Dealing with the craze of brands among kids is a major worry of many parents. I received many queries in response to my previous article on the same subject. Let us consider one fairly common concern, see how many of us can connect with it and try to see a way around it.
“My worry is that youth around 17-18 years have problems like if you wear something exclusive then only friends acknowledge you or they get closer to you...
We try to explain, that it is all temporary... Your inner things help you a lot, but , difficult for him to swallow it... He got lot of acknowledgement being a sportsperson, good behaved person and equally higher side bright student (not 90, but we r fine) in the school... We try to explain.. the same.. but.. still not succeed.. we will keep trying.... But need more light on it”
Well that is what 17 years of age is. It wants to confirm and be accepted and applauded. Is it bad? No. It just is. That is the age around which we start to explore ourselves. Before that the sense of self had not developed much. Individuality is not always appreciated as our education system is all about conformity - in uniform dress code and behavioral patterns. Now when they can move around in casual wear they see a chance to see and exhibit their individuality. Wanting to be different and the best seems to obvious.
So,,, no, they are not wrong. Most youngsters at that age have not been able to make their mark so again clothes seem to be an easier way to impress. But even in cases like the one example above, we need to understand that we have different facets to our personality and even if we are doing good in some, that doesn’t take away the need to excel or at least be special in other ways too.
Your argument as an adult is also right that “It is what is inside that really matters”, but please consider their age. Think of ourselves at that age. Most of us did not have access to money and brands while growing up so we could not indulge, but didn’t we indulge in whatever way was possible? We wanted to be special too. We would borrow sarees and shirts from friends and family to look our best wherever possible. The only difference is that they are surrounded by options from across the globe on just one click. If we have expressed our ability to pay for expensive things around them then they cannot understand why not to indulge in the best.
So firstly, we need to understand that they are just teenagers and it is not their age to understand philosophy. Then what should be our approach?
I believe moderation is the way. According to your affordability indulge them sometimes and refuse the other. Especially if the children are internally motivated and responsible towards their duty and students, we can definitely indulge them once in a while. But what if they want it every time?
Children develop the habit of pressurizing and emotionally blackmailing the parents when they learn that parents always say ‘no’ to everything to begin with but turn around after they throw some tantrums. Also when there is a lot of display of money around them they believe that they can and should easily have what they demand. Here is when the role of parenting comes in.
Husband and wife should always decide what they are going to agree on and what not. Once one parent has said ‘no’ the other should not overrule it.
Once you have said a reasonable ‘no’, stick to it.
If later you feel that you wish to change your ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ don’t do it immediately. Wait for an opportunity where the child can be told that as a reward for his hardwork in studies or anything else, they can have the branded ware they were asking for.
If there are financial problems in the family, share them with children occasionally. They need to know. Many parents do not want to share such details with the children because they don’t want to ‘burden’ them. Eventually when the unsuspecting children put forth their demands these same parents blame the child for not being understanding.
Also get in to the habit of offering genuine praise whenever your children are dressed to go out, especially when they wear something non-branded but elegant and fitting. Occasionally when they wear the brand also let them know that they make the brands look better because of their personality. Of course all this has to be genuine and not obvious or frequent enough for the child to suspect foul play.
Let them know they are unique at every possible occasion.