PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or Only Children

14/10/2010 11:22 | Updated 22 May 2015

There are often concerns about only children. Will they will grow up egotistical, thoughtless, unable to fit into civilised society? Outcasts? Persona non Grata? Apparently Frank Sinatra was an only child and we all know he did it....his way. That's pretty self-centred if you ask me!

Okay, I exaggerate. But I do worry about the psychological effects of a sibling free upbringing. The consequence is an über obsession with sharing. Whatever Finje has, she is asked to share it, bless her.

I realised I could be taking things too far when I asked her to share a gummi bear. She looked at me as though I'd just denied the existence of Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and she had every right to.

I left her to enjoy the full bear in peace and pondered, not for the first time, my parenting methods. Asking her to share a sweet the size of a garden pea was surely a step too far. My tactics clearly required some tweaking.

The next day assistance came in the form of a flyer. It dropped onto the doormat like a neatly folded Marjorie Proops.

The slogan was "Christmas in a Box". The idea being that we in the West, affluent and well-heeled, recognise the situation that still exists in the (former) East. Many families there are still struggling and their kids will not be receiving PlayStation or XBoxes for Christmas (neither will mine but you get the point). So we are encouraged to send over a gift in a shoe box for those who otherwise have very little to look forward to at a time which should be magical and special for all.

I'm in. Of course I'm in, but the sweet smell of opportunity could not be ignored. After carefully explaining the concept I asked Finje if she would maybe like to send one of her toys over to a little girl or boy who doesn't have as many toys as her. I left her to think it over. This was the conversation that followed:

"I know what I can send to the poor children if Father Christmas doesn't find their house or runs out of presents" (I had to come up with something)

"OK, super."

"My paddling pool"

"Well how thoughtful and kind of you. I'm very proud"

"It has a hole in it . Then I can have a new one"

Back to the drawing board then.

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