Wants Vs Needs-Kids Section

Taking ahead from my last post as well as Deeps’s thought provoking post…..

Like most of them have said on Deeps’s post already, the external factors matter a lot these days. In our age and times , mostly all children were on the same page, families on the same levels and almost no options to celebrate childhood other than basic toys and pretty dresses!

But we have to put our age and times behind cause they are a thing of past,sadly! However, since most of us have the same kind of upbringing we all agree on the learning to save, value money and not being extravagant about everything that is available on the shelf, hence we want to inculcate the same in our children.

Even I tend to think how will I say ‘no’ to Chirpy when I’ll have to say it. Is denying something to your child fair to the child? Did she ask us to bring her into the world? It was us who brought her..it is us who want her to grow independent and taker her own decisions….and now when she wants to live her life like she wants, we are circling it with our set of rules and values….these thoughts…come to my mind often when I see the certain price tags, certain ways of life these days…these hypothetical situations of today are not very far for me to become reality!

Sharing a conversation I had with a friend sometime back: She has a 5 year old son.Discussing on the same lines of money part, she exemplified her style of tackling money matters with her little boy.Her son too wanted a huge “extravagant” b’day party like his classmates’ parents threw in a hotel. Now here my friend didn’t want to bring in money part per say but still wanted to say no to his ‘want’. She sat him down and explained thus: “We sure want your b’day to be grand and gala.Just for a moment consider that we are arranging your b’day party at home, where all your friends can feel at home,be themselves, party hard, can be carefree, and stay as long as they want & have fun playing with your toys,eat popcorn while watching a cartoon film and play some games like scrabble or musical chairs etc…we can also think about having a day long b’day party on a Sunday if you like it….don’t you think it will be far more funnier than arranging a party in the hotel,putting in more than required money in exchange of wrapping the party in stipulated time and where you and your friends will have to be too good 😉 ?”

Her son liked the idea and agreed. In fact ‘at home’ b’day party was super fun too!

I liked the way she handled the situation without bringing in the money part really yet subtly telling him the difference. But this was just one kind of situation. How far such tricks would last is a question in itself. How far we parents might be able to pull on is another question.

That said, it’s not always about if we can afford the wants..there are lot of things which we can afford but do we really need to buy them because we have money? It’s about teaching the basic difference about the need and want…I think that’s more important and maybe the money part will automatically fall in line? Again, I’m just assuming things to be that simpler because I’m yet to get there!

Just last week I had to buy a potty pot for Chirpy,now that it’s time to potty train her. So I was amused to see more than 10 options for a simple potty pot! With different shapes, colors, attributes like music, wheels etc to choose from. The simple potty costs Rs. 500 and the other “higher” versions of it cost anywhere between Rs. 1200 to Rs. 2000!!!! Honestly, for a moment I almost bought the Rs. 1500 potty cause it was a duck shape musical potty and it looked cute! But then I revisited my decision…thought whether Chirpy really needs a musical duck shaped potty to shit in? Does she really know these options exist? Do I really have to spend Rs. 1000 more than required to potty train her? Will she be better potty trained if I buy her that cute thing instead of simple looking pot? Of course I spent Rs. 500 only!

This above example says a lot about my thought process too,huh!

I think there are times when we parents too think a little beyond necessary. “What we could not have or did not have our children should” philosophy takes us down and that is the start of the inculcation of “better options” and “all things beautiful in life are must” seeds and we only do it to them…and then when they grow up the other factors are ready to influence them too when we come running and try to guard!

Of course this is a generalization…not all parents melt down, like me, when they see cute things…but I confess I have to be shaken sometimes to realize the difference between what my child needs and what she ‘could’ want!

Do you feel guilty too as parent when you have to say no? How do you tackle such situations?

P.S. This post,a result on reading Deeps’s post,is in the form of a comment on her blog too.

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16 thoughts on “Wants Vs Needs-Kids Section

  1. add me to your list.. I say “no” to Adi often but not as a straight forward “no”.. I always try to explain to her like your friend did to her boy.. I never bring in money as a factor but discuss about what we are really looking for.. So far she is not exposed to any posh stuff for name sake.. I always tell her its not the question of whether mommy/daddy can afford to buy but its the question of whether she really needs it.. had always encouraged her to think in terms of need when she sees an item at shop.. it works well now though I don’t know how long it would continue.. may be she will rebel in teenage.. we have not even got her the DS that all her friends are experts at.. no complaints so far.. touchwood..

  2. Whenever I shopped for myself or home..I always went with the cheapest thing I liked. Price always determined what I bought. And I too told myself that when I would stuff for kids I would let them have the best and what I didn’t have aka expensive stuff. And now when I shop for Abhi and Achu, I see myself putting that cute dress away only beacause its too expensive esp for a growing baby. I guess its just in our blood, how we were brought up. If we learnt this from our parents, we need to do the same coz kids will learn from us. Iam with you on everything you said. 🙂

  3. Well, I almost always say no 😉 I am a pathetic mom that ways honestly…as long as the buying of the stuff is justified, its fine..but otherwise, I am mostly honest with R, tell her that I have no money to buy it..and the kiddo agrees…but now when I read your post, I think, I should be more subtle na..instead of just telling her ke amma ke paas no paisa da 😦

    Well, this parenthood is like the toughest test I have ever given and what else, its now a never ending exam eh?

  4. I so agree with you Nu..many times its us parents who go overboard on our desire to get every little thing for our precious little even before thinking how necessary those things are or if they need them at all.

    I really liked the way your friend handled the situation with her child and explained it to him so well!

  5. well said dear.. i also do that many time thinking that i didnt have this toy when i was kid, let me buy it for bunty, feel disappointed when bunty doesn’t play with it.. now i am trying to say “NO” to bunty, when she wants things which she shouldnt be playing with .. i know she does the drama of crying, i still stand my words of “NO”..
    what you friend did is really nice, a beautiful way of explaining to kids and making them understand na..

  6. Scribby, Can’t tell you how much I love this post. The needs vrs want thing is so important. Whether we can afford it or not, it is important to figure out whether a purchase is needed or is it just something we want. And it makes perfect sense for me to teach daughter that too – because as I tell her, ‘you can’t always get everything you want’.

    Having said that, I feel money is an important factor too. Just because we can afford, I don’t want her to think that she can get whatever she wants. So I feel that it makes sense to explain to children how we buy stuff, and why we shouldn’t be buying things left right and centre. Basics of budgeting, financial planning and working for money all needs to be communicated to children. For instance, she wanted a Barbie once. Now, I can’t help feel that it is a huge waste of money. So I explained to her, that for the cost of the Barbie, I could buy her a set of 10 of her favourite books. It helped her understand why those books were a much better option than a Barbie that she would get bored of within minutes.

    ‘ Is denying something to your child fair to the child? Did she ask us to bring her into the world?’ – Exactly! Which is why, I feel that, it is our responsibility to give her the tools to make the most of her life. All these basic concepts will only help them in the long run. The value of money, I think, is a very important thing. I’ve seen grown ups who have no sense of that, and I would hate for daughter to grow up to become a person like that.

  7. I dont know what to say but money is a big issue, its ok to think we will provide the best and this and that .. but I also beleive that how long can we carry on buying the BEST, if one is multi millionaire its fine , but for working people like me , its difficult to do it all the time .. So why the charade ..

    you buy what you can afford , because today we may have the money to buy the best , tomorrow we may not, this will confuse the kid as they think whats gone wrong ..

    and saying that .. whatever you have said it so very right tooo 🙂

  8. I love how the mom convinced her boy! However, I do bring money into the equation often, especially with the older one, because I feel it is important for him to know the idea of being frugal and to value money.

  9. I guess I still have time before I would need to start saying no. But I know it will break my heart to. And I also know that not doing it would be far worse for Zo herself. As of now, I think we have been a little impulsive in spending when it comes to the child, because we keep thinking ” Arre, it’s one child afterall!” but recently we have started putting a little more thought into the need aspect 🙂 I mean, here it is not even about what she wants, its about what we want for her! Tough days ahead 🙂

    1. Oh impulsive is the word especially for the first time parents, trust me…for the second time parents get wiser 🙂

      hence they say “First child is learning, Second child is experience” 😉

  10. Its tough initially to say No to your child, Scribby. But later you understand the good things that a “No” has brought around, then you are happy. Kids grow up understanding and sensitive to parents, and of course their own friends too.

C'mon,out with it,right here :)

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