1950s 12 year old

It was my eldest’s 12th birthday the other day. We bought him presents either that he’d asked for or that we’d guessed he would like and the rest of the family did the same. They were all lovely, thoughtful presents and he was really pleased with them all.

It was only when fellow blogger Chelsea Mamma tweeted me to ask what he’d had, that I realised his presents might be a bit strange. Certainly Chelsea Mamma, who has a son of similar age, found them rather unusual.

This is what my son had for his 12th birthday:

  • A chess set
  • A badminton racket
  • A rucksack
  • Airfix models

    Is this the present list of a tween from 2013? Or is it a present list from the 1950s? Where is the iPod and the smart phone? Where are the gaming devices?

He didn’t have any. He didn’t even ask for any.

Clearly I am raising some sort of ruddy cheeked, outdoor, wholesome 12 year old in school shorts and shiny school shoes with scabby knees. Straight from the pages of Just William or The Famous Five. I am raising a Proper Boy. Like what they had in the Olden Days.

Now I’m not sure how this happened, but I’m guessing parental influence must have played a part – and for that I’m very proud. We encourage out kids to play outside and they do lots of outdoor extra-curricular activities.

My husband introduced my son to chess and he took to it like a duck to water. It’s a great thing to do on a dark winter evening – far better than being stuck in front of a screen – and he has a couple of ready-made opponents in the form of his Daddy Dad and brother. One of my siblings bought him his first Airfix kit sometime last year and, again, he really enjoys it.

Yes, my kids do spend time in front of screens. My eldest’s screen of choice is the good old telly. Sometimes he will need nagging to come away from it. He only uses the computer for his homework. This is his choice, not that he is banned from it.

But we don’t have a bottomless pit of electronic devices like many families with tweens. My husband and I both have iPhones and my son has a Blackberry, but this is for posing reasons only – it makes calls and he can text from it. Nothing else. We have one desktop PC and my younger son has a laptop he bought with his own money. For some bizarre reason it hasn’t connected to the internet for months. We have a Wii, two DSs and an iPad. And that is it.

The technology is there if they need it – for school work or entertainment, but it doesn’t dominate. Clearly we have given our kids sufficient other choices and opportunities that the technology comes second.

I’m rather proud of my 1950s 12 year old.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ahh I think that’s some very lovely presents for a 12 year old. The chess set makes him seem wise beyond his years and I would love to learn one day but shows he loves thinking strategically about things. We have gadgets galore in our house and its always a struggle to buy presents!

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  2. I think you are right to be proud of him. I would love Libby to enjoy doing things other than using gadgets and games when she is older, I hope that we will be half as good as you at parenting 🙂

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  3. Absolutely! I think without parental supervision, most kids would make bad choices be that watching TV all day or playing on their DS. My kids haven’t switched on the wii for months now – slightly annoyed but also pleased! My son also loves chess (has the same set) and his favourite past-time of choice (when I’ve asked him to turn off Minecraft!) is kicking a football against the wall – love it! You should feel very proud as a parent – well done 🙂

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  4. That is so brilliant!!! Yes it does seem a bit old fashioned but it is great! L is the same he does love his iPod but we asked him what he wants for his birthday and he wants a football and a rugby ball (to add to the hundreds we already have!). I like that and as you say it is probably down to parental influences and a lot is just down to their personalities. Both of my boys love chess too and I think that’s brilliant

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  5. well I think that it awesome! You are very right to be proud. Far too much technology around these days. Xx

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  6. Ha, those would have been my husband’s favourite gifts as a child too. I think he’d still like an Airfix model. Great that he has these interests – much better for him than staring at a screen.

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  7. Thank you very much for your lovely comments, everyone 🙂 I’m so pleased he chose those things!
    Natalie, your comment really means a lot! I just muddle on and do my best… I’m not brilliant, but I’m not bad either! There are things I do well and things I don’t do quite as well (food mainly!).
    What is it with boys and chess, Suzanne and Nikki? My younger son never stops kicking a football either. He kicks it outside all day, then boots a beach ball round the house at bedtime!

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  8. I’m super impressed! It’s great that the technology’s there but doesn’t dominate and sounds like he will always know how to entertain himself. Helen

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  9. I think this is the most delightful list of presents, so great that his horizons go beyond tech, tech, tech – says the blog addict with one eye on her mobile and another on her iPad… x

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  10. It’s nice to see children can still enjoy presents like chess sets and Airfix models. The Christmas when I was 16 all I asked for was a book costing around £10. A friend of my mother was quite shocked – her two children had each received a portable TV for Christmas.

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  11. Thanks very much everyone! 🙂
    I’m the same as you, Motherwifeme, lecturing the kids about going out and getting fresh air, with one eye on my phone! But I set them a good example too with my running and I’m always there to support their sport.
    That’s lovely that you asked for that, James. Christmas gets so competitive and kids, even in our day, can expect so much!
    Interesting to see how it works out with a girl, Franglaise Mummy! Mine is certainly less interested in technology than her brothers. It’s all about the clothes for her!

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  12. Yep, my younger son would be more likely to! But my eldest likes more traditional stuff, which is lovely 🙂
    Thanks very much for commenting and sharing.

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  13. My kids are 1950s kids too, although they did all save up to buy i pods. We don’t need to apply many limits but then we are blessed with a beautiful farm to play in too. My soon to be 13 year old is torn between money towards a computer and money towards a bike, no prizes for guessing which we are encouraging him towards!

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  14. Great presents! My son is quite addicted to technology. He has time limits on his devices and does many other things and activities, but screens of all kinds are his favorite past time.

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  15. It doesn’t surprise me that your kids are like this, Coombe Mill, with all that lovely nature around them! A bit of technology is fine, but it’s nice when it doesn’t take over.
    My younger son like screens more, Keitha, but he also loves playing football, so that wins out most of the time.
    Thank you both for commenting, I really appreciate it.

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  16. Well done you – I aspire to be the same! Tho I can’t remember when we last switched the tv on tbh!

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  17. Thanks very much, ladies! I think girls tend to ask for less technology anyway, Lisa! Not that I would generalise of course! 😉
    That’s impressive about not switching telly on, Actually Mummy. Our telly is on rather a lot (I hardly watch it myself) – it is the most popular screen in the house!

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