Why I Refuse to Buy a Bunch of Bratz (or Raise Any, Either)

Good parents love to see their kids happy. It's difficult not to get lost in the joy in their eyes when they get something they "always wanted". And it's hard not to get them "what they always wanted" without it morphing into more than one thing. Repeatedly. It's a tough balancing act between not wanting them to end up in therapy in twenty years versus not wanting to witness them rot to the core.

It took many a trip to ToysRUs before MJ and I decided it was time to stop the madness. We were reluctant to admit that our daughter was incapable of watching tv or taking a family trip to Target without clammoring for more plastic crap, and that something needed to be done.

Finally, I understood why my parents only bought toys for Christmas and birthdays. They weren't cheap, they just didn't want their kids to be spoiled.

But it's not an easy battle (just ask anyone who's ever taken a kid to FAO Schwarz). So for folks who still struggle against parental corporate consumerism, but don't know where to draw the line, see if this following example pertains to you:

Day One:
Child sees loud, crappy tv commercial on tv touting the virtues on some toy child doesn't already have. Child demands parent to watch commercial, claiming "See, mommy/daddy, that's it! That's (insert random toy's name here)! Can I get it? Can I get that...please?!

Day Two:
Parent remembers name of forementioned toy, and for whatever reason (love usually), buys it. Child is delighted to receive toy, takes it out of its packaging and immediately begins playing with it.

Day Three:
Child integrates toy into collection. Parents feel like good parents.

Day Four:
Random crap begins collecting dust.

Day Five:
Crap continues to collect dust as child watches tv, looking for new commercial selling another piece of random crap for parents to buy.

Is it just me, or is there a pattern forming here?

I want to raise children who that don't take things for granted not only because I want them to grow into kind, thoughtful people, but also for the good of the world (yes, it really is that deep to me). Because spoiled little kids who get everything they ask for run a severe risk of growing into selfish jackasses. They're the type of people who become corporate ceos, loan officers and grocery store managers who make folks go home and vent to their partners about some idiot who ruined their day. The type of people who make life hard for everybody else.

Because everything came to them just a little too easy.

How do you feel about the plethora of tv commercial aimed at our children and our wallets? How do you cope?


Saige said...

Though we probably wouldn't agree on certain issues, I love the way you tell it like it is. My sister always has always said she hates plastic. And how her children will never play with it. And I always agreed with her. But here I am, putting container after container of plastic away every day. How did it happen? Only having a 2 year old, I am just beginning the I-want-that-after-having-seen-a-commercial stage. Thank you for laying that warning out so plainly! I do not want to start that pattern.

Ginny said...

Even with out TV (They?We?) have an incredible lust for stuff. My soon to be 3 year old has a new item he wants weekly. Instead of being based on TV adds they are based on life (guitar, yellow diesel engine, rocketship, etc). His requests are so frequent he now answers his own questions with "maybe for your birthday"
G (confessions of a plastic purchaser)

queenlatreesa said...

First time on your blog, and I am hooked! My Wusband is just the type of selfish jackass you speak of! After ruining my days for 5 years, I finally had to admit that he was going to keep on taking because by god he Deserved It!

Thanks again to his overindulgent parents, who, by the way, have decided to keep ME and let him go in the divorce!

Dee said...

It's definitely a struggle. My 6 y/o is quite the little consumer, always thinking of what can be bought next. I really try to balance his needs and wants with our family philosophies. We donate and talk about charity and why people are more important than things...and then he asks if he can have a new hot wheels, hah.

Yolanda said...

You hit the nail on the preschooler consumerism cycle. We pretty much weaned him from regular tv- only letting him watch animated movies now and then. Of course on the weekend my dh likes cartoons too so he watches them with him and winds up asking for any and everything he sees (and if its a girl toy he insists his cousin really needs it). We talk about what he has and what he needs and one day he did turn down a toy my sister offered to buy him saying he already has enough toys so thank you (of course the next day he asked me if we cuoold go back to the store and buy it lol).