“I love my new laptop.” “Hit me on my cell.” “You should download this song on your IPod.”
Does this sound like adults? Yes it does; however, I’m mocking 8, 9, 10 and 11 year olds. Yes, children that young have their own laptops, cell phones, IPods, and much, much more.
I didn’t own a cell phone until I was in my early thirties. I know that is a bit old, but I’m from the old school. The opposite extreme is showering kids – practically babies – with lots of electronics that we can barely afford. It’s tough enough purchasing electronic games, but now they want “grown-up” toys.
Nowhere is it written that we have to purchase every new gadget that comes out on the market, but at times, we feel compelled to do so.
Pressure comes in many forms… television and peers, just to name a couple. They want “it” because they see it everywhere and other kids have it. We buy it because we “think” we must. As parents, we feel lots of pressure to lavish our children with the desires of their hearts. We do so, I think (in many cases), out of guilt. I know in my case, I feel badly that my son doesn’t have his dad around, so I could make up for it by spoiling him with things… thinking that will make up for his loss. Perhaps, if I had the money to do so, I would more, but I simply don’t, and – quite honestly – I’m glad.
I know a couple who got divorced. They have two children. Initially, they tried to outdo one another. Mom would purchase something for them, and then Dad would be one up and purchase something grander and vice versa. Both parents were trying to make the children like them better than the other parent. Not only can that get expensive, it doesn’t send a good message to your children. You CANNOT buy their affection.
It’s much more rewarding to let our children mature, work and purchase adult items themselves. They will realize that things will not be handed to them when they grow up and gain more appreciation for what they have.
Saying no, sometimes, to expensive items they ask for may disappoint them at first, but they will not hate you for it. My son, 11 years old, wanted a $500 IPad. I explained that he could not get it right now. His bottom lip poked out for about 5 minutes. Before you know it, he was playing and hugging on me, as usual. I think it hurts us to say, “No”, more than it hurts them to hear it.
So, don’t feel guilty or bad when you cannot afford to purchase expensive items for your children. They will be better for it in the long run. Our children ultimately just want our love and affection.
Written by Alice Monterio