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Ban bonus birthdays for spoilt kids

Prof slams parents who indulge little Johnny with gifts on siblings' big day

Published on January 21st 2014.


Ban bonus birthdays for spoilt kids
 

CHILDREN who get presents on their siblings'birthdays, because parents don't want them to feel left out are being set up for a life of disappointment, unfullfilment and shallow values.

So says writer, and broadcaster Geoff Beattie - more or less. 

The professor of psychology at Edge Hill University has joined the debate on bonus birthdays, which appear to be becoming the norm, if new research is to be believed. Just under half (45pc) of kids are having two or more "birthdays" a year because relatives buy them presents on their brother or sister’s birthdays, as well as their own.

The study of 2,000 parents by OnePoll also found that half of that number admitted they can’t bear the thought of one of their children feeling left out while their other youngster has the birthday limelight.

Habits

“I think this is ridiculous,” said the Prof. “Parents are under so much pressure as it is, but this is an opportunity for them to teach their children about how to deal with disappointments that will invariably come along later in life. It’s a bad idea to rely on material presents to soothe children because it encourages the wrong sorts of materialistic habits later in life. 

“Isn’t it better to teach children how to share emotionally and let them celebrate the fact that it’s their sibling’s birthday without any sort of gift? Instead they should be taught about the simple pleasures in life of seeing their brother or sister happy on their special day. Learning to appreciate the little things is so important and we shouldn’t be looking at material goods to make us happy.” 

Prof Beattie, who is known to audiences of Big Brother where he analyses nonverbal communication of contestants, also believes that the best things come to those who wait.

“A person's ability to delay gratification relates to other similar skills such as patience, impulse control, self-control and willpower, all of which are involved in self-regulation, which is necessary to meet demands of the environment. I believe that if children have the ability to work hard for rewards and delay gratification, it can predict future academic and social success.” 

Geoff BeattieGeoff BeattieHe added: "This latest study on buying extra presents for children shows that we are purchasing unnecessary items, which could ultimately be harming the environment. People seem to be ‘dissociated’ when it comes to the environment and understanding this state could be crucial to changing their behaviour for the better.”

Prof Beattie has also written a bestselling book explaining how to find happiness without the need for materialistic objects. If you don't want to buy it, instead spend 20 minutes standing in a lunchtime Primark queue with a lot of garments, before giving up, dumping them down and walking out of the store. Instant relief.

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SaladDazeJanuary 21st 2014.

Do bankers have bonus birthdays?

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