Author Topic: My 11 yr old daughter is surrounded by kids who wear expensive brand name labels  (Read 13372 times)

It Figures

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I am really annoyed with the moms of my daughters friends.  My daughter is 11 and for the past three years the other girls have gone to school in the most expensive, trendy clothes, only for them to go out of style within 6 months.  I find it ridiculous that these parents allow this and actually encourage it.  I need help, advice, support...anything to help me with passing on my values regarding "things" to my children.  I can afford to buy her those things too, but I just won't.  Yet I don't want her to feel left out at school because of it. 

zinnie

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This is just a personal experience, but I grew up in a place where most of the other families did the same, and I was the one whose parents didn't buy me everything I wanted. Many girls carried Prada bags, had their own new cars right at 16, it was ridiculous. I did spend a lot of junior high and high school jealous, but I eventually found my way to a group of friends that didn't care so much about that stuff. And as soon as high school was over I realized that I was like my thrifty parents and not like those people, and the desires vanished.

Honestly, at that age when "fitting in" was the most important thing on the planet, I don't know that there would have been much my parents could have done to dissuade me from wanting those things. Their compromise was that they only bought me sensible clothes for the items I needed, and I got a couple of pieces I really wanted twice a year as birthday/ christmas gifts. I could also do whatever I wanted with my earned allowance, (most of which I of course spent on the "cool" clothing). But it didn't take me long to realize that you don't get very far on $10/week when you want expensive jeans and sweaters from j.crew. And as soon as I started working as a cashier at 16, I really realized how expensive these things were in comparison to the $200/week I was bringing home working full-time in the summer. By the time I started college I had a few thousand in savings that I had personally earned and it only grew from there.

So at least what worked with me was my parents passing on their values by how they lived (they taught me saving/ investing at a young age), and then letting me make my own choices about how to spend the money I got. I was so rebellious from probably 11-16 that I can't imagine ever taking a lecture to heart, and we all know that the brain still has a lot of developing to do at that age.

bdub

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Why are you annoyed at these other moms?  Do they not have the right to raise their kids as they see fit?

Sounds like you have a fantastic opportunity to teach your kid about priorities and needs vs. wants.  And, if she is excluded by these other kids, then you also get to teach her about true friendship.  These are important life lessons that she will need to learn one way or another.

Is she going to feel sad and be upset?  Of course, she is 11.  That is why you are the adult in this relationship.  Does it suck?  Yeah,  but raising kids isn't always fun.  Don't forget, in the end, you have the right to say "because I said so".  :)

velocistar237

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Maybe explain to her the trade-off, and let her make the decision about what to wear (within limits), as long as it fits in the budget. I shop at thrift stores, and right now, I'm wearing a $400 shirt that I got for $5.

twinge

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I tend to take a sort of Socratic approach in that I ask questions in as neutral a tone as possible about whatever things I sort of see coming in the peer group that are not really aligned with what I want for my 11 yr old. 
For my 11 year old boy, it seems to be more about fads in toys where you collect all x cards, figures, etc. (that he doesn't even really like but are popular and then become HATED and EMBARRASSING that you ever liked them back when you were younger--2 months ago).

So I would just ask him about what was popular, what they were like, what made them fun, how kids played with them etc. in a really neutral way (I actually find it interesting to find out what is going on in kid world so that helps that the questions are "real").  And then I just sort of ask questions that reminded him about things he really loved (e.g., Legos, building stuff with scrap wood, playing outside) and fun things he does with his friends etc (games they invent) and he usually comes to a conclusion "on his own" that whatever fad thing isn't that big of a deal to him and it seems to protect him from exclusion.  He now has a spontaneous defense system against fads that he usually comes up with and he has brought a few other kids to "his" side too.  This has helped him move too in regulating video game play/consumption etc.  He seems to be building up an ethos about what really makes him happy than fitting in (which seems to help actually with him fitting in as he is more confident...)

zoltani

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Maybe explain to her the trade-off, and let her make the decision about what to wear (within limits), as long as it fits in the budget. I shop at thrift stores, and right now, I'm wearing a $400 shirt that I got for $5.

+1

I am always amazed at how many pairs of $200+ jeans my wife has that she paid about $7 for....

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Maybe show her what a few dollars can do for charity too, pull up some of those "kid can be fed on $2/day" type things and show her what a difference you can make with your money.
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nolajo

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I feel for you and your daughter. I was that kid and it was rough - regardless of what people might quip, we all care about what others think of us. Twinge and Zinnie's suggestions seem like good ones and I would just advise you that it does get better. Middle school seemed to be (at least in my incredibly affluent area) when this stuff peaked. By high school there was more variety in experiences and income levels.

Adventine

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Apart from the excellent advice already given above by all the other posters, I think walking the walk is the best way to pass on your values to your children. Nothing is more effective than teaching by example. You and your husband can show your daughter by example how one can dress well without needing new brand-name stuff, and how happy in general a frugal lifestyle can be.

She's an 11 year old. She's going to be jealous of anyone who has shiny new stuff. She's going to want to fit it with the popular kids in school. But if you live out an alternative anti-consumerist lifestyle, and teach by example, eventually she'll mature and realize that the ~fashionable~ kids don't have it so good after all.

It Figures

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I really want to thank everyone for their advice and support.  And to those who gave some tough love I needed that too. I don't have friends who are trying to live a frugal lifestyle so I didn't have anyone to talk to.  I have to realize that there will always be other parents/kids who have different ways of living and I have to remain confident that I can raise my girls to be confident and happy with who they are and not what they have.

upnorth

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I would echo what RunningFromSpider said.  This is the approach I will take with my daughter when the time comes also. 

Sparky

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I remember growing up never wearing fancy designer clothing. I remember once wanting a "cool" Tshirt ( a No Fear brand one IIRC). I ended up with some sort of knock off Zellers (Canadian chain store) knock off instead and being made fun of it at school. Pretty much end my interest in any sort of fashion by the age of 10.

I think its a good thing for me in the long run though, my personal clothes are all cheap, ugly and old according to my mother/sister. Girlfriend doesn't give a damn about what I wear (as long as its cleanish). My work clothes cost me a pretty penny (I often require clothing that are fire retardant, 1000+ bucks for a set), but they make me money anyhow.

Guitarist

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I don't understand why you would want to spend that kind of money on kids who will outgrow those clothes within a matter of months.
I never understood fashion. I wanted clothes that looked good on me, but I was fine with cheap jeans (not cruddy looking, just inexpensive) and t-shirts through most of school. By the time I hit high school, people were paying over $100.00 for jeans with holes in them already! More power to them.

nolajo

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It's not really a matter of money, it's a matter of fitting in, which is pretty-freaking-important at that age. As her sense of self develops, fitting in won't matter quite as much, so I really think you're looking for some temporary fixes. I recall some book that my mother handed me at about that age called "How To Be Popular in the Sixth Grade" that was written by a slightly older girl who'd moved to a ritzy part of LA but was decidedly working class. It's not quite as ditzy as the title suggests - it was espousing a combination of developing decent character traits and getting creative when the material stuff really did feel important, if memory serves. It was newish when I needed it, about 15 years ago, but you might check for it at the library.   

It Figures

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Nolajo you are absolutely correct.  At this age, all she wants to do is fit in.  She is actually quite frugal herself, but I see how difficult it is when she wants something that others have.  I have taken the advice here and used this as a learning opportunity for both of us. 
Sparky my fellow Canadian, I am going to miss Zellers when it's gone, but at least we'll still have Giant Tiger which is Canadian owned and always has great deals

Parizade

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Time to go to the library and check out some teen fashion books. I've heard that Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Style: How to Find Your Perfect Look is a good choice.

You can work with her to understand what her personal style is, as opposed to the latest fad. Then look for one or two key pieces that are name brand and current. Jeans are a good choice, and a good cute jacket in a neutral color. Look at outlet stores or even Goodwill, it's amazing what people give away. But make sure they fit her well, or even spend a little to have a seamstress tweak the fit. Better yet, encourage her to learn sewing skills.

If she has a few really good pieces that she can wear regularly the rest of her wardrobe can be more ordinary. And she can buy inexpensive accessories as fads change. A bright scarf or bold jewelry is much cheaper than a whole outfit.

You might also want to show her photos of yourself and her father at her age, especially if you have any that reflect the fads or your youth. We all end up laughing at the crazy styles we thought were so important at the time.

fruplicity

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Love the "No Fear" reference Sparky!!! Oh all those crazy weird brands me and my classmates were obsessed with in the mid-to-early 90's... Co-Ed Naked, those white college sports hats, B.U.M. equipment, Levi's 501 jeans and "button your fly" t-shirts, adidas, Gap special edition denim, Puma, Hypercolor, drug rugs, penny loafers with the laces rolled in, Airwalks, Starter jackets, converse... ok I still love converse.

So if you can't tell by the ease with which I recited all those brands, I was also one of those kids who was obsessed with certain looks and felt so "lame" that I didn't have them all (Also I'm just a really nostalgic person). I basically didn't listen to a thing my parents said from maybe age 11-22. BUT their role modeling did way more than words probably ever could. But great suggestions about actually talking with your daughter not only about why she wants these things/thinks they're cool, but how to help her begin to make the connections between money and her wants/needs.

Fortunately as the 90's progressed it actually became pretty cool for girls to raid their father's closets/thrift stores and wear baggy/faded corduroys with layered t-shirts and flannel shirts. For those brief glory days, I was THE fashion icon among my friends. :)