Lavish birthday parties for kids: Where should parents draw the line?
“Even I want my birthday party at the clubhouse,” said my soon-to-be-five daughter Navya as we returned from a birthday party this Saturday
“Even I want my birthday party at the clubhouse,” said my soon-to-be-five daughter Navya as we returned from a birthday party this Saturday.
“But how would you contact the tattoo guy and the magician? Do you have their numbers, mummy?,” she chirped again after about five minutes.
Like all birthday parties these days, the party we attended over the weekend had all the required elements to make it a most-talked about affair in the society we live in. The theme of the birthday party was superheroes and so there was Spiderman (a little underweight though) in attendance and other kids who came dressed up as Superman, Iron Man etc. Tattoo corner, magician, selfie corner—there was everything in the party which was enough to excite four-year-olds and send them in a tizzy!
Dealing with the peer pressure bully
While we had a lot of fun at the party, the "little demands" made by my daughter made me think hard about the effect peer pressure can have on kids and how it can influence their thinking powers.
It suddenly dawned upon me that my little one has gradually started paying a lot of attention to what other kids of her age wore to the party, what toys they played with, what shoes they had on and how they celebrated their birthdays.
I also noted that such instances are becoming quite common in the last couple of months. A few days back after she came back from a fancy dress birthday party she wanted a blue dress "just like Elsa in Frozen".
Next thing she wanted was a "fancy play kitchen" similar to the one she saw at her friend’s house and the other time she wanted a "shiny scooter". While these are small things and ones that can be bought easily, the question is as parents where do you draw the line?
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For me birthday parties have always been a small affair, with only close family members and my daughter's friends in attendance. But now that my daughter is reaching the 5-year-old mark, I wonder how much would I be able to shield her from peer pressure and other influences.
The other thing that worries me is the show business that is associated with birthday parties these days. And that's definitely not for the kids, as one and two-year-olds hardly remember how their first birthday was celebrated! Don't you agree?
For us birthday parties were all about having fun with friends and then gorging on mummy ke banaaye chhole bhature, samosa, jalebi and other home-cooked delicacies. Today simple birthday parties have morphed into lavish carnivals. The more goodies/attractions you have, the better you score on the party meter. And, I don’t even want to talk about the expensive return gifts! From personalised mugs to photo frames to branded bags and Barbies, the vicious cycle just doesn't stop!
While it is again a matter of personal choice and I don’t want to give any moral lectures here, we as parents must always remember that we set the biggest examples for our kids. They watch our every move, (yes, really!) and follow us blindly. So we have to be extra careful and mindful about the way we present things to them.
But, there is one thing we all can do. While it is okay to celebrate birthday parties, never let your child forget that a kiss and a hug is all you would need later on in life when you grow up. Also, tell them about the importance of true, loyal friends that stay with them through thick and thin. That’s all that matters in life, right?
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