Back in 2001, life was a lot more simple for 5-year-old me. My sources of entertainment were my toys, my tricycle and for most part, “Tom and Jerry.” There existed no concept of playing Candy Crush on the iPad — I would instead keep myself occupied with my storybooks. Now, there has been a drastic change in lifestyle. At least for several kids in New York.
NYC parents are willing to dish out thousands of dollars on over-the-top services to keep their precious tots happy and satisfied. Luxury-travel writer Kim-Marie Evans employed a “playdate valet” to accompany her 9-year-old around the city. The service came with a personal chauffeur and an extravagant SUV. Young Keaton Evans was picked up from his classes by his private butler, and was even offered snacks on a silver tray. Jeez, I was always picked up from kindergarten by one of my parents or my brother, and we would enjoy the walk back home. Every time I wanted to indulge in an after-school juice box, I would pick one out of the fridge myself. We certainly weren’t involved in any of these affluent shenanigans. The luxury services do not end here. Parents sometimes spend upwards of $7,500 to hire zoologists to conduct “educational safaris,” and even call on dolled-up fairies to read their children bedtime stories. For $350 an hour, I would be more than willing to put on a tutu and receive some pampered child’s gratification.
It’s nice that all these parents want to keep their offspring’s memory of childhood a wonderful one, but what are the consequences of such luxuries? Kim-Marie Evans complains that her child now wonders “why they’re riding the subway and not having a guy in a tuxedo picking him up.” Shocker. Experiencing opulence this early on is bound to create a specific mindset for these impressionable kids. I mean, we can all recall the difficulty in adjusting to our dorm beds after having spent an entire summer cuddling up with Netflix in the luxury of our soft, fluffy beds back home. Who wants to go back to living the life of a “pauper” — How dare we travel using the subway?! — after having been chauffeured around in a Yukon Denali? Furthermore, intimate activities such as reading a bedtime story are best left to the parents or siblings. My memories of my mother reading me “The Berenstain Bears” are some of my fondest ones; it definitely creates a stronger bond, giving the child the ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings to their parents. Outsourcing something that literally takes 15 minutes of your day seems unnecessary. Your child will experience a similar or greater amount of joy by spending that time with you.
Libertarianism preaches the freedom of individual will, and these parents can by all means spend their money as they please. But if they do, they lose the right to complain when their child turns into a spoilt brat. All actions have results, and it is likely that when these children have to revert back to “normal” life, their parents are going to have to deal with a lot of ridiculous demands. I just think it’s easier to take time out of the day specifically for quality time with your kid. It has a more beneficial, lasting impact.