Children’s Ice Bucket Challenge

Really quite wet. But not cold

Not the Ice Bucket Challenge – this was the Thunderstorm Challenge. And that was traumatic enough!

The Ice Bucket Challenge has made its way to our sleepy part of the woods. Eight year old Maxi Minx has been nominated by a classmate. I discovered this because the girl’s mother, who’s a FB friend of mine, videoed her little girl doing the challenge, and tagged me on the video. Over dinner that night, I had a loooong family discussion with the minxes and The Boss about peer pressure, charity donations, people acting like sheep, party-pooping and free will. (Blimey – makes us sound like the Waltons, or at least a functioning family unit!! ) I do feel the need to add my opinion to the mix, but remember: it’s just my opinion.

Whether adults partake in the Ice Bucket Challenge or not is none of my business. I can think of funnier, better and more efficient ways of donating to charity, but hey, it’s entertaining and I’m sure it’s boosted the coffers of the charities concerned. Charities plural – although the phenomenon started by raising awareness of ALS (Motor Neurone Disease in the UK), it seems some other charities jumped on the bandwagon, and people have also decided to send their donations elsewhere. Regardless, that’s grand! Where I get a bit antsy is when children get involved.

I’m talking young children: kids who’re too young yet to think it all out, and process cause and effect. Children who can’t assess or anticipate what a bucket of icy water dumped on their head will even feel like, never mind whether they mind this happening to them or not. Kids who maybe don’t get pocket money yet, so presumably won’t be able to make a donation to the charity of their choice? And this offends my clean Vulcan mind: if the parent is actually going to be paying the donation, then why is the child doing the challenge? And if no donation is going to be made, then why is the child doing the challenge at all? Heck, I’ve seen some videos on my FB feed of very young children who’re too young to understand what charity means!

Judging by my FB feed, there are a lot of parents and children who have absolutely no problem with it at all. And that’s fine – crack on! But I’ve been upset by some videos of very distressed littlies doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, distraught at what’s just been done to them by their genuinely loving parents.

Now, I’m not taking the moral high ground. I’m a pretty rubbish parent in other areas, believe me (this blog is kinda evidence of how often I get it all wrong. Again and again and again…). And there are lots of 8 year olds who have their own money, have previous experience with icy water, and are mature enough to rationally decide for themselves whether they want to do this, and whether they want to donate money and to whom. My 8 yo doesn’t, hasn’t, isn’t and can’t. She won’t be doing it. I won’t be pressurised into making her do it, either, by being tagged on public videos.

Fine. The end. Or is it? What about when the peer pressure starts? How is she going to handle her classmates potentially trying to shame her into following them?  We talked to her about how tough peer pressure can be to resist, but she’s not really experienced that yet, so innocently thinks that standing her ground will be a breeze. Hmmm…

Have your children done the Ice Bucket Challenge? What’s your take on it? Am I being too precious about the minxes?