3 Tips for Parents
Here's what you can do in the meantime to keep your teenager from the inclination to buy, buy, buy:
- Don't talk yourself blue in the face, trying to make her see the non-materialistic light. Though she knows where you stand, it's unlikely that you'll convince her to behave differently. You can, however, gently explain that, in the consumer culture, there is always a new item to buy -- but it only brings temporary happiness until another comes along. Most teens lack this life-learned wisdom.
- Be very clear about the amount of money you provide for clothes, gadgets and gifts. With this set allowance, she'll have to decide how to budget her money to support her spending urges. She may need to get a job. She may decide to have one piece of designer clothing a year, then fill her closet with less expensive items. In any case, you'll teach her financial responsibility and the ability to prioritize.
- Hold firm when she begs, pleads, cries or tantrums for more. She may say you're unfair, mean, awful, etc. During these times, it's easy for middle class parents to pull out the credit card and buy whatever their child wants to appease him or her. But doing so only fosters consumerism in the long run. Hold steady.
Jan Faull, MEd, is a veteran parent educator and the author of four parenting books, including Darn Good Advice -- Baby and Darn Good Advice ? Parenting. She writes a biweekly parenting advice column for this site and a weekly parenting advice column in the Seattle Times. Jan Faull is the mother of three grown children and lives in the Seattle area.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, March 2007.