What to do if your child asks for something expensive?

Updated: 4 days ago

There are only a few times in life when a younger sibling’s worth is genuinely appreciated. My older sister had one such epiphany about my worth recently when I was able to talk her fourteen-year-old daughter out of the latter’s demand for a semi-pro camera. Without anger or tears, my niece agreed to wait for a few years before making such a significant investment.

Even as I gloated over my ability to resolve my sister’s tough spot, the incident made me realise, yet again, that parenting is no easy task.

Parents must enable a child to understand the value of money, the necessity of prioritising expenses, and of saving. But it can be tough to figure out how to say no to your teenage kid, especially when affordability is not a concern.

Parents should not say yes to everything, stop overspending on kids, and while there is no one-size-fits-all solution, some of these ideas seem to work.

Some parenting hacks

1. Talking Instead of Ordering

Discussions with teenagers can fail spectacularly if parents refuse to treat their children as grown-ups. Whatever the reason for denying the child’s demand – whether it is the annual household expense exceeding the budget or that the child is still too young to own an expensive item – it is best to tell them in simple terms.

You should try to reason with kids and explain the logic of your decision. Try to become a cool parent than a strict one. If the teenager does not readily buy the logic, and most probably will not, it is essential to convince them patiently, don't be authoritative.

2. The Underlying Reason

It might be helpful to understand what is driving their need. If it is peer pressure, or an expectation to look ‘cool’ with a new gadget, it is critical to address the underlying issue rather than simply diffuse the current demand.

It can be more challenging when the child asks for something to learn from, like my niece, who thought she would improve her photography skills with a new camera. It could be good to explore cheaper alternatives in such cases and see if the interest lasts.

3. Involve family or friends

Finally, the simple act of having someone other than a parent talk to teenagers could also be helpful. A teenager’s tendency for rebellion could make them see parents as antagonists, and they might be more receptive if someone else explained an adults’ perspective. I think this is what worked with my niece, although I am not pointing it out to my gratitude-filled sister.

also read - how busy parents teach their kids about pocket money

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