Spoiled kids are the best. Am I right?
The other day I was scanning my 13yo daughter's cell phone messages. That's our deal, mind you, and everyone does their own deal differently. Our deal is that she can have a cell phone, but I get to see her messages and accounts whenever I ask. If I find that she has deleted anything, she doesn't get a phone. If she is being inappropriate or mean on any account or text, she doesn't get a phone. If she has her phone in her room past a certain hour at night, she doesn't get a phone. You get the idea. Good, kind, honest cellphone behavior means she can use her phone. Otherwise... no phone.
Should I mention here that she has a dumbphone? Oh yeah. An old school, slide phone that gets no wifi, no smartphone features, just a plain old calling and texting dumbphone. I tried to pump her up about it and told her that Rihanna uses a dumbphone. Rihanna! If that's not cool, I don't know what is. My daughter was not impressed. You see, she HAS a smartphone already. She uses it for her calculator, as her music player, to search vocab words, check the weather, use for a stopwatch and alarm clock, and she even has an Instagram account. But the difference in monthly phone charges on a smartphone and dumbphone is ridiculous. I would have to pay almost 4x as much for her to use the smartphone she already owns than I do for a new sliding dumbphone. Guess which option I chose? Oh, that's right, you already know.
I also search her smartphone every once in a while. See what she's been searching, what she's IM'ing on Instagram, stuff like that. I came across a group message she wrote on Instagram a few months ago to her friends about this horrible, ugly, ridiculous dumbphone that her mother got her. She hated it so much and she wanted to cry, but she didn't want to hurt MY feelings. Oh, how I tried to stifle my laughter as I read this message. I mean, I get it. When I was her age, I wanted a CD-playing Walkman more than almost anything. (Side note: I am OLD!) I had a CD-playing radio console and a tape-playing Walkman and my parents thought that was good enough. I felt so out of style and stupid. But, I made mix tapes from my CD-player and played that Walkman as loudly as I could. I faked it until I could buy my own CD-playing Walkman.
Kids come over to my house and tell me that they have the latest iPhones, iPads, gaming consoles, scooters, doo dahs, and thingamajigs. Which is cool, I guess. My kids have some cool stuff, too, but rarely the latest anything. Don't be mistaken, they have a lot of great things to play on, with, wear, read, and do. Having the latest for my kids is not my priority, though. Why? Because the latest ANYTHING and EVERYTHING lasts about ten minutes. Then the new and improved thingamabob comes out and your kid wants that one now. Well, tough luck, dudes.
I am not the most frugal person in the world, but we have GOT to stop spoiling our kids so much. They need to figure out that their cassette Walkman is just fine for now. They need to wait, earn, get creative, be patient, chill out. You know, old school-style:
Use it Up
Wear it Out
or Do Without
It's not bad advice. It's actually great advice. And if Rihanna is doing something super thrifty, use her as an example. But only for the dumbphone thing. Let's not get all crazy and suggest our kids do everything like Rihanna.
The best thing to spoil kids with is kisses and hugs and our support. Otherwise, spoiling kids is the worst!