Teaching kids to be smart consumers

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  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    June 22, 2012 10:32 a.m.

    The article raise great timely points. The bottom line is that parents need to be good examples, and they need to spend ample time helping children understand how and why they can and should be wise consumers. Too many children have too many toys and high tech equipment when they would be better off using their imaginations to have a great time playing in the shade of a tree or playing in the park (supervised, predators do know about parks too). Two of my happiest grandchildren have endless role play scenarios that utilize stuffed animals, crayons, scissors, etc.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    June 21, 2012 9:17 p.m.

    Use the wants and desires of your youngsters to talk about why they want what they want. Go to the store with them. Look at the stuff they want. Get to know why they want whatever it is they want. Don't be too swift to say "no" and play the all-knowing parent. Chances are you don't know everything. Use it as a launch pad for discussions.

    Then be open to honest discussion. Is the real reason you don't want them to have the Hero Factory because you are too cheap? Maybe. Or, are you really looking out for them? Maybe. Or, are you willing to allow them to make their own, informed decisions by carefully evaluating the purchase? Maybe.

    In any case, letting them earn their own money is a good idea. But if you are doing the hiring, don't "oppress the hireling in his wages." Be fair. They may turn out to be smarter consumers than you think. And wouldn't that be a nice discovery?

  • Older Mom Roswell, GA
    June 20, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    This is a good article, but I agree with Utahgrandma totally. Now that my children are adults, I can attest that you can only avoid the problem for a short time when they are little. They need you to help them make responsible financial decisions, but sometimes they need to make mistakes and learn too.

    If the item they want is important enough, they need to work for it and save for it. They can clean a fridge, weed the garden, etc. Pay them a reasonable wage. It is amazing how their priorities can change when it involves yardwork for several hours. If they are willing to put in the time, we need to respect them and let them work for the item.

    Learning to work for things that are important to them, is part of growing up. This is not to say they will never make mistakes as an adult, but if we make all of the decisions for them, they will not learn to be wise with their money.

  • Utahgrandma Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 20, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    I agree with most of the suggestions in this article. But after raising 4 kids in the consumer age I think that denying them access to the consumer world is a mistake. Out of sight out of mind isn't always what happens. If you deny your children what is in front of them they go somewhere else to get it. I prefered having them at home with me where I could help them understand what they were seeing on TV rather than having them see it in someone elses home. I also took them purposefully onto the toy isle or as they got older into the clothing stores to help them make wise commercial decisions. Denying them that opportuntity only meant that someone else was teaching them about it. My adult children have all thanked me for teaching them as children that they don't have to have the newest and brightest items. They have learned to think before they shop. I don't claim to have done all my parenting correctly but this is one area where I feel I did a good job.

  • JanaBrown Bluffdale, UT
    June 20, 2012 9:50 a.m.

    I think a lot of this is fighting the lure of immediate gratification. We shop hungry and we shop for immediate gratification. We see something and run out and buy it...same issue. I know I'm all for my kids getting the toys/clothing they want when we plan it out as a goal and associate work and effort with the project. Very timely article.