“My kids are spoiled to the bone.”

Linda, 51, didn’t celebrate last Christmas with her children. They preferred to go skiing – as a Christmas gift Linda and her former classmate were allowed to pay. “I wanted to give my daughter and son a happy childhood, but I raised them to be spoiled little ones.”

Linda: “I only opened my eyes when my daughter Lara was 13, more than nine years ago. For months she was whining about a robotic pet, by the time the December hit was in between children’s games. I had just divorced, and finances were Less rosy than Lara and her brother that Ramon used to.Also I thought it was too old for the game.She just finished high school.I found something similar at the wholesaler.By a different brand and much cheaper.At first Lara was overjoyed when I unpacked it eve Christmas. Until her younger nephew showed up with the real robot dog during the family’s Christmas dinner the next day. Envious Lara was thrown into the corner, whereupon her father – who still celebrated Christmas with us – very embarrassed asked for the required version. I was shocked and saw how it was even more A normal thing in the world for him and Lara. I played with her three times in the following weeks, and then she disappeared to the bottom of the trash can. And I know: no matter how kind and sympathetic they are, we raised them to be spoiled and soft babies.”

Luxurious lifestyle

“It was a conscious choice at first for Sitz and my ex-wife to spoil our children. We grew up very poor. In happy families, but with no room for extras like holidays, Christmas gifts, or birthdays. When Sitz and I married, we were well off financially.” We both worked full time, earned well above average earnings and lived accordingly. We traveled far, went out to dinner every week, bought whatever we liked. Sometimes our parents were disapproving of it, but in the meantime they enjoyed our luxuries just as much. We gave in ​My dad once got a wireless audio system for his birthday, and Seitz’s mom got a new TV. We booked weekends away for our parents to celebrate their wedding anniversary, and if one of their phones broke, we arranged for a new one. It was possible, so why leave it?
The fact that we have children has changed a bit in that regard. At most, our trips have become different, kid-friendly rather than adventurous. Four-course dinners at restaurants became sundaes at the zoo with McDonald’s and with Sinterklaas, children could feel free to put a console in their shoes – with the comment that Sinterklaas had no money left to leave something by the fireplace four times a week. Lara and Ramon didn’t know any better, this way of life was natural for them. And we gladly gave it to them, we had enough to lose as children. Sitzy and I regularly tell the kids, “It’s okay to be spoiled, but once you start acting spoiled, it stops.” We mentioned that most other children have less luxury at home, and that having a lot of money is not an axiom; You had to learn and work hard for it, and even then it was a matter of luck. Lara and Ramon obediently nodded to our speeches, knowing that the countless Lego castle or the electric racetrack were waiting for them next. They always let other children play with it; Thank God they were generous in distributing what needed to be shared.”

pamper

“Honestly, those sermons were mainly meant to ease our conscience. Because Seitz and I could have chosen to raise our children less sleazy. Being able to pay a lot doesn’t mean you really have to buy a lot; our lives could have been many times more sober. Maybe.” Our children didn’t notice the difference, because it would be so natural to them—our love never was more or less. Sytze and I found it comforting above all else. Giving our children what their heart desires meant less hassle, and we ourselves didn’t feel like compromising our luxurious lifestyle.
Now I’m on pimples. Because when things had to scale back a bit after my divorce, ten years ago, Lara and Ramon felt like I was taking something away from them. Life was more luxurious with their father, and because they were only there every two weeks, they could do more. He contributed to them with child support, but for me, that largely went into things like rent, new baby clothes and school fees, rather than evenings at the cinema and whole afternoons at the trampoline park for tens of euros – the life they’re used to on the goods. I made up for pampering. I thought as long as you gave them enough love, it didn’t matter. So I rarely sell them no, respect them in chores, and regularly cross my boundaries. If I wanted to drive them to school in bad weather? good. An authorized absence notice when my daughter doesn’t feel like a gym? Honey is fine. Almost every day there was a gentle raid on our house, and everyone was always allowed to eat and stay. Even when I was tired on Friday evening after a week’s work, I was restless and tidy, and would rather loung on the sofa, rather than among the gang of chained teenagers who took over the house.”

Nothing to beat it

“Fortunately, Lara has taken on more responsibility as she’s gotten older. By the age of 14, she’s had all kinds of babysitting titles and her school grades are impressive. Not that she intends to pay more with her self-earned money. Gifts for girlfriends or for her dad For her birthday, a new belt to match the pants she so desperately needed; I could count on her puppy look and willingly pull out my wallet. My eyes were deliberately blinked by the endless debit card payments at fast food chains and the countless makeup store.
Ramon had more problems with the new situation. He found it inconvenient to be away from home so often because I had to work more and was disappointed when pants were too expensive for me. Not that they had to give up like that. In practice, their father usually fed them when there were no little raises for me. Our bond was, and still is, excellent. But in the meantime, my ex and I watched wistfully that our buds had learned a bit less from our upbringing than we had imagined. Sure, they are genuine, sympathetic guys with their hearts in the right place. But they are spoiled to the bone. Ramon changed courses three times, partly at our expense, before he came to the conclusion that he’d rather just go to work. Four days a week, because he also needed “time to himself.” Don’t struggle for fifty hours to start your career, but “live after your heart” and “don’t work by a corrupt system,” that’s what he wants. Something I totally agree with, if you can bear it. But now my ex-wife and I are paying for him, because on his money’s end he always had a month left – and that must be taken up without prejudice. Our children don’t have driver’s licenses, because after they both failed theory exams three times at our expense, Seitz and I decided this would be a life lesson they could pay for themselves.”

He also cares

“20 and 22 they are now. My daughter recently moved in with her boyfriend, and most of their belongings come from Sytze’s wallets and me. It’s your duty as parents, we think, and we’re happy to do it. But in the meantime, Lara and her lover are traveling the world.”
My son recently moved in with his dad full time. He couldn’t afford to cook and contribute to the housework one night a week in addition to his four-day job, as I asked him to. Nothing unless he lived alone, but the master thought it was a bit of trouble. At his father’s house, his new stepmother does laundry and freezes meals for her when he comes home after a night out with his friends who have gotten “hungry”. Meanwhile, Sitzy and I haven’t gotten a gift from our kids for our birthdays in years. The coupons they hastily collected for me the same day, good for an evening at the cinema or a day in the sauna, are stacked in a drawer, and not yet cashed.”

Love is letting go

“Strangely enough, I call our band Intimate. Because no matter how damaged my kids are with material things, they care, too. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, it was Lara and Ramon who stood by me day and night. Ramon updated my home by painting it top-to-bottom Down, Lara cooking my friends and texting my friends daily to let everyone know I’m recovering.Strangers run away with them.
And yes, it is our fault that our children are spoiled. However, I was equally hurt when my kids announced that they’d rather trade their gifts for a ski trip without us this Christmas. Sitezi and I showed it to them ourselves. During Friendsgiving, it’s our own variant of the American Thanksgiving that we still celebrate together as a family—even though we’re divorced—thanks to my grandmother’s California roots, my ex-wife gave it to our kids themselves. The idea was actually for the four of us to go around. A heartwarming finale to the bad medical period behind me. But Lara and Ramon took it as a license to skate for free without us – and who are we to argue?
Until Christmas without my kids. Fortunately, I got an invitation from friends. And love leaves. And because of my illness, I know they are there for us even when we don’t ask. However, I would like to put some pepper between my buttocks retrospectively. Until they learn to value money a little better and realize that sometimes perseverance and not relying on someone else is the only way to get something done. I’m sure it will be fine, eventually most adults know how to keep their clothes on. With a bit of luck, they’ll take us for a ride sometime, when they realize how happy they are with us.”

Text: Jorind Banner.
For privacy reasons, all names have been changed, and the real names are known to the editors.
Photo: Getty Images.

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