The Best Present You Can Get for Your Child

Maybe it’s just me…

But the best present you can get your children isn’t made by Nintendo, Sony, Dell or Apple.

It isn’t a phone.  It isn’t an IPOD.  It doesn’t come with a keyboard, game console or a remote control.

It is impossible to argue with the fact that our children are constantly targeted and bombarded by every commercial telling them they have to have this phone or laptop.  It seems as if every other commercial is trying to convince our children that they need to look like some celebrity seeking their 15 minutes of fame.

Now, I know how hard it is to shop for your children.  Just try and go out shopping and look for a pair of modestly cut, non-dorky jeans for your teenage daughter.  Mission….impossible.

A close friend of mine took his daughter out for her birthday.  He promised her a new pair of jeans.  He thought that a quick trip to the Mall would be just the ticket.

After the clerk with the nose ring lead them around the store peddling every “new” style,  his daughter modeled the 30th pair for him…. he finally gave in…and he bought her the pair that she saw on the “half-naked” billboard that was strategically place in front of the Mall.  He laid down his $105.00 for the jeans.   And his  job was completed. Right?…WRONG!!!!  What he didn’t realize is that his daughter would home from her first time wearing them and throw them in the corner of her room.  She would  say something about not “ever” wearing them again because they are out of style.

The lesson learned is this… we learn that the style that was in the front of the store a few minutes before when you entered the store is now “out” of style and the girl with the nose ring is frantically putting up the latest and greatest style for you to purchase before you leave the store.

It is no different with the IPODS, cell phones and lap top computers.  They are constantly bombarding our children to have the newest gadget.  Before you walk out of the store it too is out of outdated and “not cool”.

It seems to me that we have forgotten the difference between “needs” and “wants”.

Are you not bothered that Lady GA GA ( if you have a teenage daughter (or son) and you don’t know who this is…stop here and do a search and Google her)  and others are setting the standard for which your daughter dresses and behaves?

We have become a society that completely revolves around sex.  Sex sells magazines;  sex gets ratings;  sex sells products on billboards, on the internet, and on television.  If fact, you probably re-read the last sentence twice because I used the word “sex” multiple times.  Make no mistake about it…we are in a battle for our family and our children.  The innocence of your young child will be taken away  much too early if you are not on the watch for the influences that they are exposed to.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions?  Does your child REALLY need a cell phone?  Do they REALLY need a computer in their room? I have personally watched children as young as 8 have their own phone.  Where in the world could an eight year old girl be alone that she would need a phone to get a hold of her parents?  I actually asked a parent why they felt the need to need to give their 12 year old daughter a phone.  The response was, “So I know where she is at?”  My response…”As a parent, you better know where your 12 year daughter is, cell phone or not!”

Cell phones have become almost as important to American teens as the clothes they wear, according to a nationwide survey of teenagers released last week.

The wireless trade association CTIA and Harris Interactive surveyed some 2,000 teens across the country and learned that teens feel that cell phones have become a vital part of their identities. They also believe that they can gauge a peer’s popularity or status by the phone he or she uses.

Adolescents represent an important demographic for cell phone makers and mobile operators as cell phones have become an integral part of teens’ lives. About four out of every five teens carry a cell phone. This is up from 40 percent of teens owning a cell phone in 2004. And almost half of the teens surveyed today say that having a cell phone is “key” to their social lives.

Seriously!!  Have we as parents completely lost our minds?  Are we so self consumed that we allow the cell phone,  the TV, game system or computer to babysit our children?  Do we really need a cell phone to keep tabs on “where” our children are?

Maybe it just me… but how about thinking about the following…

  • Take the time to create an environment for our children where they aren’t influenced negatively by every thing they see.
  • How about spending time with your child watching the programs they watch.  Have you done that?  Don’t be fooled into thinking that everything that plays on Nickelodeon, Disney or ABC Family is OK for your child to watch.
  • What time is “family time” in your home?  If you don’t have one…maybe it’s time.
  • How about moving the computer into the family room where everyone sees what is on the screen.
  • Limit the time they are on the computer and TV each day.
  • Buy a good “Net Nanny” (a program that tracks where your child goes on the internet).  I will bet you will be shocked.
  • Get rid of the Cell Phone.  Have one for your child to use once they are driving (only to be used in case of an emergency) or for special circumstances.
  • If they have a cell phone when is the last time you checked both the photo album and video storage on the phone for inappropriate content.
  • Ensure that teens are not using the phone while they drive by checking their phone log to see if they used the phone during the driving period.
  • Limit the number of outgoing text messages for the teen’s phone.
  • Create ground rules to the cell phone usage. Include parameters for the video, text, and camera components.
  • Contact the cell phone provider to find out about current parental features to monitor and track cell phone usage.

Now… before you say I am out of touch or just too strict about these issues.  All I can say is that I am speaking from personal experience and I have learned the hard way.   I have raised three children and another is still at home.  They have brought me great joy and they have also disappointed me as well.  And I am sure, I have disappointed them at times in their life.  But I have learned from some of my mistakes in raising children, I only hope to help them raise their children (my grandchildren) in a better way.

The last stronghold is the home…isn’t it time that we as parents take time to protect it? Our homes and more importantly our families are under siege…take it back and keep your children innocent and protected as long as you can.  The cold, harsh reality of this world will taint them soon enough.


What I have learned is that the best present you can get your child isn’t very expensive at all.

It isn’t a cell phone, computer, game system or Ipod.

It’s…you.

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