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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Celebrity kids: spoiled by default?



suricruise.jpgSuri Cruise has an iPad and a wardrobe that any A-lister would envy. Sean "Diddy" Combs gave his son a $360,000 luxury sedan for his 16th birthday. US Weekly reports that Gwen Stefani recently spent $15,000 on a birthday party for son Kingston.

When I read these tales of celebrity offspring excess I wonder, is it possible to be fabulously wealthy and also fabulously grounded and normal? Is giving a 4 year old a $499 iPad by definition spoiling her? Can a teenager have a car that costs more than my house and not be an entitled little snot?

Surprisingly, the answer from some child development experts is not necessarily. Spoiled comes from attitude, not things.

"The fact that Suri Cruise now owns an iPad doesn't necessarily mean she's spoiled," says Julie Hanks, clinical Director of Wasatch Family Therapy clinic, told E! Online. "It all depends on her emotional response to the expensive gift. Did the darling preschooler demand an iPad? Or throw a tantrum in a store if her parents didn't get her one? If so, she's spoiled."

JustinDiorComb16thBirthdayPartyWRDFnH0SeIol.jpgJustin Dior Combs may have capped off the MTV-filmed, star-studded Super Sweet Sixteen party as the owner of a Maybach luxury car, but he also got a check for $10,000 from his father as a birthday present. Justin immediately donated the money to Wyclef Jean's charity Yele Haiti.

Even though I am nowhere in the same league as these beautiful people, my kids are growing up with more than I had and I sometimes wrestle with this issue. If you have the money and can give your kid the video game or the shoes they covet, how can you strike a balance between having fun with the hard-earned fruits of your labor without spoiling the little buggers in the process?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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[Last modified: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:29am]


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