Yes, the unsavoury phenomena of “keeping up with the Joneses” has already started to rear its ugly head at my daughter’s kindergarten, and we Mothers have become accomplices.
At the age of 4-5, my daughter (and indeed her classmates) has become increasingly aware of what her friends have, prompting the need for her to have whatever it is too.
Take Rose, for instance, her classmate who is obviously over-indulged by her parents. She comes to school in a new outfit nearly every day, and her toy collection at home could rival Hamleys. N tells me that Rose does not have a strict bedtime (she can sleep anytime she wants, which is usually at 1 am with her Mother) and can have new toys any day of the week. The unfairness of it all!!
To a child’s eyes, Rose has hit the jackpot, but to us Moms (well, maybe not Rose), its a clear sign for the road to Veruca-ville. So every week, theres something N wants that one of her friends have got, or worse, a slighty envious comparison on how so-and-so’s bedroom/kitchen…house is bigger than ours. Luckily, even if we have a tiny flat in town, we have a massive garden at our beach property, so N takes pride in that.
I just cant help but feel somewhat scared of this burgeoning materialism at such young age. Kids nowadays have too many things, and its the fault of us parents for buying them for whatever reason – guilt? making up for what we may have lacked as kids? or maybe we’re also keepiing up with the Joneses?