It’s That Time Again!

While I am tanned from the great weather, have pretty much been living in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops all summer, make no mistake, my mind is very quickly moving to the “back to school” mode.

Yes, sorry to burst your bubble but school is fast approaching and as if we didn’t spend enough money this summer readying our children for camp and ultimately sending them on their merry way, we now have to get them prepared for school….whatever that entails.

I know what it used to mean: fresh haircuts, new jeans, new runners, new knapsack, lunch bag, binders and all of that crap.

These days it means all of the above and many other things including: new laptops, tablets, IPhones and all other gadget and gizmo that will supposedly give a kid every advantage possible to perform in school. I think all these toys give a kid every distraction in the world to take them away from their studies.

Do kids really do better in school with new clothing, runners and knapsacks?

Whatever happened to the old rule of “making due”.

Considering many of us do not have unlimited resources and are tapped out from the whole camp thing…I am a huge fan of taking stock of what is already “in house”, doing a full review of our children’s wardrobes and thinking long and hard about what they really “need” versus what they really “want”.

I don’t think we excessively indulge our children. After all, they don’t need the best of everything because everything usually needs replacing every few years anyway…so why waste the money?

However, we do get them things they need…sometimes throwing in a little taste of what they “want” (but not too often).

I was actually pleasantly surprised when my 14 year old, who is the family primadonna, wanted us to go to a thrift store to help her look for clothing. She said that she was into “vintage” clothing for her back to school look.

We got into the car and drove to Value Village, the last place on earth that I would ever imagine to find my 14 year old. For the record, I am NOT knocking Value Village. It is a great concept and most certainly serves a need.

Considering some of the girls she has associated with, I was shocked that she really wanted to go to Value Village.

$23 later, she walked out with a bunch of tops, sweat shirts and sweaters that all directly went into the washing machine.

Neither my wife nor I encouraged my daughter to shop at Value Village (usually, her stores of choice are all the usual ones that every teenaged girl enjoys shopping at). But there she was, rummaging through the racks with a smile on her face.

Spoiling our children is a “no-no”. We parents must say no…often. Saying no gets harder as children grow up and begin to covet some hefty big ticket items (compared to when they are little guys who don’t know so much from Apple versus Acer or Nike versus Champion).

My biggest accomplishment with my 14 year occurred last year when she originally was eyeing a Canada Goose jacket and new pair of UGGS (by my calculations, if my daughter wore both of these articles of clothing at the same time, she would have almost $1000 worth of clothing on her…and she is only 14!!).

She saw the logic in my thinking when I pointed out to her that Canada Goose jackets and UGGS when worn together are like a uniform. It seemed to me that every girl looked exactly the same, wearing the same uniform…complimented by Lululemon yoga pants and Aritiza sweatshirts.

I asked her if she wanted to look like everybody else or did she want to create her own, unique look.

She paused and nodded her head. “Yeah Dad…they all do like kind of the same. I want to look like me, not like everybody else”.

She got it. She understood where I was coming from. She managed very well that winter in her Lands End winter coat and Sorels.

Get your kids what they need…not what they want. Reasoning with them won’t be easy, but who said parenting was easy?

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About theenlightenedmale

Stephen Gosewich is an aspiring enlightened male. He spends his days during the week as a guy working in real estate. At all other times, he just enjoys hanging out with his wonder best friend and wife and their two very active and inspiring daughters. Steve has supplied blogs to The Good Men Project, Village Living Magazine (print/online) and has been the "Daddy Blogger" at pinkandbluebaby.com. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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