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Get Kids to Help Save for Frivolous Items

By Jodie Lynn


In today's economy, I see parents working two and three jobs each to buy their kids things that they really don't need. Who is watching and raising their children? Why do parents feel the need to be sure that their kids always have the best and newest items? What are we teaching them? What do I say when I am trying to teach my own kids to go without?


If your kids are young, they probably won't notice having to cut back on buying things. If they are older, just explain the situation and do what you can. My son is 12 and now does chores for the elderly people in our neighborhood. This provides him with spending money and has taught him the value of a dollar. Don't worry about what other people are doing and don't feel guilty. As usual, their kids will be the losers in the end when it comes time to tighten their own budgets as adults. - Randy and Janice P. in Kalamazoo, MI


There are always going to be parents who feel it's necessary to get their children every popular toy or fad accessory. It's a lifestyle that is all over the place, especially among upper middle class families. It's sad that they are motivated by the almighty dollar and even sadder that they run themselves ragged doing anything and everything just to meet these unnecessary choices. Of course, it is much easier for younger children to adjust, since expensive wants and peer pressure haven't really entered the picture for them. Unfortunately, as the kids get older it makes things more difficult for the parents who choose to cut back in various areas. Something you might want to consider is when your children ask for a specific item for a birthday or Christmas gift and it happens to be something you consider frivolous, have them help you save for it. Maybe offer chores around the house or yard that they can handle and encourage them to save their allowance for it. Tell them you will pay for half and they can pay half, if this is feasible. Everyone, old and young, appreciates products and items that they themselves help to pay for. It is usually taken better care of and lasts longer. Later in life they will hopefully be able to apply lessons learned and perhaps be a more money savvy adult when they are grown.

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My 10-year-old daughter has temper tantrums. She will throw up her arms and walk away screaming when she doesn't get her way, even in the mall. How do I handle these outbursts calmly?

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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