Julianna Margulies: Birthday Life Lesson

Julianna Margulies denies her son birthday presents because he already has enough stuff, she said. Is this move mean or meaningful?

Julianna Marguiles

What do you give a kid that has everything? Nothing. That's the way celebrity mom Julianna Margulies wants it, anyway.

The Good Wife star says she wants her young son to understand that his life of wealth and privilege is extremely unusual, so she makes him give a ton of his stuff away and doesn't let anyone buy him birthday presents. Is this smart parenting or cruelty?

The first part sounds pretty logical, and a great way to introduce a child to the concept of charity.

"Whenever he grows out of his clothes we bring them to Room to Grow, which is a foundation for underprivileged children in the city," Margulies told People. "It's a phenomenal organization. I always show him what we're going to bring -- he grows out of everything so fast. We walk there together and he wants to see where it's going and he chooses books to give the children. He's living in a world I didn't grow up in -- this sort of world of privilege in a way, because of what I do for a living."

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That's pretty great, right? But Margulies takes it perhaps one step too far when she forbids her three-year-old from receiving birthday presents from friends.

"I want to make sure he understands that's not normal and I want him to remain grounded," she explained. "For his birthdays we always say 'in lieu of gifts please give to this charity' because he doesn't need anything. And I want him to always know that giving is always a much bigger reward than getting."

The thought is nice, but we wonder: Won't this make the kid resent charity instead of loving to get involved?

Tell us: Is Julianna Margulies a caring mom or a birthday bummer?

Image courtesy Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

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Comments on "How Julianna Margulies ruins her son's birthday"

Montana January 25, 2012 | 4:24 AM

The next time we saw this actress on TV, we began talking about this weird thing she does with her kid ... Instead of denying him toys and making him feel guilty at the tender age of three, why doesn't SHE forego the trappings of wealth and privilege, deny herself the jewelry and the hyper-expensive clothes, the travel, the pricey dinners, etc. She could live in a normal home in a normal neighborhood, and give to charity the excess wealth that she wants to teach her child is so "unusual." Then she wouldn't have to be teaching him to feel guilty about all this wealth, because he wouldn't have it. But no. HE makes the sacrifice. The stuffed giraffe he has to forego is more important to him at his stage of development than a Mercedes would be to her. By the way - so Juliana gives used clothes to charity - big deal. Doesn't almost everyone give away their old clothes? I mean, who puts usable clothing in the dumpster? She seems to think she is teaching her son some great lesson by disposing of his used clothing properly.

Pensieve January 23, 2012 | 5:19 PM

Maybe Juliana should read Miss Manners. It is impolite to tell people not to give gifts, and even more impolite to tell them to give an amount to charity instead. People can choose to give a gift - or not. Even if we did grant that a parent has a right to request a child not receive gifts, the parent has no right even to suggest to the would-be gift-giver that a similar amount be given to charity instead. The impulse was to give to the individual - not a charity! Who is Juliana to redirect that? I also think she is starting this too young. Three years old? It's enough to start teaching a child this young to wait his turn and share his toys while playing with them. Even that's a pretty hard concept for a three year old. Pushing kids beyond what's developmentally appropriate for their age level always backfires.

Stephanie January 05, 2012 | 1:12 AM

I think that Julianna's parenting methods and beliefs are right on. She is correct to teach, and most importantly show her son that the lifestyle he gets to live is not the norm. Most people work their whole lives and will not have, know, and get to do what this young man will have the opportunity to all because of what his mother and father do for a living. I think it's refreshing that Julianna is one of the few in show business, who realizes, understands, and embraces that. Every parent wants to do and provide better for their children than their parents did for them. If I am lucky enough to become a parent one day, I know that it too will be difficult for me to try and provide my child with everything that I did not have growing up, without over indulging them and being able to show and instill in him/her a positive work ethic and the importance of giving. Kudos to Julianna and Keith!

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