Just Because You Can Buy Your Child A $21K Jungle Gym Doesn't Mean You Should

CNN reports that New Yorker Stephanie Kaster threw her daughter a birthday party recently. The celebration was held at a fondue restaurant and Kaster hired a musical troupe to perform as the Wiggles. There was a four-layer cake and each guest took home a Fisher-Price guitar and a custom CD. The party's price tag? $5,000. Stephanie's daughter was turning 3. The Coach-themed cake pictured at left was created for a 10-year-old's birthday party. Price? $1,500. Meanwhile, there's the appealing/appalling MTV show My Super Sweet 16 and that $10 million bat mitzvah on Long Island. Oh, and magazines like Baby Couture.

Last year, a group of parents in Minnesota started BirthdaysWithoutPressure.org to promote simpler celebrations for kids. But why keep it simple when you can spend, spend, spend? As a commenter posted on this site recently: "Why are people such haters? Maybe because they are jealous they can't afford such things?"

I have a Mutsy stroller, yes it cost $759, but I also donate money to children who don't have books to read, to animal shelters and various other charities. I'm not a monster, as you seem to think that people who spend a lot of money on their children are.

I spend time and money on my baby and I love the clothing and furniture presented in this magazine(yes, I like nice clothing and NO, i don't shop at Babies-R-Us), but who are you to judge me based on that? Do I ridicule you for your children dressed in low-end clothes? Maybe I should and then I'd be on your level.

Wow. I don't have kids and I am certainly not rich, but bear with me here: There are several problems with lavishing extravagances on your child. For starters, it's a waste . It doesn't matter how much you give to charity. In my opinion, purchasing $105 Hogan sneakers for an infant is neither fiscally nor morally responsible. You're buying into the blind consumer culture that is becoming this nation's downfall. A high price tag and a brand name don't necessarily make one product better than another, but millions of tween girls would rather have Juicy on their asses than Old Navy, say, or Champion. How can kids who have $1,000 birthday cakes possibly know the value of a dollar? Can a child who has always gotten everything she wanted be trusted to treat those who aren't in the world to serve her with respect? (See: Hilton, Paris) Even if you feel that money is no object, is that a lesson to teach a child? Listen: We can all agree that every parent wants to provide a wonderful life for their kid. But isn't there a line somewhere? How do you know when you've crossed it?

$10,000 For Child's Birthday Party? [CNN]

Related:Parenting Author, Childless Woman Weigh In On Baby Couture
Earlier: Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes