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Would You Refuse To Buy Your Children Anything for an Entire Year?

Posted by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM
  • 8 Replies

Mom Refuses to Buy Son Anything for a Whole Year

Posted by Jeanne Sager

kid with stickers
Yup, it's STUFF!
Am I the only one who thinks the backlash against consumerist kids has jumped the shark? I get it: kids do not need one million and one toys to be happy! But now we have a mom who is going on record to say that she will not buy her son a single thing in 2013.

No new toys. No new clothes. Not even a haircut!

Thrifty mama Hattie Garlick is going to require her boy make do with hand-me-downs, and he'll only get to eat what Mom and Dad are eating. Oh, and no costly experiences for this kiddo. No sirree bob, he's going to have everything done at home in "activities concocted at home instead of at soft-play centres."

Ah yes, because anything purchased or done outside of the home is obviously part and parcel of being a sheep herded along the consumerist path. Buy a kid a toy, and you're turning them into a materialist! It couldn't be, perhaps, that those of us who spend for our kids want to foster their specific interests and likes, to let them know that although they are small, they too are special.

Ironically, Garlick tells of how this grand plan to cut out "kiddy consumerism" came to be: she bought her son a water pistol which he happened to love.

The toy gun was simple and cheap. But still, it was purchased, wasn't it? And yet, under Garlick's new plan, she won't be able to give her son such a simple joy.

I look around my daughter's playroom, and I too want to throw up my hands at the sheer gluttony. She doesn't need all those LEGOs or My Little Ponys! I'm forever giving my husband the evil eye for indulging her with little gifts. And I'll even admit to a secret relief when the puppy has destroyed this or that because it's one less "thing" we need to hold onto.

There I agree with Garlick. Kids don't need so much stuff!

Where I don't agree is in the decision to cut back on that "stuff" to the point where kids are being sent a message not about the evils of consumerism -- which you'll have to admit is pretty vague and nebulous and way over a kid's head -- but that their likes, dislikes, interests are not as important as their parents. 

We show our kids love by letting them know that they count. And while I wouldn't suggest "buying" a kid's love per se, buying them things is certainly a form of love -- it shows a child that we care enough to let them explore their own loves and desires.

Kids don't need a million toys. But there's nothing wrong with a few select toys that they really enjoy, no reason they shouldn't get to pick out a few books that they can read over and over and over again instead of bidding them bye bye on library return day. Presents purchased are presents they can return to.

In that playroom are things that my daughter adores, that she plays with, that she treasures. And in the way that I expect her to respect "my things," I have to respect hers too. There are the art supplies that bring out her creativity and the stuffed animals that she cuddles close at night. There are the books she pages through night after night.

It's just stuff. But it's HER stuff, and she deserves it ... just as much as I deserve that new pair of shoes.

Would you go on a buying strike like this mom or are you content shelling out for your kid?

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM
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Replies (1-8):
by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM
Not personal care things like haircuts or school clothes that are needed. My kids have enough stuff to last years so toys and electronics we could go without buying for a year or so.
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by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 9:56 AM

If I felt I needed to, sure.  We cut their hair at home (except the girl), so that wouldn't be a major loss.  And it didn't say no toys or clothes at all, it said no *new* toys and no *new* clothes.  So thrift and consignment shopping is probably what that mom is doing.  I do that occasionally anyway.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification"  Romans 14:19

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM

No, at least not now. I have a 5 year old who actually appreciates what we buy, and since I don't over endulge him its not really an issue. Anything we buy outside of Christmas and Birthday he earns. From his allowence or if he did really well in school, maybe made manner of the month, he works for it , being good in school, home, gettting good grades. So we have started teaching him you don't get stuff for free in life. Care stuff, wow, yea thats a must, he has to have a haircut at least every month, due to school regulations.

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Let me see ya I think I could do that!! but only with toys and electronic stuff.. I actually just told my children yesterday that they were not getting no more toys because me and my fiance bought my 8 and 7 year old so many toys for Christmas stuff that they asked for and they have not even attemped to play with any of the toys we got them...

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:56 AM
I think we do a balance. I find her stance extreme.
by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 3:29 PM

I think that is a little extreme and not for me. I buy my kids things and i do not think that its making them evil. Being a commuser is not a bad or evil thing if done in moderation. 

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:53 PM

I don't know if I could go that long. My kids aren't spoiled. The only time I purchase toys for them is for their birthdays or Christmas.  My kids also grow like weeds so I have to purchase them clothing and shoes at least once or twice a year.

by on Jan. 20, 2013 at 1:43 AM

I'm not really a fan of extremes on either end of the spectrum. I am always trying to find ways to teach my children to be responsible consumers. Cutting it out completely doesn't seem like it would teach them any life long lessons.... but who knows.

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