this thread (which I find interesting, so thanks for starting it) but I am getting a bit uneasy about giving gifts to young children at all! I mean, now I worry that it will be too plastic-y, too girly, princess-y, not environmentally friendly enough, something they already have, too commercialized/character related, too conforming/encouraging, not imaginative enough, too expensive, too cheap, MIC, and so on....
This is what all the hand wringing over gifts and dismissal of etiquette as a code for organizing behavior has brought us, we can't even give gifts in good conscience!

Fortunately, etiquette has some insight on this, if we haven't completely rejected it out of hand: we have no say in what gifts others get us. No say to demand, refuse (there's an exception here, and that's a snub, only to be inflicted on people you are cutting out of your life), or dictate the sort of gifts. This means that the gifts we receive don't reflect on us. If the gift you receive isn't up to your environmental standards, it still doesn't reflect on you, you didn't buy it, and now the question is simply how you'll dispose of it. If you chuck it, that is your responsibility, and it's wasteful, but donating it and even using it yourself aren't.

At any rate, I find it awfully sad that we're debating a universal human gesture of love, respect, and/or appreciation, and I don't even give many gifts.

Pagan Quaker maman of two.
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#249 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 02:58 PM
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At any rate, I find it awfully sad that we're debating a universal human gesture of love, respect, and/or appreciation, and I don't even give many gifts.
I think your disconnect here is that you are missing the difference between the ideal ("a universal human gesture of love, respect, and/or appreciation") and reality, which is that gift-giving, in many families and also in many cultures, is a complicated social contract.

If your experience of gifts (giving and receiving) has consistently been string-free, congratulations!! That's truly wonderful for you. Your experience, however, is not representative of everyone's experience.

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#250 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 03:00 PM
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There are two separate issues and they get conflated.

One issue is where there is consistent thoughtless giving, but it's on a small scale. In those cases, yes, the recipient's rudeness is not going to fix the giver's thoughtlessness. It's not a big deal unless there are emotional problems at play.

The other issue is where you have an inverted pyramid extended family, with a ton of relatives giving to a small number of children. In this case, the type of gifts doesn't really matter, everyone could switch to giving beautiful fairtrade wood magical perfection, and it would still be just too much stuff. If you didn't have emotional problems already, you're gonna get some dealing with the avalanche.

In the second case, traditional etiquette doesn't work because traditional etiquette comes from a world of material scarcity and unrestrained fertility. Like pi has been saying, your only option may be treating repeat offenders like 3yos. And it sounds like in her case, her relatives were just being clueless. Mine were being kind of malicious. They liked causing me trouble, they thought it was funny. As I've written on another thread on this issue, giftgiving is a perfect vehicle for messing with people, because if you have a problem with it, everyone else is primed to think that the problem is with you.
Exactly.

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#251 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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Maybe we should start a thread for people to tell their horrible excessive giftgiving stories - like mine about having to pay for extra trash collection one year because of the amount of packaging I needed to get rid of, or the year I had the choice between using my chronically ill body to push a cart full of toys to the Goodwill or continuing to trip over them because there simply was no room for them in the apartment.

I think people really need to hear that YES, THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM AND IT IS NOT YOU. And people who don't get it seriously need to just back off. Not everyone has a car to take stuff to Goodwill, or the time in their schedule to do so, or emotionally healthy untraumatized children for whom giving stuff away is a relatively uncomplicated matter, or landlords who don't mind a big pile of uncollected trash sitting in the easement, a culture in which giftgiving works the way it does in Miss Mannersland, etc etc etc.

Yes, our culture is sick. People are addicted to buying stuff. When you interfere with their addiction, their behavior is unpredictable and often extremely negative. This is an addiction that huge parts of our society are based around, so there are really effective social control methods that make trying to deal with this incredibly difficult, especially the awesome ones on display in this thread where someone makes the person who is trying to get sane and healthy look like the crazy one.
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#252 of 255 Old 12-06-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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Yooper, thank you for starting and maintaining such an interesting discussion thread. It's a topic I've pondered more over the years, following the births of our daughters. We, too, try to lead a sustainable lifestyle and simplify.

I feel many similar concerns to yours, I've only made it through page 8 at this point so am not going to participate in the conversation as a whole yet but do want to note that, from an anthropological context (my training) - gift giving and gift receiving are activities which are very fundamental to every culture. Which means that delving into these issues (and questioning them) can feel very threatening, thus the many obstacles cultures build around discussions of gifts.

The discussion thus far has been fascinating and thought-provoking, and exemplifies the reason that I spend Too Much Time on MDC!

Not all who wander are lost.
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#253 of 255 Old 12-07-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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OK, I'm through reading.

Yooper - on a concrete, personal level, I would recommend that you DO figure out who will be most receptive and approachable within your extended family, and begin discussing this and other issues with them. Because this can become bigger than gift-giving, as your dd grows up. The description you share reminds me SO MUCH of a dear friend of dh's and mine from our college years - she is the only grandchild (and great-grandchild, and niece) on both sides of her family. It has had a tremendous effect on her both for good and ill. Among other things, she knows that she is the support system for her aging parents and aunt who are caring for her aging grandmothers; and that she will in turn be THE caregiver for her aging parents and aunt. Her extended family has been a blessing for her; but there is a tremendous burden in it as well. I know that it's impacted her career, where she has chosen to live, and relationships she's had as well.

Helping the extended family learn how to healthily interact with their beloved grandchild/greatniece/etc. will be really important in ensuring that she has a healthy adulthood.

How to accomplish that (because honestly I think that my friend's parents tried!) will be difficult, and I don't know what will work best, but it's important. If you can come up with some lifelong friendship opportunities for her, too, that is good too. I know that our friendship has helped our friend balance some of her responsibilities with her family ....

I know every one of A's relatives love her dearly and want what is the best for her. But they don't all agree on what's best; and they all want their special time with her; and it's difficult for them to recognize the impact (there's so much guilt tied into this at times for her and for them too). When so many adults love one person so much - each one thinks that their one little gift, or one little X or Y, isn't *that* much in the end, but it all adds up.

More later, I have a riot on my end.

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#254 of 255 Old 12-07-2009, 08:34 PM
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Ds just received a party invitation from a classmate that states, "No gifts, please." I'm thrilled to comply.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#255 of 255 Old 12-07-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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My 11 year old girls scout troop really wanted to do a gift exchange this year because it's fun to give and get gifts, yet they decided -- without any adult prompting -- that they all have too much stuff already. Their solution -- again without any adult prompting -- was to exhange something they already own but no longer really use. It had to be nice and it had to be fun, but it had to already be in their room,.

I thought it was great, and the girl scout leader thought it was brilliant, but some of the moms called to complain. They felt it was just too hard. They girls hadn't set a dollar amount. Some of them really couldn't figure out what to let their daughters take, and some didn't want to let their daughters take anything so asked how much they could spend and just get something new "because that's easier."

It was sooooo weird. It seemed like more evidence that our culture is a sick, and that's it's the adults and not the kids who are the problem!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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