Millions of children are enjoying a ‘bonus birthday’ each year – because their parents don’t want them to feel left out on a sibling’s big day, a study has revealed. Researchers found almost half of children are having two or more ‘birthdays’ a year as parents buy them presents on their sibling’s birthdays, as well as their own.
On top of that, instead of saving all the presents for the birthday boy or girl, grandparents and even family friends are also getting in on the act and buying gifts for each child on family birthdays.
Not wanting the others to feel left out was the main reason for buying presents for everyone, as well as believing it’s not fair if their children to have to sit and watch while their sibling gets to open everything.
But the gesture has backfired for some, with a fifth admitting their children now expect to receive a gift on every single birthday a brother or sister celebrates.
A spokesman for paid surveys site OnePoll said:
”It is astonishing to think that parents of today are more willing to spend extra money on children who aren’t even celebrating a birthday, than teach them that on one day of the year it isn’t all about them.
”We know that the majority of mums and dads will simply think they are being kind and thoughtful, but the fact is that children need to learn how important it is to think of other’s before themselves.
”And if that means allowing their brother or sister the limelight for one day of the year, then so be it.
”Modern children should be taught not to expect presents all the time, and should be able to sit nicely and enjoy the fact their sibling is so happy on their special day.”
The study of 2,000 parents found that 45% of buy their children birthday presents on their siblings’ birthdays, as well as their actual birthday.
And half of those admitted they can’t bear the thought of one of their children feeling left out while their other youngster has the birthday limelight.
Another one in three think it’s unfair to make the others sit and watch as one gets all the presents, while one in five said their children started to asked why they don’t get presents as well.
But 28% admitted that they simply did it as a treat once and now feel they have to carry it on to save disappointment.
The study also found that 27% of children will also receive gifts from their grandparents on a siblings’ birthday, while a further fifth are lucky enough to receive them from family friends as well.
Because of the bonus birthday presents seven in ten children now look forward to their sibling’s birthday, while a fifth have been known to ask for presents in the lead up to the event.
And eight in ten parents say they will continue to treat their children on their sibling’s birthday until they are old enough to understand that the day is not about them.
But 45% believe it is too hard for their little ones to understand they will receive less attention than usual.
The researcher found that as well as getting ‘bonus birthdays’, a third of children are also being allowed to help their brother and sister with the opening of their presents.
And when the birthday child has a party to celebrate, six in ten parents will always make sure the event is appropriate for older and younger siblings to attend too.
In the event of a party, 38% of parents invite friends for their other children to play with, while 45% make their other children a special party bag so they feel included.
A spokesman for OnePoll added:
”At the end of the day, parents only want to treat their children equally, and as long as the children aren’t spoilt for the rest of the year, what’s the harm in a present or two on a sibling’s birthday.
”It just shows how kind and loving our respondents are, as they just want to keep the whole family happy and contented.”