Parents fuelling 'must have' culture

Candy Bellinger

We'd all like to think that providing for our children makes us good parents but according to a leading headmaster, the "must have" culture is being fuelled by parents all too ready to buy the latest gadgets and toys for their children.

Range of gadgets
Range of gadgets

  1. Parents

  2. Parenting

  3. Children

  4. Computer games

  5. Middle class

  6. Family

  7. Televisions

  8. Toys

  9. Learning

  10. Teachers

Graham Gorton, chairman of the Independent Schools Association, said that many mums and dads believe they are "failing as parents" if they do not provide the computer games, TVs and pricey gifts.

As well as keeping them occupied in the home, Mr Gorton says that many feel pressured to enrol the kids in "every conceivable club or after school activity that is available", often at the expense of valuable family time.

His comments reflect those of a teachers' leader who claimed recently that middle-class parents who spoil their kids are responsible for a rise in bad behaviour amongst youngsters.

Speaking at the association's annual conference, Mr Gorton said: "Over recent decades we seem to have created a 'must have' culture amongst our young people.

"Many see that they may be perceived to be failing as parents if they do not ensure that their children have the latest gadgets and electronic devices along with their peers."

And Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, would tend to agree. According to The Telegraph, she said earlier this year: "Often it's the well-off middle classes that buy off their children through the computer and the TV.

"That then isolates them within the home, and then they're surprised when their child isn't coming to school ready to learn."

But since most parents, middle-class or not, are both working and return home stressed and tired, is it any wonder that the kids are holed up in front of the TV or video game?

What do you think? Are parents to blame for the "must have" culture amongst Britain's kids?