Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Children Are Not Trophies

I’m disturbed by the trend in which parents feel the need to show off their children as if they were trophies. I know a woman who actually took her newborn baby straight from the birthing hospital to a Mommy & Me class because she was so eager to place him on display! In the meantime, she ignored the safety of the child, who could have been exposed to dangerous cold and flu viruses at a very young age. Didn’t she realize that a newborn with a fever would be hospitalized? It hardly seems worth the risk of impressing a few friends and strangers.

Another woman I know would drag her three children into work with her at every possible opportunity. Then she would spend hours taking them around to every desk in the company, providing her coworkers the opportunity to ooh and aah over her children. Needless to say, she wasn’t getting much work done, and neither was anyone else! I soon took to closing my office door at the sight of her and her children. I felt bad for those coworkers who didn’t have the luxury of an office door.

Since when are children trophies? Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children, and I’m very proud of them. I beam just as much as the next parent when someone fawns over them. But there are appropriate times and places for sharing our children with others. Risking their health as newborns is definitely the wrong time. And showing them off at the workplace more than once or twice a year is definitely the wrong place. Flaunting our precious possessions—whether they be diamonds or children—is always in bad taste. Consideration of others is always in style.

Susan M. Heim is the author of Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year; It's Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence; and Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples, and Singletons.


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