Do You Buy The Children all the Gadgets They Want?
Published: 17 August 2012 By Julian Stone Leave a Comment
Mums and Dads have become ‘Give-In’ parents whereby they buy their children gifts whenever they ask for them, rather than making them wait until they have ‘earned’ the right to have the gift. Are you such parents? Do you agree with this style of parenting?
Research by Skipton Building Society shows that parents spend almost £500 a year making sure their children ‘fit in’ at school, feeling compelled to buy them exactly the same toys, clothes and gadgets as their friends.
A staggering 60% of parents buy the latest trends and collectables as soon as they are asked for, deserved or not. Some 17% say they do this to avoid their children being disappointed that they can’t keep up with the friends and have what they perceive to be the best of everything.
Another reason for splashing out on gifts is that parents feel guilty for working long hours. They also do so as bribery and encouragement for doing homework.
Tracy Fletcher, Head of Corporate Communications, said: “Parents are naturally concerned about their children having strong friendships, and feeling part of their peer group both in and out of school.
“And if they think they can help the child become more popular, they will.
“Unfortunately, this seems to mean spending endless amounts of money on playground crazes, collectables, latest trends in fashion and gadgets.
“This instant gratification could have consequences in the future, though, as children will grow up without grasping the real value of money, or learning how to manage it effectively.”
According to the research, the top ‘Give In’ purchases, split by age, are
AGE 5-9 AGE 10-12 AGE 13-15
Ben 10 toys Clothes iPhone
Nike trainers iPhone Mobile phone
Moshi monsters Xbox games All computer games
Lego Football boots DVDs
Magazines iPod iPad
Football stickers Books Mobile phone apps
Adidas trainers Gadgets Blackberry
Nintendo DS games PS3 games Nike trainers
Computer games Dr Who toys Clothes
Sweets Magazines Adidas trainers
Over half of mums and dads claim their child is much more spoilt than they were at their age and, in the past, their parents would only have treated them to new toys and games for birthdays and Christmas.
Many believe their children must have televisions in their bedroom, handheld games consoles, laptops and smart phones.
It’s not just abut buying gifts though. Parents are also forking out hundreds of pounds on pocket money with children as young as five are receiving more than £2.50 a week, and just under a fiver for teenagers.
Tracy continued: “We’ve been living through a credit crunch for four years now which, although difficult, could also result in youngsters better understanding how important it is to spend and save money wisely.
“As with many things in life, however, while a quick fix like buying a gift or treat might provide a temporary solution to an issue, it could also give rise to greater problems in the future.
“Although saying no can be really hard, it’s an important lesson in life which could help ensure our children are prepared for when they’re older and have to make ends meet for themselves.”
MoneyHighStreet comments: “It really is quite surprising and concerning to learn the results of this research. How can parents balance the need to be tough on their own budget in these difficult economic times and yet pay out enormous sums on their children by buying gifts at any time of the year?
“It doesn’t seem to make sense to us here at MoneyHighStreet.
“Of even more concern though is what is this behaviour teaching the children? Surely it is better to teach them that in order to have new or nice to have things, you need to save money and earn the right to have them. As Tracy says this will help them in later life.
“One of our team here comments that when she was growing up she did not have gifts forever showered on her. She wasn’t immediately bought any gadgets she decided on a whim that she wanted.
“Instead, birthdays and christmas were a time to receive presents. In between she might earn the right to get something special, perhaps through a good school report or for doing something extra special to help around the house.
“Over time this became the norm and therefore she, and her brothers, didn’t expect to get new things all the time, rather accepted that there was a time when she would receive them which all were happy to accept. When there was the odd gift bought as a surprise it was really exciting and enjoyable to have.
“She learnt at an early age too that it was good to save money and not spend all that she had – ‘spend a little, save a little, was a favourite phrase of her Grandma, something she is now trying to instill into her own children.
“Waiting for something or earning the right to have something can help you appreciate it all the more when you get it.”