If your kids ask you to buy them things every time you walk into a store, you are not alone. In fact, some kids ask their parents to stop into stores they are merely driving by or even to buy them things each time they hop into a car. While many parents want to provide their kids with the things they can afford to, there comes a point when constant requests for things are just too much. After all, raising kids is expensive enough without being asked to buy toys, candies, new shoes and more every time you leave the house.
Needs vs Wants
Many kids simply do not understand the difference between needs and wants. For example, they know that you buy them new shoes, so why can’t you buy them new shoes on this particular day? They don’t understand why you are buying them new sneakers but not those new sandals they want. It can take some time for kids to learn about the difference between needs and wants, but you will find that explaining this to kids repeatedly will pay off over time. When kids hear that you have a specific purpose in mind for buying those sneakers, such as so they can have shoes to wear in P.E., they may be able to see the difference between buying sneakers and sandals. You may not think they need any explanation other than “because I said so,” but teaching them that there is a reason behind your actions can prove to be helpful in the long run.
It can be difficult for some parents to deny requests for bubble gum and chocolate bars at the checkout stand or to deny other similar requests. When requests are made in an urgent time frame, such as when you are checking out, it really does seem easier to say, “Sure, that’s fine.” After all, if your kids have gotten candy bars and bubble gum in the past at checkout stands, they are liable to throw a fit when you tell them no today. This can make it even more difficult to tell your kids they can’t have what they want. You can set expectations ahead of time and prevent the likelihood that these requests will be made. Before you walk into a store, tell kids they cannot have anything or tell them what they are permitted to have. When they ask for something inside, remind them about what you said before you entered the store. While they still whine and fuss about not getting anything, their expectations will be reduced and the whining will be minimized.
Holding Your Ground
Shopping with kids can be a slippery slope. If you cave to whining and fussing once, they will learn that your “no” may be a “yes” if they are persistent. By caving in to requests a single time, you only make your ability to say “no” in the future more difficult and their persistence at getting their way in the future stronger. At some point, you will need to hold your ground. It can be tough, but eventually your kids will learn that you no longer are going to cave in to requests.
Here are a few other articles written by this author:
How Positive is Your Parenting?
Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends
Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In