Rosie and I were in Target this week looking at Lego's when the perfect blonde mother of four planted her brood at the end of the aisle to find a birthday present for a friend. Immediately, each child began to reach for the nearest toy that caught their eye and in less than a minute a small riot started in front of the Barbies. Three of her girls were begging and pleading for their own brand spanking new toy. The mom, she just ignored them. Rosie, her jaw dropped and she just stared in amazement.
“Wow. That poor mom,” she said. “Her kids are out of control. How come she just didn't tell them no?”
I couldn't speak for her as I only have one kid to tug on my purse strings but I do know that those are difficult words to utter over and over. One of the biggest challenges as a parent is dealing with the “gimmes” and “I gotta haves” especially when trying to raise financially responsible kids post-recession. It's hard enough to teach kids the concept that they can't buy everything they want. And, it's harder still to explain that you can't afford all the gadgets and gizmos out there. Advancements in technology have not helped to curb kids shopping habits (and yes, I am talking about the big kids too). I blame all of this on Apple.
Today Apple is most likely announcing the iPhone 5. Since they just came out with the 4S a few months ago, I'm trying to figure out why they needed to perfect a phone that was touted as “the most amazing iPhone yet.” And, for all of us who weren't sure it was that great, all we had to do was ask Siri. She'd tell us.
I am not one of the lucky ones to be blessed with an iPhone, but my hubby is. And, his Siri, spoke to Rosie first as she knew about the feature from commercials and when she found out that her Daddy wasn't as savvy, she grabbed his phone to show him how cool Siri could be. Remember the genie in the bottle? That's Siri. Once Rosie spoke to her she was her master. So any time the K-man attempts to text via voice through Siri, it doesn't work. It's a worthless feature.
Because Rosie witnessed that first-hand, she may be one of the first to be sucked into the media hype behind the iPhone 5. After all, if adults need to get a new phone every few months (or even year) to keep up with all the amazing enhancements, shouldn't kids? The answer quite frankly is no.
No one really needs an iPhone 5 as their old phones are perfectly fine. But Apple is a master at making everyone think they need one and they create the marketing madness behind why everyone has to buy one. They are masters at creating demand for non-essential items. And, we all get sucked into the media hype- adults and kids alike.
As parents, if we want our kids to stop begging for every little thing at the store, we have to stop buying every little thing that we desire. We have to learn how to say no to ourselves and use those examples to teach our kids restraint. Otherwise, we are going to raise an entire generation that is only satisfied with the biggest and brightest searching for instant gratification.
How do you teach your children that they can't have everything they want?