From last week’s blog, one subject that came up is the issue of the cultural pressure Parents face today.
All too often I will hear Parents remark on the huge cultural pressure that they are often subjected to by their Children. With this I mean all the variations on the statement: ‘’ why can I not have this/do this/buy this- because EVERYBODY ELSE DOES.””
In other words Children are incessantly bombarding their Parents with arguments that make the Parents feel like ‘’all the other Parents’’ give in to every wish the child has, all the other kids at school have brand new iPhones, the latest fashion, all the games they want and so on.
Rationally we all know that this is ridiculous. Yet, emotionally, Children are experts at manipulating us emotionally, as we love them and are very concerned with their well being.
Children, being dependent, have less power, and so manipulating is one form of power they can wield, and wield it they do!
How do parents handle cultural pressure and manipulation?
So, how do we as Parents stay our own course, and stop from being swayed in all directions by the (often heartbreaking and very convincing) pleas of our children?
I recall my mother always saying, well if the neighbors children were to jump of a bridge, would you? This being a very simple and effective manner of saying: what they do and have is what they do and have and it does not apply to you!
Depending on their age, another valuable tool that you have at your disposal is using the urgent pleas for whatever consumer item it is that your children are clamouring for, as an opportunity to help them find ways to generate funds, so that they can help in the purchase.
What I always tell Parents is this: as entrepreneurs or as employees, or simply due to being an adult, it is natural to purchase the newest tablet, smartphone or computer. How is it possible that you being a child entitle you to the same products?
I know, old fashioned right…but its true….who said it is normal that children and teenagers have the same expensive gadgets as adults do? Marketers, that’s who! And for that matter, who says you need to buy any/every new luxury item anyway? I know several people who still use old Nokia phones and are very relaxed without all the practical and also maddening smart phones.
Related to peer cultural pressure; One problem many Parents face is lack of time, and related to this, they (unconsciously) feel guilty. As soon as you feel guilty there are two problems. The first one is that Children sense that you feel guilty and will start manipulating you and/or compensating for your guilt. Secondly you will tend to make up for the lack of time spent together with gifts: wonderful as gifts can be, all your child wants is your time, or rather your conscious presence!
So, turn off your computer, turn off your tablet, turn off your phone, put away your credit card and just simply hang out with your child(ren).
I wish you Happy Parenting!