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Pressure on kids to be "cool" conflicting with parenting values - Page 3

post #41 of 76

As a parent who at one time gave into all the WANTS.  I can tell you your kid would rather brag about how much fun YOU are.  I had given my kids DS's, numerous games, cable tv, a computer for game play, bikes, basketball hoops, you name it they got it. 

 

I spoke to my oldests school counselor last year and she told me something that made me step back and face palm.  My oldest class was told to brag about their parents or guardian to find positive things when you're feeling let down by them.  She literally came  up with the largest list in the class and not one of those things was about stuff!  While the other students bragged about what their parents bought them, she bragged about all the crazy things we do.  Sing offs, dance offs, story telling, treasure hunting, hiking, swimming, hand puppets, blanket making... NONE of those things cost a dime.  We stopped giving into those wants that they can brag about.  Instead we fill it with the more important things.  Too bad it cost me so much to realize it.

post #42 of 76


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

Um, wow, nursingmomma. That was pretty out of line.



 


I agree with you that the post was out of line.

 

On this subject, I see myself as a "middle path" parent. I don't think I've ever once bought or done something for my kids "just because it's cool."  In my first post on this thread, I talked about how I talk to my kid about things that I say no to, and may be that would be a helpful place to return to.

 

I help my kid break down her perception that "everybody else is" (which is seldom true) and I help her brainstorm responses for when things come up in conversation. The appropriate response to "I just got back from Disney! It was the best vacation EVER" is not "yeah, well my mom lets me play with matches."  I think helping our kids pivot their thinking to more realism is helpful for them, and that a big part of the problem for them is figuring out the social interactions when our "no" issues come up.

 

We are all going to have different "no" issues. May be if we talked more about how we handle them rather than the specifics of what our "no" issues are, it would be more helpful to the OPer.

 

Also -- over the years, one goofy thing that has gotten my kids "cool" clout is that children are allowed to cook in our house. Build your own pizzas is a tradition -- children love coming to our house, being given a lump of dough to shape, control over how much sauce to use, and a variety of toppings to choose from. When the kids were younger, I would have cookies and icing and sprinkles and let them decorate. Now that they are older, I give them a bag of chocolate chips and let them follow the recipe on the back. Many children have learned at our house that it's possible to make pancakes without a mix.  So few families actually cook from scratch, and I guess a lot of moms get freaked out by mess easier than me.

 

Even though we are a family that goes and see the big new films on opening day, I think making good conversation and the freedom to make a mess in the kitchen are actually working better for my kids in the friend department. thumb.gif

post #43 of 76
Thread Starter 
I do want to thank those of you who have posted kind and helpful responses.
Quote:
honestly think attitude - welcoming friends and encouraging (or at least tolerating) their play, encouraging positive attitudes without envy, acknowledging other's good fortune but recognizing your own - can mean just as much as being able to show off the latest cool gadget.

Yeah, I agree.

I want to say that I posted partly just to open a conversation about something that I think is probably a fairly common concern for MDC parents. Some of these things are just not going to change (no Twinkies in her lunch) but others are under consideration. I do think of this as a place where having strongly held values is par for the course and I'm surprised at the undercurrent here. I didn't anticipate the tenor or tone of some of these responses and it's bumming me out. I guess the community has changed.
post #44 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

One thing I wanted to add is that the kids whose parents always hosted playdates, slumber parties, and backyard watergun fights never needed currency. We all knew they were cool.



Yeah...that's what we try to do.  So far we have had a slumber party and a summer party. The summer party was just from an idea we found in Yum For Kids magazine....we had a make your own ice cream sundae bar and then the kids went out and played water games...they had teams where they saw which team could sit on the water balloon and break it first..and they played duck duck goose with a car sponge where instead of duck duck goose they did drip drip splash and then they all just ran around and played in the creek.  Sometimes the simple things are the most fun...and we do have video games and stuff but we try to give them other ideas so they can look back on memories with friends besides video games and staring at tv. 

 

post #45 of 76
I was confused after reading your first post. It sounded like your daughter wanted this stuff, but you had decided it was forbidden at your house. I'm a big fan of giving kids at least some level of autonomy, even when it doesn't line up with our ideals 100%, because their life is their life and some of these choices should be theirs, IMO, so my response was based on the idea that you could give your dd some choices as far as this goes, but it sounds like that isn't an issue - that she's ok with not having this "cool" stuff. It's possible other people read the first post the same way.

As far as cool snacks at school, nuts are permitted at my dd's school, and she's considered cool for having pistachios in her lunch. Odd things can be cool with kids as far as food goes. We made homemade crackers at one point and she told me how cool everyone thought those were. I would never get Twinkies either, because my dd can't handle the blood sugar spike and then head right into class. That makes her too moody.
post #46 of 76
Thread Starter 
I don't know that she's okay with it, but it's not ruining her life or anything. It's on her radar, and I was interested in talking to other similar parents about how they handled the issue.
post #47 of 76
nursingmommaof2, your post is very adversarial and rude. As well, your account shows an IP and cookie match with three other accounts , which also had the same sort of posting behavior. I am closing your account. If you wish to remain as a member here you can contact me at administrator@mothering.com to discuss your registration and posting history.
post #48 of 76

I haven't read any responses yet, just wanted to respond to this,
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

I guess some part of me is trying to come up with something she can say when the other kids are going "My mom and dad let me..." smile.gif I know that's a little silly!


Not silly at all.  I think it's thoughtful, kind and sympathetic of you to consider her feelings and worries.  For what it's worth I support your stated values, but I think sympathy for your daughter's concerns goes a long way towards maintaining a good, trusting relationship. 

 

Off to read the other responses.

post #49 of 76

Thanks, Cynthia!  Way to smoosh the dastardly troll!

 

To lorax, I worry about this already, and dd is only 2.5 yrs old. 

I've been gratefully reading this thread and collecting ideas and thoughts, and just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you starting it, and that I'm sorry that it spiralled out of the trajectory you were aiming for. 

 

post #50 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

One thing I wanted to add is that the kids whose parents always hosted playdates, slumber parties, and backyard watergun fights never needed currency. We all knew they were cool.


Totally agree.


Quote:

Originally Posted by karne View Post

FWIW, I don't generally find that "things" make as much of a difference as parental attitude does.  If you carefully consider your child's needs, and let her know that you value what's important to her (which may be different from what's important to you), I think that will go a long way.  A little flexibility and willingness to make your boundaries "flex" when they need to, will help.

 

Absolutely true. 


Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

Meh. The thread is sort of going in an "you're doing it wrong" direction. I'm not really interested in hearing why I need to pack junk in her lunch or buy her more stuff. What I was looking for mainly were some ways to give her currency that would also be in line with the values we promote as parents.
 


It's good you're observing and thinking about this, but I don't see how anyone can give you relevant suggestions when your child is only 7 y.o. and isn't particularly experiencing a need for social currency yet.  I think you need to wait and see what your daughter actually comes up against.  Right now you're speculating, making good educated guesses about what 'currency' she's going to want. You may be right about all the examples you give, but chances are there will be issues that would never occur to you that she would be concerned about.  And the opposite is true. Wii games may never be an issue for her. 

 

Edited to add regarding iPads:  'kids with iPads' more likely are kids whose parents have iPads.  My husband was given an iPad for his work.  We all play with it. There's no way on earth we would have bought one ourselves. 

 

post #51 of 76
I thought of a couple more things for you and DD:

kool aide hair dye
hair wraps (omg these were so cool when I was a kid, but maybe that just shows my age?)
fingernail stickers (they are really made to go on fake nails, but my little sister used to just wear them. She would also put them on her face by her eyes. They look like rhinestones)
silly bands? (they are cheap)
What about a trampoline, pool, awesome swingset?
stuff with her name on it
Her own key to the house, on a cool keychain.
post #52 of 76
I went through the same thing throughtout elementary school and jr high because I couldn't compare myself to the other kids at my school, it wasn't til I met my best friend in high school where I was able to embrace who I was and find out who I wanted to become. I completely agree with your parenting choices, as I am working on parenting the same, I'm just choosing to homeschool or put her in a Waldorf school, aka like minded parents. From my personal experience, the competition only progresses no matter which private or public school you go to. If your daughter has friends with similar parents, even outside of school, I would definitely focus on those relationships.
post #53 of 76


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cassandraz View Post
 I'm just choosing to homeschool or put her in a Waldorf school, aka like minded parents.


Homeschooling is not an opt out. We are former homeschoolers, and my kids learned about the Disney channel and lots of other things at homeschool group. Unless you go raise your kids in a cave with a rock in front of it, you get to deal with this stuff one way or another.

 

I feel the need to give my mothering.com credentials:

 

  • both my kids nursed with child led weaning. I tandum nursed.
  • I carried them in slings, and wore out a sling with each child
  • we had a family bed for years, and my kids transitioned to their own beds when they were about 4 or 5
  • my children have only known gentle discipline. (though I have yelled a few times, and given a couple of time outs over the years)
  • I used to be the librarian for my LLL group.
  • we started out as unschoolers, and I help found a homeschooling group
  • my kids currently attend a crunchy alternative school, with a kiln, green house and chickens
  • they are only partially vaxed, and we delayed the few vaxes that we got

 

 

And, having said all that, playing with the Wii and just having fun hasn't undone one thing. They are really awesome people.love.gif


 

I asked my kids about "cool" tonight and if they thought they were cool and I'll share their answers with you

 

DD#1 (age 14 and dx'ed with Asperger's and a social anxiety disorder) "I don't really get what cool is. Some kids are really hung up on cool and make themselves miserable over it, but I just ignore it because it confuses me"

 

DD#2 (age 13 - and laughing) "Ironically -- she's considered cool by some, partly because she really doesn't care! Some people consider me cool, and some don't. The definitions of what is cool are really different in different groups. I do like it when people think I'm cool, but it doesn't really bother when other people don't. I just consider how they define cool, and think about whether or not I value their opinions."

 

I think they are pretty grounded people -- in spite of being allowed to do things just because they are fun.  thumb.gif

 


 

Happiness, fun and social connections are actually quite good. Raising a kid with autism, for whom none of those things are natural, has shown me that. I honestly would have handled all this stuff differently with my second child if I hadn't seen it all through the eyes of "A Special Needs Mom" first.

 

And, standing on my soap box as a senior member who now has teens, I think think that getting more hung up on your philosophy that what is actually going on with the child who is right in front of you is a waste of the moment you are in. Just be in the moment with your child. Empathize with them. It doesn't mean always say yes, but rather, just parent from your heart to their heart.

 


Edited by Linda on the move - 8/5/11 at 1:11pm
post #54 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

 

And, standing on my soap box as a senior member who now has teens, I think think that getting more hung up on your philosophy that what is actually going on with the child who is right in front of you is a waste of the moment you are in. Just be in the moment with your child. Empathize with them. It doesn't mean always say yes, but rather, just parent from your heart to their heart.

 


I'm in this group as well, and I wanted to say that at this point, the cool factor for my dd is having a mom who will do things with her (something SHE wants to actually do, not what I want to do!).  I guess from this vantage point, my feeling about values is that the best, and sometimes the hardest to make work, values have been around staying connected with my children.  As my oldest as entered preteen/early teen years, I've had to rework some of my expectations and fantasies about what our relationship would be like.  Sometimes it feels like I'm on a ship in rolling seas, trying to stay upright, lol. 

 

I know this doesn't address cool stuff to give something to brag about, and I'm not trying to make less of those concerns.  

 

post #55 of 76

One of the practical solution to this in our house has been to make sure my kids have their own money which they may spend as they please.

 

They get/earn enough so they can afford things they really want if they prioritise.  It has taught them a lot.

 

If new gadgets are important to her she will spend her money to get them.  

 

 

post #56 of 76

I'm learning that no matter what values I have and have tried to instill in ds (who is 11 and just starting middle school), the opinion of his peers, and of mainstream society, is going to have weight for him. This may not be true of all kids, but I think it is for most. Last year, his teachers encoraged the kids to bring ipods and ipads in to school to take notes. I thought this was ridicuous (ummm- paper and pen?)- and would be a distaction and possible security issue. DS has an ipad which was a birthday gift from his uncle (no- dear brother didnt check w/ me first lol). DS begged everyday to bring his in and I refused. Finally, he said to me "Mom, everyone thinks Im lying and are making fun of me for it". Do I wish DS could know it doesnt matter what his peers think? Sure - but he is 11 and of course it matters. So I let him bring it in one day to "prove" he owned one. I was so torn about this - I hate that this is the society we live in but that is the reality if you are public schooling. We did homeschool previously and I didnt find this materialism in hs kids. 

 

This year, I was told all of his shirts needed to have the hollister name across the chest. Again, not in line with my values but I bought him a few. This will pass- I dont think wanting to have a shirt that is cool is going to affect his core values.  We have had the discssion of why I dont care for status symbols based on wealth and I think as he gets older, he will come to embrace this himself.

 

Also, to the op - I did resist getting a wii until ds was 8 and when we got one, was surprised at how little it even gets played. My 2 lo's (2 and 4) have no interest in it.  I was worried about nothing - it hasnt "taken over" our lives.

 

I dont think that a child having something technoogical indicates that they are spoiled or that "natural" learning is being neglected.  Compters, ipads, etc. are a wonderful tool that kids can use to explore and use their creativity. My sons 11 yo bf, who is homeschooled, just got his own mac laptop- which was over $1200.  The boys make their own music, shoot and edit videos and add graphics and create animations with this computer.  Most of this has been self-taught. I am really amazed at what these kids do on the creative programs available on this computer. I dont feel that his parents were harming or spoiling him in buying it for him. It was within their budget(and they are very economically responsible people) and gives him a platform him to learn, create and have fun.


Edited by valsblondies - 8/6/11 at 7:27am
post #57 of 76

I guess my approach to this is to teach dd that you don't need collateral to be cool and that peer pressure is something that she's going to have to deal with the rest of her life... learn to deal with it now without compromising personal beliefs.  That is, do you really want to hang out with kids for whom "what" is more important than "who"?  This is something that we talk about, and have done so for a long time... what kind of people to surround oneself with, and to be friends with people who care who you are and not what you have, do, or anything else "brag"-worthy.

 

Dd is 9.5 yo is not mainstream and neither are we.  We are raising her to be PARTICULARLY non-mainstream, as we don't agree with that particular philosophy of being. We're happy and confident how we are and don't feel the need to fit in with people we really don't want to be around anyway.  We don't have video games of any sort, no pierced ears, no nail polish, no smart phones, we have TV (a 19" tube TV), but dd watches shows like I Love Lucy and Andy Griffith, and she's never seen Disney or been to McDonald's.  No twinkies, or processed food.  We go to the movie theater only rarely.  In the end she is considered "cool" and "fun" by her friends, because she's just herself and is a fun person to be around.  At school, the teachers are always telling us at conferences that dd is everyone's friend and gets along with boys and girls alike.  They always say, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it because you have an amazing daughter."  So, something is right with our attitudes.  Kids shouldn't need collateral to be friends.  They just need to enjoy each others' company.  I'm in my 40's and we didn't need collateral when I was a kid and I don't see why they need it now no matter how "things have changed".  In truth, things haven't changed that much.  It's not like back in the 60's and 70's we were thumping our chests and dragging our knuckles.

post #58 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

Meh. The thread is sort of going in an "you're doing it wrong" direction. I'm not really interested in hearing why I need to pack junk in her lunch or buy her more stuff. What I was looking for mainly were some ways to give her currency that would also be in line with the values we promote as parents.
 


I'm still wondering if you've asked her what's important to *her*. Do you have to buy Twinkies to toss in her lunch? Nope. But you could toss in some brownies or cookies that the two of you baked.

 

Both of my kids are pretty much their own people, but sure, there were things that they didn't have/weren't allowed to do that their friends did/were. We talked about those sorts of things a fair bit, because I remember being there as well. It isn't fun. Some things I wasn't willing to budge on, but others.... really not a hill to die on. And SOME things? Surprised the heck out of me. I found out that their friends were jealous that I actually *cook* and loved being invited over 'cause I'd make "cool" food. Instead of calling for pizza, I'd make baked ziti or mac & cheese from scratch. Instead of running out for donuts in the morning, I'd make funnel cake. Or pancakes and sausage. Or whatever.

post #59 of 76

I really think there can be a middle ground. I grew up without when it came to certain things because it wasn't in the family budget. But there were things that we got that happen to be the hot item that year or whatever. It sucked. It wasn't so much about being cool as much as we didn't always fit in and we lived in a small community so that is who you had to play with, didn't have a lot of options. 

 

If she wants a music player doesn't mean it has to be a expensive one like an ipod they make other mp3 players. Or the smaller ipod which is probably around the same price as some off brand cheap one. (50.00) but you could make it so she earns it type thing by doing some extra work. 

 

Things like nail polish and stuff like that might fun for her and you can control by what colors you allow or don't allow and things like that. 

 

The snacks at school during lunch no it doesn't have to be store junk food but you can make stuff at home to send with.

 

Little things can go a long ways with out really changing your values. But I am also in the camp of as kids grow one has to be willing to change things at times because well it sucks always being the kid without. While it may not matter when they are older per se it matters to them at the moment. 

 

 

post #60 of 76


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post


I'm still wondering if you've asked her what's important to *her*. Do you have to buy Twinkies to toss in her lunch? Nope. But you could toss in some brownies or cookies that the two of you baked.

 

Both of my kids are pretty much their own people, but sure, there were things that they didn't have/weren't allowed to do that their friends did/were. We talked about those sorts of things a fair bit, because I remember being there as well. It isn't fun. Some things I wasn't willing to budge on, but others.... really not a hill to die on. And SOME things? Surprised the heck out of me. I found out that their friends were jealous that I actually *cook* and loved being invited over 'cause I'd make "cool" food. Instead of calling for pizza, I'd make baked ziti or mac & cheese from scratch. Instead of running out for donuts in the morning, I'd make funnel cake. Or pancakes and sausage. Or whatever.


 

Yup, I've had the same experience.   My 16 y.o. daughter has been praising the lunches I pack for years now, AND she reports back that her friends are in awe of my sandwiches. innocent.gif  She shares her cookies and she says they love them!  Seriously, they're just oatmeal raisin cookies.  But they are home-made.  I don't think these kids get home-made much.  

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