On July 25, 2018 Citi Retail Services published the findings of their survey indicating that a parent’s bill for school supplies tends to be higher when their children help them shop. The post did not provide any solutions, just merely suggests it is a dilemma for parents.
I imagine most parents already knew this truth since we shop more than once a year. When my children were little I would leave them home with my husband on Sundays so that I could go to the Supermarket without the inconvenience of time lost “discussing” with my children why we weren’t going to buy each item they asked for. While my husband agreed to this arrangement, he only realized just what a service he was doing for both of us when I was expecting my youngest. One Sunday he kindly insisted I stay home and rest while he went shopping…with my other three girls. He came home four hours later, instead of my usual two hours, and had bought a few extra “treats”. However, school supplies and shoes were some of the shopping trips that I did insist on taking along my children.
Jeff Allen, whom I like for his clean and relatable comedy, has a routine he does about going shoe shopping with his teenage son. His son tells him he needs a pair of sneakers. Jeff asks how much the pair is? “$100” his son replies. “Son let me tell you the difference between wants and needs,” responds Jeff. “Unless you are Michael Jordan you will never need a $100 pair of gym shoes. Here’s 60 bucks. Now, what you need is $40.”
I felt it would have been quite a hassle to have a weekly “discussion” with my children about not getting everything they want, and I did not want to put myself in the position of caving in just to “get them off my back”. I also feel it is my obligation as a parent to teach my children fiscal responsibility and how to handle the disappointment of not getting what you want. I did not want my children gorging on junk food even if it was their own money they were wasting and so I avoided the inconvenience of a such a confrontation on a weekly basis. However, I was more than happy to let them get the school supplies they wanted as long as it was important enough to them to put their money where their mouth was. Sometimes they would decide yes and sometimes not but the choice was completely theirs as they were paying the difference between the plain Jane generic and the designer brands. I balanced responsibility with my limitations, and I took the opportunity to teach my children during sporadic excursions and avoid the inconvenience of regular confrontations.
What are some lost educational opportunities that you have sacrificed to convenience?