Author Topic: When giving a child a gift  (Read 3210 times)

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AllTheThings

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When giving a child a gift
« on: December 29, 2012, 12:23:32 AM »
Here's a hypothetical situation:

Let's say you are giving a kid something like either a book, movie, or videogame. You are familiar with the content of the story, and as far as you can tell, there is nothing in it that is inappropriate for someone of their age or maturity level. Also, as far as you know, there is nothing in it that the parents would have a problem with. Nevertheless, some parents have problems with certain things that other parents may not care about at all, and some children may not be able to handle a concept that other kids their age can handle. People may not always make this kind of thing clear to others. This problem can be hard to avoid, as pretty much any story aimed at older children and teens that is worth reading/watching can possibly offend someone in the world. So which of the following things would you do just to make sure the gift is okay?

1. Give the gift to the parents beforehand so that they can review it before allowing it to be given to the kid.

2. Direct the parents to an information source about the story and the themes in it (like a website that reviews the story)

3. Just mention to them anything that jumped out at you as a possible issue (ex. "Just so you know, a character in the book gets drunk/dies/jaywalks

4. Don't do anything, just give the gift and if the parents want to review it before actually letting the kid have it, that is their business.

5. Something else?


Also, would the child's age affect you decision? I think it would for me, as I probably would just do choice 4 for a teenager.

I was also reminded today of when I was given a joke book at age 12. My mom read it, realized it was pretty explicit, and took it away, giving it back to me a year later. Of course the funny thing was that my mom had been the one to give me the book in the first place  :)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 12:45:09 AM by AllTheThings »

CakeEater

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 12:30:14 AM »
Number 4.

I wouldn't give anything I thought was remotely questionable, but in the event that a parent thought it was unsuitable, I'd let them sort it out.

mrkitty

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 12:49:00 AM »
I would second what CakeEater said; in addition, when choosing the gift, I would probably stick to the age guidelines the toymaker/publisher usually puts on the box (if in the U.S. I can't say how it is in other countries).

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Rohanna

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 12:50:40 AM »
I'd follow the manufacturer's/review board/google the recommended age for the item, and if it met those, give it. Unless I know that the family in question has restrictions beyond the norm, I assume the follow the norm- and leave the extra policing up to them. It's no different than the fact that some parents want only "organic/fair-trade/mentally-stimulating/bare-wood/montessori" toys for their kids- if I *know* that, I'll follow it- if not, I'll get them something that has "6-12 months" on the tag and call it good. 

I would  personally also aim towards "less controversial", given the choice, if it is a family/child I don't know well. I wouldn't get a book that many reviewers had issues with, or a toy that is commonly complained about (say, Bratz or  toy guns). Then again, I do that with adults I don't know well.
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MrsJWine

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 12:53:58 AM »
For my own kids, number four would be fine. My older child (4 years) is an anxious, fearful sort, so we're careful about what shows she gets to see. However, we're perfectly fine telling her that she has to wait until she's older to watch something. I'd be a little taken aback if someone bought her Die Hard for Christmas, but things that are appropriate for her general age group are perfectly acceptable, even if we do decide she has to mature a little bit before watching them.


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Utah

CakeEater

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 01:07:06 AM »
I came back to say that my kids have been given toys/books that were a bit advanced for their stage of development at times
(through misjudgement, nothing else) and I've just put them away for when they're a bit older. That's worked well for me so far. We haven't been given anything that I would put a blanket ban on, so I can't say what I'd do in that situation.

ClaireC79

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 05:59:21 AM »
Just let them have it, I would stick to age ratings and if I'd heard something was contraversial I'd avoid that, but otherwise it's up to the parent.

I did used to warn my now 12 year old if someone was going to die in a book (not tell her who) and let her chose if to read it or not - it did put her off one of the Harry Potter books for a year but she was 8 or 9 then, about a year or so later I realised that she'd read others with a character dying that I didn't know about and coped

Penguin_ar

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 07:55:09 AM »
Generally 4, unless I had reason to suspect the parents may not like it from the start- for example one of my sisters-in-laws does not like her boys to play computers games that involve shooting/ war etc, so even if her 15 year old asked for such a game, I'd run it by her first.

Sharnita

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 08:08:23 AM »
I think it would really depend on a case by case situation.  If there is something in it that word of mouth indicates at least some people/parents object to then I would mention what I was thinking before ever getting the gift. If there is a chance they wouldn't want their child to have itthen I don't see any point in buying it so having the conversatin after really makes no sense to me.

camlan

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 08:36:30 AM »
Mostly #4. I know the parents of the kids I'm close enough to give presents to, and have a fairly good idea of what they consider appropriate for their kids. Most of them screen movies before letting their kids watch them, so that's not a huge problem. I've got nieces and nephews who were scared by The Sound Of Music, so their parents watch pretty much everything before the kids do.

On the rare occasion when I've wanted to give a book but wasn't completely sure about all the content, I've asked the parents first and gone with their judgement.

My big problem is that sometimes I give the *parents* DVDs that aren't really appropriate for their kids. And then the parents let the kids watch them without previewing them, and the kids see something that their parents wish they hadn't. Then the parents start to get upset with me, until I remind them that the gift wasn't for the kids, but the adults in the house--who should have known better than to let an 8 year old watch something R rated without checking first. 
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Sharnita

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 09:11:28 AM »
Sometimes it can work the other way.  For example, there is a series of books that has become popular among the tween set but you are not a fan of the content.  You discuss kids interests with parents in an attempt to make sure you don't duplicate any gifts, etc.  Parent indicates primary interest/desire is said book.  Now while you don't want to tell them what they should let their kid read you also don't want to go so far as to personally endorse it by giving it as a gift.

baconsmom

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 11:31:36 AM »
I prefer #4. I have an 8-year-old. People generally ask what she likes, and I tell them, and beyond that, I prefer to use my own discretion, especially since our rules are a little different from the norm. (Example: I don't mind her hearing profanity or watching slightly more adult things, but she can't have Disney Princesses. We're weird.)

We always thank properly for a gift, and if it's not appropriate, I put it away until it is or donate it somewhere. For very close family (my parents and brothers), I might tell them for the future that a gift was inappropriate, so they don't keep getting her those things, but otherwise no one's the wiser.
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Winterlight

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 12:04:27 PM »
I'd follow the manufacturer's/review board/google the recommended age for the item, and if it met those, give it. Unless I know that the family in question has restrictions beyond the norm, I assume the follow the norm- and leave the extra policing up to them. It's no different than the fact that some parents want only "organic/fair-trade/mentally-stimulating/bare-wood/montessori" toys for their kids- if I *know* that, I'll follow it- if not, I'll get them something that has "6-12 months" on the tag and call it good. 

I would  personally also aim towards "less controversial", given the choice, if it is a family/child I don't know well. I wouldn't get a book that many reviewers had issues with, or a toy that is commonly complained about (say, Bratz or  toy guns). Then again, I do that with adults I don't know well.

This. If I know that the parents dislike Disney, or don't permit weapons or whatever, I'll stick to their rules. Otherwise, I'd make a judgement call.
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loopyluna

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 12:12:45 PM »
Sometimes it can work the other way.  For example, there is a series of books that has become popular among the tween set but you are not a fan of the content.  You discuss kids interests with parents in an attempt to make sure you don't duplicate any gifts, etc.  Parent indicates primary interest/desire is said book.  Now while you don't want to tell them what they should let their kid read you also don't want to go so far as to personally endorse it by giving it as a gift.

If it's the book/s I'm thinking of, I wouldn't buy it. If the parents didn't give any other ideas, I'd give a book that I enjoyed at that age and that I thought gave a better message.

For the original question, I'd go with #4. If I'm close enough to a family to buy gifts for their children, I should already have a sense of what their boundaries are beyond the norm. If I wasn't sure, I'd either get something else or discuss it with the parents before buying. When I'm buying for children, I avoid controversial things and stay within the manufacturer's/publisher's age range unless I know the parents have different standards. If I know the parents have different standards, I'll adjust accordingly.

kherbert05

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Re: When giving a child a gift
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2012, 12:31:55 PM »
I always check with the parents. In my family we do that so we don't duplicate gifts. There are a couple of gifts that I won't give because I don't like the message or think they are overpriced. The parents don't have a problem with that.

The few times my ideas were vetoed, it was because the parent knew the toy didn't work as advertised. Usually because another kid in their circle had it and was disappointed.
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