I want, I want, I want - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is driving me nutso. My 6 year old is soooo materialistic. Coming from someone who tries hard to be frugal and really think over purchases, this is causing a huge conflict.

I don't know if this is just how 6 year olds are? Or if I somehow did something to allow her to become this way. And either way, I'm not sure how to manage it. When she was younger I'd take her to the dollar store a lot...that may have skewed her understanding of how much stuff actually costs.

She doesn't have a playroom full of toys, but she certainly has a fair share of things she enjoys (especially stuffed animals). She seems hell-bent on acquiring more and more and more things. Shopping trips are very unpleasant now (whereas they used to be fun). Even if we discuss ahead of time and she agrees that we aren't buying anything, it always ends in her whining or sometimes even crying about some stupid thing she sees. And she will obsess over that particular item for weeks and weeks if she doesn't get it (talking about it, drawing it, etc). If I give in and go back to buy it for her later, chances are she'll only play with it for a few days anyway.

We've tried letting her have her own money, but she doesn't understand it at all. One toy and her money is almost gone. I think we're doing this all wrong. Besides, she just wants to spend everything she has on one stuffed animal after another.

The latest: I told her she could get 1 thing from a store before we go to her grandparents. Before we even get to the store, she's telling me about 2 things she wants. I repeat that we are only buying 1 thing. I offer to help her decide on 1 thing. Instead she throws a fit, crying about how unfair I am. So my final decision is she gets nothing. It sucks....things that should be fun end up in tears (for her) and stress (for us).

Any suggestions?
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#2 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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I was going to suggest an allowance...1 toy and the money is nearly gone... Well, that's the way it works, right? And stuffed animal after stuffed animal... That's her choice! If it is HER money, then it is her choices and when it is gone, it is gone. She might not understand the whole thing, but she will start to understand "I have enough money"/"I don't have enough money". It also takes the responsibility from YOU to be "the bad guy". Now if she gets the toy or not it is her choice but it will cost her. She will learn (my guess is pretty soon) about choices and saving. And your judegement if it is "worthy" doesn't make you the bad guy either. My son (4 yrs old) has bought all sorts of things I would have thought rediculus with his allowance, but they turned out to be really important to him.

For us, we do a hybrid system- $1 a week given (this is ususally enough for a small "happy thing" but not too much to really waste and can save up fairly quickly for "bigger things" he wants). Then, he can earn quarters by doing "extra work" (setting the table, helping in the garden, helping clear the car of snow, putting away laundry, etc.). This allows him to control the flow to some degree. If he wants something "big" faster, he can work a lot. We've also on occasion done some micro-credit, but we are careful about that .

I put very few restrictions on what he can buy. It cannot be violent (guns, swords, fighting fists). Period. Anything else is fair game from snacks to toys.

He quickly learned to make choices and figured to save. He also sometimes splurges and that is OK too. He's learned to compare prices and starting to understand the money values.

We now don't buy a lot of things for him. He gets "big presents" on his birthday, Hanukkah, etc. but for little trips to the store, trips to the zoo gift shop, etc. its his money that he must spend.

Before, we had a ton of tantrums and whining. Now, no more fights and he is learning a lot about how all this works.
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#3 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
We've also on occasion done some micro-credit, but we are careful about that .
That is funny!! Thanks for the ideas, that makes a lot of sense.
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#4 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommahhh View Post
We've tried letting her have her own money, but she doesn't understand it at all. One toy and her money is almost gone. I think we're doing this all wrong. Besides, she just wants to spend everything she has on one stuffed animal after another.
But that's how she will learn! Is what you would choose? No. But it is how she'll learn to manage her money. Better that she 'waste' her money on a series of stupid stuffed animals at 6 and learn the value of money than to get to 21 and waste her money on a car and clothes that are too expensive and so she gets into debt up to her eyeballs.

Our ds gets $3 a week for allowance (he's 7, it'll go up to $4 when he's 8). 1/3 goes into giving, 1/3 into spending, 1/3 into savings. You can divide it up according to your family values.

At $1-$2 a week for him to spend, it takes a few weeks to get something. He REALLY wanted a stuffed penguin from the science museum. He had the $6.95, so I let him buy it. My thought was that the last thing he needs is another stuffed animal, but that wasn't his thought.

As for the tantrums, I think you can sympathize, say you know that she really wants X and it's hard to wait to save up. If the tantrums are too much for you/her, I'd find a way to shop when she's not around so that you're just not in that situation.

Another strategy that we use is to tell our kids to put things on their birthday/Christmas lists. We do this especially for larger items.

Finally, sometimes what they really want for is me to acknowledge how cool something is. If I look at it with them, talk about what they find interesting/fun about it, and say "that would be nice to have", they're often OK leaving it. It's possible that I have the world's least acquisitive children, and this won't work for everyone. But I think acknowledging the IDEA does help in some way.

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#5 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 08:05 PM
 
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Yes, one of ds's first purchases with his allowance was a giant bolt and nut from Home Depot . If it was *my* money he was asking to spend, I would have immediately said no, thinking it was silly and an impulse buy. Well, that bolt and nut was a favorite toy for a LONG TIME. It turned into a stoplight in his block village, a flute, he spent a bunch of time unscrewing and re-screwing the nut, watching how it went on the threads, it was a wizzard wand, a stirring stick for beans... Just goes to show what we think is a "bad" purchase to them is sometimes really thoughtful and important.

Let her choose... and make "mistakes" as well as appreciate working/saving for something she loves... That is the process of learning about money!
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#6 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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If earning money doesn't seem to work, what about simply working towards getting a specific item? You could let her draw a picture of what she wants and tell her (or if she does better with visual representations, make a chart) what she can do for how long to earn that item. A lot of times, a promise of money is too vague for children to feel truly motivated to work. Knowing exactly what you will get when your work is complete can really put a kid's butt in gear!

A bit of this, a bit of that... a mish-mash quilt of a mama to Oliver (2/3/05) and Lilah (2/5/07) and Silas (9/8/09) :
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#7 of 7 Old 03-29-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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I just bought the book Pickle Patch Bathtub because ds has been the same way (also age 6). We read the book today and I asked him about the story afterwards. He's on the autism spectrum but he still understood that if you want something bad enough, you have to work for it. You have to save up money...And that can take months.

We shall see if he truly understands the lesson the next time he sees something that he feels he must have.

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