PARENTS have been making the headlines recently. The singer/radio DJ Myleene Klass took to social media after receiving a ‘bonkers’ email suggesting she paid £10 towards a ‘kindle and a desk’ for two of her daughter’s schoolfriends’ birthdays.
However, Myleene’s ‘publicity stunt’ (the email reportedly sent over a year ago) seems to have backfired when she was confronted by angry mothers mortified at having their email correspondence publicised on Twitter, together with Myleene’s own joke reply (a ‘unicorn’ for her daughter’s birthday and a ‘Ferrari and Leonardo DiCaprio’ for her own).
Whatever you think about such donations, Myleene shared her personal experience with the entire nation, humiliating those involved.
Now, let’s face it, it’s not the kids at issue here, it’s the parents. Take, for instance, the parents of Alex Nash, five, who were invoiced for a £15.95 ‘child’s party, no show fee’ after he missed his classmate Charlie’s birthday party. Alex’s father subsequently found the invoice in his son’s schoolbag, went public and was threatened with court action if he didn’t pay up.
In neither of these cases was it necessary to publicise the issue the way they did. Why didn’t Alex’s parents simply discuss it with Charlie’s calmly and rationally?
Myleene may have changed all the names in her tweet, but everyone at her daughter Ava’s school will know who she was talking about. And it’s the children – Ava and Alex – who’ll suffer from their parents’ behaviour.
They’ll be the ones ignored in the play-ground, not invited to future parties. As for Myleene, a more grown-up approach would have been to buy the children gifts she thought appropriate, and make her views known privately to the offending parents.
But where are the innocent times, back in the day, when money wasn’t such a big deal for kids?
Now it’s all about money and ‘how much will I get?’ What happened to: just be grateful you got something? And what about: you don’t invite people so they give you something, but because you like them, want to spend time with them?
We shouldn’t begrudge today’s kids having all the latest gadgets and whatever. But in so doing they risk growing up, to misquote Oscar Wilde, knowing the price of every gadget under the sun and the value of nothing.
Nora Johnson’s thrillers Landscape of Lies, Retribution, Soul Stealer, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore.
Profits to Cudeca.