My son came home after his play time last evening and said,
“Amma, Looks like Amar uncle(name changed) gets more salary than Appa” (Amar uncle is my husband’s colleague)
Taken aback by his innocent statement and tone, equally wondering why he was bothered about the salary, I asked him “ en da?” (Why man?)
My son said " because only Ritwik(name changed) has an iphone and a GM bat" (Gun and Moore- branded cricket bat).
Now Ritwik is in Class 5 and brings his iphone while he comes down to play within the complex.This time I was not shocked because that is how parents spend on children today.
Though there are parents like this, there are some parents like us who are not brand conscious especially when it comes to children’s toys, gaming equipments and clothing.
When we buy our children’s items, we keep in mind their comfort, style and to a certain extent durability especially with their dresses and play equipments. They outgrow their dresses very quickly( 6 months max) and buying a high-end label is more expensive compared to mid- range brands. Moreover all those Tirupur cottons and mid range brands are much more durable and good for casual wear and not mass produced like the branded wear, where you have the same design starting from 0 size to 34 size.
Same with play equipments, they outgrow them too. When it's IPL time they play cricket, football season they play football, other times they are busy with beyblades( chinese version of olden day spinning top), bakugans(again similar to chinese version of goli(marbles).
If there is one thing, that we as parents don’t compromise, It's the quality of sports shoes they wear. We prefer good shoes since it is a question of comfort while running, playing and foot growth.
But how does it matter with a bat?
You don’t need a ‘kookaburra’ or GM bat to hit a six or four. You can always throw a ‘6’ or sweep a ‘4’ with mid range bats, all that matters is your technique.
Children of today have to be taught the value of money else they treat money like tissue paper. Since young we have taught our kids ‘Money value’ than ‘brand value’. Though we can afford some comforts, we have purposely avoided(not deprived, depriving we feel could turn children aggressive) so that my children must be used to disappointments and discomforts like living in non-ac, travelling by bus etc., and also getting used to disappointments and failures develops their mental strength at an young age. Their mind gets seasoned to failures and disappointments when they face the competitive adult world.
I live in a place where there are enough children to raise 10 foot ball or cricket teams. All these children come from diverse backgrounds and culture. There is lot of peer learning and peer pressure. Now you can’t except every parent to share the same thoughts or teach their child the value of money, especially some parents believe in buying material comforts especially the branded ones available at exorbitant rates for their children to compensate for the quality time they can spend with their child and for the pressure they feel at school. The children in turn flash it amongst their peers to show their superiority. We can’t blame those parents either who feel guilty for not spending time. Added to this are all those advertisements on TV which are specially aimed at children. I know their job is to sell their products, but as parent we have a responsibility to keep our children from all those marketing and peer pressure. Sometimes I feel like telling them "Come on people,Let them be children, all they need is time, love,values not material".
When we start giving in to their demands and meet their wants, there comes a time in their life when they are not able to accept “No” as an answer and then they take the extreme step.They have to learn to deal with peer pressure too . No point in shielding them against TV and peer pressure.
My friend once told me of a school going girl in Delhi. She committed suicide because her dad sent her to school in a santro car and not in a sedan car like her peers. She pestered her dad to send her in a sedan car but her middle class parents who worked hard and raised a loan to send her to this upmarket school and met all her tantrums could not give in to this demand and the result was there in the paper next day “ "School going girl commits suicide because dad can’t afford Sedan ”
Another recent report which I read last week in the Hyderabad edition of 'The Hindu' stated that “15 year old student dies because father buys her a Chinese mobile instead of Nokia”. Not a healthy trend.
Under these circumstances, today’s parenting is an art. There are times when we as parents are on the crossroads, should we indulge and pamper our children or should we ration their wants and comforts to drive the fact that nothing comes easy in life and everything is hard earned.
But thankfully I’m blessed with children who know the value of money and can live in less comfort too.
Sometimes when I myself go overboard carried by the stirrings of my maternal love, I’m grounded by my children who tell me ‘Amma, you pamper us too much. Don’t waste money and Please be little strict’
Sometimes, I question my son "Do you feel like owning a GM bat?" He answers, " No ma, it is simply waste of money".
Here it is not the question of spending power, its the question of values.