Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dealing with the jealousy

This awkwardness with my father has me thinking a lot about generosity with kids.

Once you have more than one kid doing something spontaneous and special becomes awkward or impossible.

Shortly after Carl moved out I decided that Brian and Andrew really needed carrying cases for their gameboys, games, and cords. I took them to a store and told them to pick one out. There were surprised and grateful. I do not normally buy them things unless it is their birthday or Christmas. They know that everything else they must buy with their allowance. Only I really wanted them to have the cases in order to contain the mess.

I knew at the time that if Carl had still been living with us I would not have been able to do it. Carl did not need a case. He would have felt badly that I was getting something for Andrew and Brian and would have thought that I should buy something for him of comparable value. But then the boys would have been jealous that Carl got to pick something out and there would be other things that they would want more than these cases that cost about the same. Why couldn't they just pick out what they wanted?

I remember when I was a kid my mother bought my sister an inexpensive plastic ball at the grocery store. I pouted.

How many times do I not do something spontaneous and generous for one kid because it would make the other ones feel badly? (Brian at seven got this. He said that his friend was lucky because he was an only child and his mother bought him stuff all the time. "But you can't do that because if you did the other kids would say, 'What do I get. What do I get.'" He was very thoughtful when he said this, like he was working out a puzzle. He continued, "But I think it is better to have brothers."

Hubby says we should mention it to Grandpa; and I guess we will. On one hand I do want my kids to be able to rejoice in the others' good fortune without overwhelming jealousy...but Grandpa buying one a $300 present and not offering anything at all to the others is a little much. Especially for Evan. Grandpa does not have to spend anything like the same amount of money on the older boys, but it would make everyone feel better (including Brian who is happy but also embarrassed and awkward around the other two) if he did SOMEthing.

Clearly it is bothering me too. It is just a whole childhood of bad memories.

At least he is not mean, just oblivious.

1 comment:

  1. I go through that all the time here. It's so hard to make things come even.

    Was it you that said something like things might not come out even but I'll always be fair?

    I know one of my friends did.


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