SmackDown: Should Parents Give Gifts to Adult Children?
Unwrapping Never Gets Old ... Even As I Doby Amanda Feinberg
I love receiving gifts. Who doesn't?
But when it comes to opening a gift from one's parents, well, that's just the crème de la crème of gift-getting. They just give better, don't they?
As a young woman in my 20s, I have come to rely on my parents for much more than just annual birthday gifts or wrapped boxes on holiday mornings. But I really can't think of anything more exciting than receiving a gift from the two people who love me the most -- my mom and dad.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is from Chanukah, circa 1995. Gwen Stefani's band, No Doubt, had just released its breakthrough CD, "Tragic Kingdom," and I will never forget seeing the thin, square outline of a compact disc beneath the blue and silver wrapping paper lying on our kitchen table.
Upon unwrapping, I instantly squealed. It was the CD I had hoped for! My mother knew exactly what I wanted and that, in and of itself, was the most valuable gift I could have received that year.
Unfortunately, as my age has increased, the number of gifts I've received since my teenage years has dwindled. As a young adult in my 20s, earning a relatively small income, I look forward to any opportunity for my parents to treat me to that special item I cannot afford myself. A digital camera? A new pair of shoes? Maybe an iPod? What about that bracelet I've been eying online? Remember, Mom, the one I e-mailed to you twice (or three times or four)?
Gifts are in the eye of the beholder. Big, small, "good" or "bad," there is no way to measure what makes a gift exciting. But receiving a gift means my preferences have been monitored, and my desires recognized. The act of unwrapping any gift makes a child feel special, whether that person is 5, 25 or 55.
Sure, I have my set of online wish lists (bless you, Amazon), but a gift is much more than the object alone. It's the thought behind that gift that makes the item really count. The approval and attention parents bestow upon their children means a great deal, and gifts are a way of expressing the excitement and gratefulness a parent feels for a child on birthdays, holidays and other important events.
Just because I've reached some semblance of adulthood doesn't mean gift giving has to go out the window. By the way, my birthday is June 22. Presents happily accepted.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.