July, 2019

Sunday explainer – should I buy my kids more stuff?

Generous to a fault? It’s possible to give too much. Photo: SuppliedA young child surrounded in wrapping paper, endorphin-drunk. Boxes abound – some opened, some cast aside. Weeks of anticipation have all come to this wondrous moment. It’s Christmas morning, and you’re ruining your child.
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Every parent wants to give their child their dream Christmas – the one where they get everything they want. They are so cute, we love to see them happy in that moment. We are hardwired this way, but lots of academics think our wiring is wrong. What’s wrong with giving?

Nothing, really. The impulse to give is perfectly natural. In years gone by, it would have been an extravagant thing to do, to give a special something to the ones we love.

But we have a first-world problem: modern Australia’s relative wealth, combined with the trend for smaller families than would be normal for previous generations, means parents feel empowered to indulge their child’s every wish.

Children, raised in the same environment of relative wellbeing, have developed expectations far beyond their ancestors’ wildest fantasies.

“A lot of kids treat as normal what may have been a gift or a treat many years ago,” says Michael Grose, parenting educator and director of parentingideasclub南京夜网419论坛. “Past generations had grown up with scarcity, so if it’s Christmas or a birthday and then suddenly they get a treat they (would) think ‘oh that’s fantastic’.”

According to research by US marketing academic Marsha Richins​, parents who snap up every item on their childrens’ Christmas list may be raising materialistic adults.

“Our research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown –well into adulthood – and this could be problematic,” she said when unveiling the research last year.

The published report of the research says the repercussions are both personal and environmental.

“At the personal level, materialism in adulthood has been linked to reduced wellbeing, marital problems, and financial difficulties,” the report says. “The higher consumption levels of materialistic consumers contribute to greenhouse gas production and climate change, depletion of natural resources, and environmental pollution.”

The research highlighted three gift-giving habits that could lead to children becoming materialistic adults: Rewarding children with gifts when they have accomplished something;Giving gifts as a way to show affection, and;Punishing children by taking away their possessions.

Most parents reading this will have done one or all of these, probably before lunch, but it’s the second which is most relevant to Christmas giving.

Michael Grose, parenting educator and director of parentingideasclub南京夜网419论坛, said parents use gifts as a way to affirm their standing.

“We sort of associate gift giving with ‘I’m doing a good job as a parent’,” he says. “In the Great Depression, if your kid was alive you were doing a good job.” Won’t my kid go nuts?

Maybe. You might find that having less is hard to begin with. But you might also find it makes your child more creative.

Kindergartens in Germany have been experimenting with this idea for years, with some interesting results.

It all began with a study in 1992 by German youth advocacy group Aktion Jugendschutz​. Their focus was to discourage addictive behaviour in later life, so they removed all toys from a volunteer kindergarten for three months.

“Childhood in our society more often than not is determined by a lack of time really at the child’s discretion and by permanent confrontation with products offered by consumer goods industries,” the study’s report says.

The study’s report says the proliferation of these products teaches children to “quickly get rid of daily problems and frustrations by taking to vicarious forms of satisfaction”, and that this can act as “initial ‘practicing’ of addiction behaviour”.

They found things were hard at the outset, but eventually the kids began to improvise toys. Meals became more social. Shy kids who would otherwise lose themselves in a corner playing with a toy would reach out more readily to others.

“The children were found to be more creative, well-balanced, and self-confident with no toys to play with,” the report says. “They learnt how to hold one’s own and to trust their own capacities. Their conduct showed that they, due to enhanced self-confidence, were able to act independently and to realise their boundaries.”

A number of kindergartens in Germany, and even some German kinders in the United States, latched onto the study. In some kinders, the practice is now well entrenched to remove toys for three months of the year. Does it make better people? The jury’s out. So, what? We don’t give our kids anything?

It doesn’t have to be that dramatic. Mr Grose recognises that it probably isn’t necessary and doesn’t make sense for parents to get rid of giving toys altogether, and kids will have expectations based on their friends’ Christmas hauls.

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Mick Price thinking big with Extreme Choice after Inglis Nursery win

Bigger things ahead: Glyn Schofield and Extreme Choice finish well clear of the field in the Inglis Nursery at Royal Randwick. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛INGLIS NURSERY
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A year after Ready For Victory wandered to the outside rail and threw away Mick Price’s chance at winning his first Golden Slipper, the Caulfield trainer is keeping his options open of going a few spots better with Extreme Choice.

The $100,000 yearling didn’t even have a name three weeks ago – and was forced to race in a Tuesday barrier trial at Rosehill just to qualify for the Inglis Nursery – but his rushed preparation didn’t matter as Glyn Schofield scampered to victory on the colt at Randwick on Saturday.

“I normally wouldn’t do it, but I had to squeeze everything into him between gallops and trials and race day,” Price said. “You’ve got to have the horse to do it. Shins were good, constitution was good and it was fantastic for the people involved, including myself.”

The autumn riches dwarf the inflated $500,000 prize purse on offer for the Inglis Nursery – and now Price just needs to decide which major to target.

The Blue Diamond looks a logical option for the Not A Single Doubt two-year-old, but Price isn’t ruling out return trip to Sydney for the Golden Slipper.

“It’s got to be [on the radar],” Price said. “But if I find I don’t have enough chance after I get him home he won’t be running in the Blue Diamond and we’ll redo him for the Slipper. I dare say he might not be able to do both.

“He’s a natural running two-year-old and we’ve used a lot of energy to get him here and I’m unsure of the timing of the Blue Diamond, but the Slipper may fit better in a timing sense. It will give me more time to earn the prizemoney as well to get into the race. [The Inglis Nursery prizemoney] counts when it gets in your pocket, but not much else.”

Having been slightly tardy when leaving the gates, Glyn Schofield bustled Extreme Choice to the lead and quickly put a gap on his chasers in the straight.

Gai Waterhouse’s fellow debutant So Serene loomed as the only danger, but Extreme Choice pulled out plenty to win by two lengths as he wandered towards the middle of the track.

Another Victorian visitor, Rampage, finished four lengths further astern in third.

“He’s a two-year-old,” Schofield said. “Whilst he’s very professional, he wasn’t sure how to stretch out and go about his business when he was asked. But he does certainly have a good motor.”

Added Price: “He’s just a natural and I’ve had plenty of nice two-year-olds, but you’ve just got to baby them and they will do the best for you.”

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Australia v West Indies first cricket Test: Five things we learnt on day three

1. There is something wrong in the West Indies team
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It’s one thing to be well beaten because the other team is simply much better, but to lose by such a big margin in 7½ sessions is just not good enough.

This may be one of the worst teams to come out of the Caribbean for decades, but they were good enough to beat England seven months ago to square a series. England regained the Ashes not long after.

The most worrying aspect of the innings and 212-run defeat is the lack of fight shown, particularly from senior players Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.

Samuels’ contribution in the game was a mere nine and three, and his lack of energy in the field was also noted, not least by his nemesis Shane Warne, who tore shreds off him in the commentary box.

2. A two-day Test is on the cards this series

We’ve had 19 Tests finish in two days, and the 20th could occur this summer. We have not seen a two-day Test in Australia since 1931, but it’s not out of the question that the 84-year drought could end either in Melbourne or Sydney.

The West Indies have been every bit as bad as we thought. Their batsmen survived a total of 106.3 overs across the two innings. That’s the equivalent of losing a wicket nearly every six overs.

But it will not be easy for Australia to win in two days. They would have to bowl first, dismiss the Windies cheaply twice and in between score quickly while also losing wickets. As silly as it sounds, it will not happen unless the Windies are more competitive with the ball.

3. Josh Hazlewood can play all six Tests this summer

How to manage the giant quick has been an issue since the build up to the Perth Test when it was revealed there were concerns over Hazlewood’s workload, but the little resistance offered by the West Indies batsmen means it’s unlikely to remain a major talking point.

For Hazlewood to get tired he’ll have to bowl a lot of overs, but if their lack of application in Hobart is a guide the Windies aren’t capable of occupying the crease.

Hazlewood now has a fortnight to recover from his 28.3 overs in Hobart. Unless the curator produces a road at the MCG, Hazlewood should have enough left in the tank to get to Sydney for his home Test.

4. James Pattinson bounced back very well

Playing in his first Test since March last year, the Victorian firebrand made a poor return in the first innings but was far more potent in the second, claiming figures of 5-27.

Willing to pitch the ball up, Pattinson found movement in the air and off the pitch, which proved too potent a combination for the hapless West Indies batsmen.

But it’s premature to cast judgment based on one game against a team that is barely Test standard. Taking wickets has never been a problem for Pattinson, the big question mark against him has been his durability. It might be a while before we find out how resilient his body is.

5. Day-night Tests are not the way to breathe life into this series

Shane Warne floated the idea of playing the Boxing Day Test under lights in a bid to increase interest, but that would have been recipe for disaster judging by the way the Windies batted.

If they could not handle facing the red ball on a pitch where Australia made 4-583, imagine how they would have fared against the new pink ball under lights.

Cricket authorities will have to find another way to sell the Test. At this stage the Boxing Day sales and movies are looking good options. Even the start of the Sydney to Hobart could provide more entertainment than the Test.

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Sydney Kings to fight like those who beat ‘violet crumbles’ tag, says Tom Garlepp

Lessons from the past: Tom Garlepp wants the Sydney Kings to learn from the hard times the club has previously endured. Photo: Hannah PetersThe best way the struggling Kings can honour their final game at the Sydney Entertainment Centre is to channel the determination of those who wore purple and gold before them.
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The assignment can hardly be more difficult. After a 96-84 loss to the New Zealand Breakers across the Tasman, they return to play the powerhouse Perth Wildcats on Sunday before travelling to take on high-flying Melbourne United on Wednesday.

Wins will restore confidence to the last-placed side, but the game against the Wildcats will have a special edge, as it is the last game at the venue affectionately known as the Kingdome.

“I think the last game at this arena for me just means being able to represent a club that has a lot of history there,” said forward Tom Garlepp, who is in his fourth season at the club.

“They won three championships all at that venue, they really changed, got over that hump of the ‘violet crumble’ tag. A lot of old Kings, ex-Kings and people who talk fondly about [club founder Mike] Wrublewski … that’s who we’re representing.

“We’ve got to understand that we’re representing some times that were really hard for people, times that the people at the club overcame.

“A lot of ex-Kings and people attached to the club wear that as a badge of honour and for us, in this last game, we really have to represent that the right way, play as hard as we can. That’s the way to honour this last game. That’s what it means to me.”

On a personal level, Garlepp wants to show his appreciation to a club he says has been good to him and has given him the opportunity to “grow as a player and a person”.

But a more immediate concern is to get the Kings back in the winner’s circle amid a disappointing season.

“We’re not shocked,” Garlepp said of the players’ response to their 3-11 campaign.

“There are some things that we understand have contributed to it. We haven’t accepted what’s happened willingly, but we’ve been without two starters for the majority of the year, [Josh] Childress and [Steven] Markovic, so there are things there that are completely out of our control. I think a lot of people have failed to mention that.

“There have been things going on but, at the same time, we’re professionals, you’ve got to get the job done and we’ve haven’t. We have to accept that as well, take a lot of responsibility and just try to keep improving.”

The Kings showed some good signs in pushing the Breakers and Garlepp said there was “definitely a strategy that we took into the game” and could gain some confidence under new coach, former Washington Wizards assistant Joe Connelly.

“There’s been a bit of personnel change and a new coach. We’ve had to up our conditioning a bit more at training. I think that’s good in the long run. Joe’s been a positive influence on the group. He’s done a good job with that.

“Perth are a quality team and you’ve got to enjoy playing the best. They’re deep and they’ve got Boomer talent and some good Americans. It’s a good challenge. But I think we’ll be OK.”

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Australia v West Indies first cricket Test: Simon Katich grabs controversy by the throat

Simon Katich, here with Alan Jones, finally opens up – sort of – about his stoush with Michael Clarke. Photo: Simon AleknaTHE TONK
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Ever since Simon Katich was added to the ABC Grandstand commentary team this summer we’ve been waiting for the inevitable moment that he’d be asked about his central part in one of the most infamous moments in recent Australian cricket history. It happened on Saturday, as Australia’s crushing victory in the first Test was completed, with veteran broadcaster Jim Maxwell prodding the former Test opener on his 2009 clash with Michael Clarke during a discussion about dressing-room team songs and the like. Katich, of course, notoriously fronted up to Clarke, grabbing him by the throat, in the SCG rooms in the midst of an argument over when the team song should be sung. Australia had just beaten South Africa in what was Matthew Hayden’s final Test and while Katich and others wanted to stay in the rooms Clarke wanted to have the song sung early so he could leave to join his then girlfriend Lara Bingle. “As we all know there was a little bit of a disagreement in terms of when the timing (of the song) should be. As a result of that I got a little bit…(pause)”. At this point Maxwell interjected: “This was the Croatian moment?” “Yeah,” Katich replied. “It bugged me.” Katich went on: “My understanding of it, and it always has been, is that it’s up to the custodian of the song to determine that time. There was a little bit of a rush that night to go onto the next venue. Michael Hussey was particularly keen to stay in the dressing rooms, Matty Hayden was sitting down there in what turned out to be his last Test match. He wanted to savour the moment in those SCG dressing rooms.”

Warne’s crack at Marlon – again

The debacle at Blundstone Arena was obviously difficult to watch for Brian Lara, who incidentally scored a half-century in Perth on Friday for a Legends XI against Perth Scorchers. “I think our batsmen have accepted the inevitable when there is an opportunity to bat and take something positive away from the game,” Lara tweeted on Saturday. Shane Warne was also critical of the tourists’ abject batting but took particular aim at Marlon Samuels, who has history with the leg-spin great after throwing his bat at him during a confrontation in a Big Bash League game three seasons ago. “Marlon Samuels is Mr Experience out there but he hasn’t really given anything in this Test match so far. He’s fielded on the boundary, hasn’t shown any enthusiasm or any intensity,” Warne said on the Channel Nine coverage.

Tickets going cheap

Tickets for the Boxing Day Test have been reduced slightly in the top category, from $78 to $72 on day one and down to $66 on day two, as Cricket Australia tries to drum up enthusiasm in the wake of the huge gulf between the teams in Hobart. All other pricing remains the same as last year, though. Day three and beyond will be a tough sell if the match goes that long, but the view that the occasion sells itself in Melbourne is probably right and should see the usual strong turnout on Boxing Day.

Travelling Mickey

Two years after he was dumped as Australian coach Mickey Arthur is still carving out a career in coaching and is travelling to all corners of the cricket world to do it. The South African has coached in the Caribbean Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League since his Australian exit and has now landed another T20 gig with Karachi in the new Pakistan Super League. We can only imagine then that Karachi won’t be picking up Brad Haddin, who is in the PCB draft but who The Tonk imagines isn’t on the best of terms with Arthur after blaming the coach’s insecurity for the national team’s woes during his tenure.

Murder mystery

The documentary, Death of a Gentleman, which is worth seeing simply for the lurid canary yellow suit donned by ECB chairman Giles Clarke, finally makes a much-anticipated arrival on Australian screens this month with premieres in Sydney on December 21 and Melbourne on December 23. The film is the work of cricket writers Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins and delves into the decline of Test cricket and the machinations behind last year’s power grab of the game’s big three.   

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