I have a daughter who had a love of stuffed animals. Yesterday we went through
the room that is chock-a-block stuffed animals and she reorganised them and we
tucked some out of the way, but she hasn't had a new stuffed animal in a long
time. When she was younger, though, she liked getting lots of different stuffed
animals. I had moments like you speak of, I felt like it was too much money for
such a collection. But, over time, and with perspective, I realised that she was
getting more and more discerning about where she spent her money. And it was
really important to me that she had her own money. It gave me the freedom to say
yes or to say no to something and still let her choose to get it.
Linnaea and Simon, who have had their purchases supported to the best of David's
income's ability, are both more likely to say no to an offer of something than
yes. They make decisions based so much more on what they want then I did as an
11 year old or as a 14 year old. Actually, they've got me bested long into my
adult years. They don't feel the need that I felt to have a treat. They both
have money from their allowance that they haven't spent. I think saying yes to
them when they were younger really set them up to see the value in both money
and what they want.
Maybe that's unrelated, maybe saying yes to what they wanted in lots of their
lives, yes to playing a game, yes to a bath, yes to going to the park, yes to
swimming, yes to another book, yes to watching that movie, yes to that stuffed
animal, yes to that sword, yes to bouncing on the trampoline with them, maybe
all of those yesses lead to two children who don't feel needy enough to look for
their happiness in lots of stuff. It isn't that they don't want stuff or buy
stuff. They get video games, and Linnaea likes certain kinds of clothes from a
specific store, but they are really discerning of what they want and how much it
costs. Maybe that discernment comes from a lack of need.
You can look for more ways to fulfil her desire for stuffed animals, but don't
look at her as though she is spoiled or too demanding or as though you are too
soft. Give as generously as you can. I think it is a good thing to do.
From: DaBreeze21 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, 26 April, 2011 18:06:55
Subject: [AlwaysLearning] Advice on handling Big Wants in a positive way
Once again I am struggling with an issue and would love some of your
advice/opinions. My daughter is 4 (will be 5 in July) and over the past year her
desire to buy and receive new toys has grown a lot. We first started noticing
this past fall. We've always been pretty laid back and generous about getting
her things especially when we are "out and about" but she really started
actively asking for more toys. It seemed like every commercial she saw on TV she
wanted the toy (I know it really wasn't EVERY toy, it just felt like it).
It was feeling disingenuous to put her off by saying "at Christmas you can get
that" which seemed to satisfy when she was littler. So we started an allowance
around Thanksgiving time - she is getting $3 a week. We also usually have her
save up for half of something and pay the other half. This seems to be working
pretty well. I spreads our purchases out, and she is learning a lot.
I feel like I/we (my husband and I) are still struggling a little though. I have
a lot of conflicting thoughts/feelings inside. For instance today we went to the
mall and she ended up getting a pair of $5 sunglasses and a stuffed animal
(unicorn) for about $20. To do this we had to "use" this coming Friday's
allowance which means we shouldn't purchase anything for a while now. I was with
my mom and I can tell that she thinks we buy her too much so I'm sure that is
influencing how I feel (a little guilty, like I "gave in" or am a softy etc.) My
mom and I are close and I do value her opinion a lot. Also we already have many,
MANY stuffed animals but I am trying to appreciate that is her love and also
that she should spend her money as she chooses.
This is getting long and is a bit vague. I guess I'm still unsure where my
boundaries are on this issue. When to say no? when to say not today? How to
support her and be generous without going overboard? I also know that there are
no "right" answers and that we have to work out in our family what is right for
us financially etc. I do know that the outlook I am trying to embrace is once
again NOT the mainstream and I really value the perspectives I get on this list,
so any advice or experience with what has worked with your family would be
greatly appreciated. I think I've read before about people that have kids with
"big wants" and how to be positive about it. I don't see how making her feel bad
about it or her feeling like we say no all the time can be good for her or our
Thanks in advance!