"No one wears Skechers anymore," one of my preteens said the other day.
The other two chimed in with "Nope" and "Not uh" then a resounding three-party, "No!" when I said, "Really?! Come on."
This is a conversation many parents are regularly having with their children; a conversation that you're probably all-too familiar with. And, more than likely, have recently had with a child or two given the fact that school is back in session or soon will be for some.
This is not my first rodeo with preteen children. My oldest daughter is 25, but I didn't have to worry about whether she wanted to wear name-brand clothing or not. Amber had no desire to wear something that everyone else was wearing. Go figure, right? Even if I found the most recent popular item on the low-low she still refused to wear or use it. And if it were a style everyone was wearing, she didn't want that either.
I didn't raise my children with a name brand awareness. I support being stylish, but not necessarily brands. That worked out great with Amber, but it was not as successful with the younger children. I think for a variety of different reasons including they are so concerned with what other people will think (like most in their generation are) and they have familial influences that are not within my control.
Here are 3 easy steps to winning the name brand debate that I have control over:
I've had to adjust my thinking just a bit. A couple of years ago I noticed for my son, who's two months shy of 13, that the brands Nike and Jordan, among others, are preferable. So, now I make sure I purchase sneakers that he'll not only wear, but love. And although my girls - ages 11 and 9 - have been fine with Champion, which you mostly find at Payless, and Skechers they prefer some of the more popular, i.e, high-end, brands now. This is important for them because right now we live in an area where people care about that sort of thing. It hasn't escaped me that my middle schooler hasn't worn her Skechers to school this year.
I may not agree with my children's reasoning for wanting a specific brand, but I respect how they feel about it. In addition to that, I can relate. I remember how it felt to be in school and concerned about what I was wearing compared to the other children. What's important to them is important to me.
I'm not opposed to buying them better, or more popular, brands as long as I can save money, which is why I do my research to find the best deals. When I'm shopping online I check the prices on Amazon and compare it to the brand's retail site. Depending on the brand, I'll search on Google to compare sites and eBay to find better deals.
I really like using Ebates to get cash back when I shop. It's my favorite cashback site to use, but I also have Swagbucks for cash back and deals as well as ShopAtHome.com deals that pop up on each site. As far as cash back is concerned I believe if you're going to shop online anyway then you might as well take advantage of getting the cash back offers.
3. Don't fight it
Now that such great deals can be found, what's the point in resisting the child's desire to have said items? I have to put it in this perspective: I wanted a Coach bag so I bought a Coach bag (at 50% off, by the way). Although I didn't buy it because I care about what other people think, the mere fact of having the bag made me feel good. I want my kids to feel the same way and absolutely love what they are wearing.
Let's review the 3 easy steps to winning the name brand debate:
- Listen. I listen to my children. I may not agree, but I respect how they feel about certain things and I have a vivid memory of how I felt about what I wore to school compared to what other children were wearing.
- Research. There's nothing like taking the time to find a good deal on tennis shoes or clothing. I love the feeling of finding exactly what my children want for a discounted price. Not only am I making them happy, but I've made myself happy by reducing the amount of money I'd normally have to pay. (Then I can buy another Coach bag!)
- Don't fight it. Keep this favorite prayer in mind: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." When children get to a certain age we're not going to change their minds and what they want doesn't hurt anyone so just go with the flow. In the meantime, continue to share your perspective and wisdom with them.