Friday, February 13, 2009

When saying "No" is going to start a war... is a good thing parenting isn't a popularity contest.

Superman and I have come to a decision that is going to make Valiant (especially) and Buttercup extremely unhappy. I might even be so bold as to say that are going to be angry, rail at how unfair we are, how out of touch we are, and how generally how unreasonable we are. There will be tears and foot stomping, but to no avail...we have decided and that is going to be that.

What will this epic battle be over? Something simple, really. We have decided that we will not let the children spend any more of their money (gifted or hard-earned) on Webkinz - period. Why? Because after careful consideration, the Webkinz business model, like Pokemon and YuGiOh before it, is in direct conflict with the values we are trying to instill in our children. Namely, more is not always better, just because something is popular doesn't make it worthwhile, and buying something today just because it won't have be available tomorrow isn't a good enough reason.

Webkinz is a worldwide phenomenon. Webkinz is also, in my opinion, a racket that my children (and millions of other children) cheerfully throw their money into. For those of you lucky enough to not know about Webkinz, let me explain how it works: You have to buy a certain type of stuffed animal (a Webkinz) to get a code that allows you to play an online game. Once you are online, the more animals you have, the more access you have to the game. Then, to add to the mix, they have web-only animals (that's right, no toy) that cost just as much as one of the stuffed animals that give you more and a different access to the game. The kicker? The stuffes animals cost between $8 and $16 EACH. After Christmas, my children used a large portion of their Christmas money to buy these Webkinz - do the math, they each have four or five of these things - and, at that point, I put a stop to it. Enough is enough, I thought, we're done. Well, here we are, less than two months later, and they need more Webkinz and we're going to tell them "no".

Now, don't get me wrong. Up to a certain extent, I am completely in favor of spending a small percentage of your income on entertainment and I am not going to decide for you what entertainment you choose (obviously, within reason). At this point, however, winter is almost over. Internet time is winding down, and I think this is a poor use of their money. So, Valiant is going to pull the "it is my birthday card" because he'll be 13 on Monday and Buttercup is going to pull the "friends are doing it, too" card to no avail.

When I'm tempted to give in, I'll just remember that my job is not to be their best buddy, their nicest friend, or a generous aunt. No, my job is to raise capable adults who have the skills to lead adult lives, even if the journey isn't always fun. It is a good thing parenting is not a popularity contest because I don't think I'll get anyone's vote this weekend.


loveaphid said...

Having sold these things for three months I can tell you they are very annoying. And the reality is that idea that some may be unavailable is so manufactured it is terrible. The company actually measures out how many they send the product to keep certain ones more popular than others. This is starting kids young on the whole collectibles band wagon. These same kids will grow-up with shelves of snowbabies and precious moments figurines.

Clark said...

I think this also goes back to the whole "collector" thing. We need to teach our kids not to buy things just to have them. It is just plain wasteful.

Anonymous said...

I am in the doghouse for going on a date with Hubby while #2 babysat and didn't get to go see Friday the 13th with her friends, despite the fact that she had a temp of 101 when we got home. She was so mad it's possible the temperature was just anger, but with a temp that high she had no business going to the movies.

I don't mind #3 playing with webkins, but we have tried to limit the number she buys as well and explained to her that free access to a website where you pay for the code, is NOT free access. She's 11, so the interest is starting to fade anyway. And like you said summer is coming and we'll be in the pool most of the day.

So what you planing on doing while your two pout? LOL

Anonymous said...

When I posted the last comment, the code word was Bratru. Get it Brat are you?

Erin said...