Yet another trip to Target. This time it was for my son. Here’s the somewhat funny, yet disturbing story…
I was presented with a ziplock baggie full of Barbie doll parts this past week. Normally, this would be okay, as someone might be giving me these for an art project or something. This time, it’s because my son, along with a friend, decapitated and dismembered some dolls that obviously weren’t his. He said he took the heads off, but didn’t do the rest, however he did choose to make a puppet show out of them. I don’t have a pic of the dolls right now, but I’m quite sure they’ll be in a future trashogram.
I’m mostly upset by this because he isn’t being respectful of other people’s things. These dolls belong to the church, and he made a really poor decision in destroying stuff that’s not his. Now knowing my somewhat quirky parenting style, I came up with a pretty creative punishment. My style has been compared to Henry Spencer from the show Psych. It’s odd, but it works. I’ll stick with it. So my punishment started at Target…
First, my son had to go into the store with a pink “green” bag. The friend that helped him also came along, as they’re both to purchase new Barbie dolls for the church. She offered to carry the pink bag, and at some point, I allowed it. The punishment, or so he thinks, is that I will video him in the doll aisle, selecting the new Barbie dolls and checking out at the register. I did do the videos, but I’m not sure if I will actually post them. As upset as he was, I think he might have learned his lesson. The money came out of his bank account and he also has to write an apology letter to the kids director at church.
While at Target, I found some really interesting things. No surprise there, right?? The first isn’t so surprising to me. On day 154, I blogged about ‘saving merrily’, and featured these themed piggy banks. I guess saving merrily is not really that popular, however desperation to move Christmas merchandise is. Saving has been replaced with a price cut sign. Looks like they sold 2 of them.
The more interesting things were in the Barbie aisle. Before you get into the aisle, merchandised on an endcap, was this set of Disney Princesses, exclusive to Target. Now this seems like too many princesses together in a box. When the store is empty and the dolls come to life, can you imagine the cat fights that go on in there? I’m surprised that box isn’t torn into shreds yet. Why do we need to teach our kids to collect everything available? Pick a princess already! If you get the whole set, most of them will probably end up in the bottom of the toy box… naked. Somehow these Barbie dolls never seem to keep their clothes on. Blog for another day. 😉
Into the aisle, it gets disturbing. I’m so glad my son didn’t choose these to buy for the church. The ‘Black Label’ Barbie Basics collection is now here. The basics cost more, which I’m not sure why, since they’re wearing much less. No wonder girls grow up thinking they need lots of clothes and that it’s okay to pay a lot more for the little black dress, after Barbie’s cost more, right? What little girl needs to think she should look like this? Geez, go back and get your daughter the big economy pack of princess dolls. At least then she won’t be warped by wanting to look sexy at 6 years old. Honestly, I wanted to encourage my son to take care of this aisle. What? It crossed my mind, but I would never do that.
They say all women are into shoes and have many pairs of them, overflowing out of their closets. Of course they do, as Barbie did. And for $20, you can buy 18 pairs of tiny little plastic shoes. Let’s think about this. $1+ dollar for a pair of tiny shoes? Would you pay that price for 2 Lego pieces, which per ounce would be a better deal than the shoes? I guess there’s a good reason God didn’t give me girls.
What are we teaching our kids by the things we buy for them? I don’t mind my kids having toys, even ones with tiny parts. I want them to understand the value of a dollar, I want them to appreciate what they have and I don’t want them to get sucked into this culture of I want it and need it right now. I think I’m going to write a kids book teaching them to do a cost analysis on the things they purchase. Here’s a few things I try to do with my kids to help them understand managing money and to teach them to not be wasteful:
- No impulse buys. We wait 24 hours and if they still remember it and want it, we’ll go back and get it. If it’s reasonable…
- Pay them in cash. I give them cash for allowance and make them purchase their own things. When they have the money, they understand paying taxes and they see how quickly it goes, it sticks in their little minds.
- Talk about it. We talk about money and prices and value. That’s good, except when they go into a store with me and say loudly, “Mom! Did you see these prices?! This place is a rip off!!”
- Teach them to save. My kids get half their allowance in cash and the other half goes into their bank account. They both have several hundred dollars in the bank, and most banks have kids accounts with no fees.
- Credit & debit cards. Teach your kids what these are and why credit is not a good thing. We talk about this a lot and my kids understand what interest percentages are, and have since they were 5 years old.
- Rewards. Reward your kids for good money management. Praise them and reward them for saving for something they really want by doing some sort of money matching incentive.
I have no idea if any of this will work once my kids get older, as they might have to learn from their own mistakes, but I hope this helps them think about the ways they manage their money and resources.