Once he realized that his son's actual experience at school had very little to do with the material stuff, Miller started to come around. "My son, he cares about skin and girls and trigonometry," he says. "It might look good to me now, but middle school still sucks."

The trick to defusing the negative feelings is letting your kids off the hook. "In the end, it's not jealousy—it's sadness for whatever you wish you had," Pickhardt says. "Once you realize that, you don't get angry at the kids. You can appreciate that what you're doing is providing what your parents weren't able to."

At which point you might just be able to allow your young ones to enjoy laser tag while you occupy yourself with a familiar game: blaming your parents for the shitty job they did.