Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Okay, Talk to Me...

As I'm sure you are aware, a lot of Mommy bloggers are parents of young children. I think in a way, it is easier to write about your life when your children are younger. Those of us who are parents of older children walk a very fine line as we try to share our lives without invading our children's privacy. What that means, however, is that we have very little in the way of exchanging parenting information and advice. I think that stinks. So, without breaching any confidences and without embarrassing anyone, I am going to share with you a few of my parenting dilemmas in hopes that a) I'll discover I am really NOT alone in this and b) someone will have an amazing pearl of wisdom that will magically solve my problem(s).

Here is my dilemma today. How do we raise our children to fit in with their peers even as we want them to reject the "I have this cool gadget thing so I'm better than you" mentality that seems so pervasive. We know things shouldn't trump character, but the kids are blinded by the shiny things. The current gagdet setting the Middle School set on fire? An iPod Touch. Yep. In addition to cell phones from which you need to text incessantly, apparently cool factor is measured by possession of an iPod Touch--to the tune of $200-$300. Valiant doesn't want a cell phone for texting, but, man, is he lusting after an iPod Touch. He really, really wants one. There is just one little thing. He doesn't really want it for the applications (of which he knows very little). He really wants it because it is a cool little gadget that confers a certain status on the possessor's of said gadget. Never mind that he's the only kid in the neighborhood with a job and his would come out of his own money, while all the other children have parents who buy this stuff for their kids. Intellectually, my boy totally understands that these kids are riding on Mommy and Daddy's coattails and shouldn't be bragging, but the truth doesn't change anything. Kids want to appear "cool" in the eyes of other kids.

You and I both know that next year there will be the next "cool" thing and having an iPod touch will be a snooze, but the male teenage heart aches. The truth? My heart aches for him, even as I see how stupid it all is.

So tell me, bloggy world, what is a mother to do? Do I let him spend $200+ of his hard-earned money on this, knowing full well he'll wish he hadn't in two months? Do I stick to my guns and say, "you're going to want to drive in 2 years and you'll want a car". I know lots of you have older kids...I can't be the only one out there.


Tootsie said...

my kid is only 10 and he is going thru that same type thing...PS2-(we have) but $400 for a PS3?? and he has earned his own mowing grass...if he waits another year he could buy a PS4 and be able to play all the PS2 games on it...where as the PS3 won't play PS2 games on it!
I am just trying to hold him off as long as I can...it is his money right?
good luck

Anonymous said...

When #1 asked for one for Christmas, I explained that he could have it, since we'd be getting him something for Christmas anyway and he could have this or everything else on his list. DIdn't matter to me. BUT I would not be putting INTERNET on the thing. He'd have to purchase that himself to the tune of about $40-60 a month. He decided a cell phone would work fine for him. I don't know a lot about the things but it seems to me that they are able to do a lot of things that cellphones, video games, etc can do all rolled into one. However, he needs to do his homework and see how much it is going to REALLY cost him. Most plans won't even allow you to activate it without the INTERNET option activated as well. What is that going to cost him on his cell phone plan? How much is texting going to cost? How much is being cool going to really cost him over the course of the next year. Then if he feels it is worth it, I say it's his money, let him do it. That's part of them learning to be responsible, is learning to do stupid stuff with their money as well. But he needs to know UPFRONT all the costs of this contract so that he doesn't get blindsighted by large bills and a contract he can't get out of.

Five Moms & A Blog said...

We never bought our kids nintendos and things that all the other kids had. We just didn't want to spend the money.

So the kids enjoy playing with them over at their friend's house and we enjoyed not having to have one more electronic item that the kids wanted.

Eventually somebody gave them a Nintendo.

I am not really sure how we'd handle this. $200 is alot of money. We always made our sons think for awhile before they spent money.

Our youngest was saving to buy a play-station or something electronic and found one at the pawn show. I don't remember how much it cost but we let him buy it as he'd been saving for quite awhile for it.

I do know that, for me, I would not allow my fourteen year old to have an itouch, or whatever it's called. At least, not without a filter on it. My son got one at 16 but only because his brother bought it for him.

If you really believe he'll tire of it, then I wouldn't let him buy it. To bad you don't know somebody that'll let him borrow one, and see how quickly he'd tire of it!

~ Nan

Erin said...

Well, so far, you're all pretty much pointing out my concerns: a) it is a LOT of money and b) I get to make the final decision. For now, I'm sticking to my guns and telling him he'll have to dream for a long while before I'll change my mind. Thanks for sharing your opinions...I appreciate it.

Alicia said...

Hi Erin!!!

I can totally relate to the ITouch craze!

Let me start by saying that my oldest son has ALWAYS been into video consoles since he was 5 years old.

Thanks to a generous aunt, she has bought him a couple of his current consoles. There is no way I would spend $400 on one!

Anyway..earlier this year he had $100 and he was wanting the Itouch sooo bad. He would even YouTube the Itouch tutorial!!

Long story short, we told him we'd chip in the difference and it would be an early bday gift.

Anyway..he would not get tired of it BUT, and this is a big BUT, I had to put a passcode for the internet and YouTube application on it. We have Wi-Fi at home so he could get online on the ITouch whenever he wanted. Well, that is totally not okay w/ us. Too much temptation out there for an teen boy!!!!

Okay..long story short (again), I really don't see a point to the Itouch if you can't get online. The applications are just regular games you can get anywhere. I think it's a waste of money (for kids).

Oh..and with that said, we took it away from him a couple of months ago until he proves he can be repsonsible by doing his schoolwork, etc. But, he's not really wanting it back because he can't do much with it.

He's the perfect example. He wanted it soooooo bad, but it's something he could do w/out. He doesn't even ask for it back.

Deb said...

Oh yes, I've been here, over and over again. My 2 are 18 and 16 and both jobs. Even before jobs, they got an allowance (not a big one, just enough to learn how to manage their money). As hard as it will be to do...and it is....if your child wants something trendy and expensive, let him spend his money to get it. Sure, you and I know that in a couple of months he'll regret it, but better to learn those lessons now under the protection of mom and dad, than to learn them when you have a mortgage and a light bill due.
Teens are tough--fun, but tough. Standing by and watching them make the wrong decisions even after you've counseled them in the right way to go is the hardest yet.
Hope this helps!

Valiant said...

Well it is not entirely true that I want it because it is cool. And i do know quite a bit about the applications and stuff I got to watch the neighbor show off his to everyone so I learned that much.( which is quite a bit)I am still thinking that the nano might be a better choice but I am not sure.

loveaphid said...

Valiant listen to your Aunt Katie, get the new Nano, you can watch tv and movies on it and carry your music around with you. They aren't really updating the iTouch the way they are the iPhone (like no Camera in it) Your Uncle Fig thinks that this points to Apple not supporting the iTouch too much because they want people to use the iPhone instead. You can spend less of your money on the Nano and enjoy many similar features. Besides you know that there will be a better iTouch available in a short time frame and you might have saved more money by that time. Uncle Fig refuses to by an iTouch with out the camera and a GPS in it, because he thinks these things should be a basic function of the iTouch. At the very least I'd hold out for the Camera. Oh and you can get on the internet with out a plan on the iTouch as long as you are near a Wi-Fi source, but you know that your mom is not going to let you have free reign on the internet. So you would be shelling out cash for something you really would not be able to use.