Fill the need, not the brand name. When Maureen’s daughter wanted boots that cost about $200 a pair, Maureen found a similar pair at a local discount store for about $25. “I told my daughter that I would buy the $25 boots, because I recognized she needed boots,” she says. “But if she wanted the brand name ones, she could put my $25 toward those boots and make up the difference herself. She chose the less expensive boots.”
Give it time. Nancy, mother of two, has noticed that simply putting a day in between the child’s request and the parent’s response decreases the urgency of the request. “Addie constantly wants the newest app and, of course, not the free ones,” Nancy says. “I ask her if she will want it as badly tomorrow as she seems to want it today. Many times, a day of waiting makes her realize it’s not that big of a deal.”
Carol, mother of four, says that it is through making mistakes with their impulse buying that her children have learned to be more thoughtful: “When our kids receive gift cards for Christmas or their birthday, I actually let them use them how they want. When our one daughter was younger, she would want to go to the store right away and spend the whole gift card. I let her. Within a week or so she was lamenting her quick decision—especially when just a week later she saw the same item on sale. She has now learned to give more thought to how she uses gift cards, many times saving them until she sees a sale or after really thinking about whether or not she needs whatever item she’s looking at buying.”
Redefine wealth. Brigid and Bob, parents of four, verbalize to their children how much the family has, in this way: “We often remind our children that we are very rich indeed; we have everything that money can’t buy: good health and healthy relationships.”
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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