Materialistic Pre-Teens

Parent Q&A

  • Materialistic middle schoolers

    (14 replies)

    My daughter and her friends in grade 8 seem startling materialistic and label obsessed. My daughter is telling me how her friend just went to their weekend home in Carmel and another one has Louis Vuitton Nike Air shoes and then there was a Tiffany-themed (as in the jewelry store) birthday party. Others are going to Europe for the summer .I get this depressing feeling even her friends’ parents are label conscious and I feel like they look down on me, even though my husband and I are well educated and traveled. Is label fixation the new norm? I find myself wanting to move someplace else. I grew up in Carmel amid lots of wealth, but my parents were middle class, people did not flaunt it like here. How can I manage my child’s expectations? Recently I said No I can’t go to Europe this summer because we have to work and I can’t afford it either. No you aren’t going to a $50K per year private school so don’t even bother applying. No I’m not getting you Lulemon pants; they’re a splurge for me as an adult. What do others tell their kids? Can’t believe I’m even writing this post, it’s embarrassing. 

    RE: Materialistic middle schoolers ()

    My daughter (16) is not so obsessed with labels but still asking a lot. I personally make a difference between educational expenses (i.e. paying for interesting but expensive summer programs, this summer a precollege program in NY) and what I think are totally idiotic expenses (i.e. crazy expensive make up she wants). Of course this means I can afford the expensive summer programs. If you can’t just explain that to her and please don’t be ashamed. There is nothing to be ashamed! If you can, there are teens trips organized to Europe and they are for cultural enrichment, not for shopping! Anyway, all my solidarity, teens are hard!

    RE: Materialistic middle schoolers ()


    I have a middle school boy and while the culture of his peers isn't quite what you're describing, he has a lot of wants (that he would characterize as "needs"). I try to share my values and set limits on what we can and can't afford. Or on what I'm willing to spend money on and not.  Things that he wants that are in the category of things that I don't think a young teen needs to have, are things that he has to save up for himself.  He gets $5 a week allowance from me and earns a few dollars a week dog walking.  If he's saved his own money, then he can spend it on things that he wants, even if I think that they are not high priority items.  He's pretty impulsive and spends the money as soon as he's saved it, but it means that I can duck out of arguments about whether or not I'm buying something. He's not interested in clothes or other things that I think he needs, so at this point, I still take care of all of those things.  I've heard of other parents who are starting to transition to giving a lump sum of money for clothing and then giving some control over to their kids about what to buy. E.g., decide how much you think she needs for clothes for a season and then give her that amount. Calculate what you think is a reasonable amount for shirts, pants, jackets, etc.... Then let her figure out how to spend it.  You could decide whether you want to give her free reign (e.g., she can blow it all on one expensive shirt and then have to deal with wearing old clothes) or set some limits (e.g., she needs to buy at least two tops, two bottoms, and a jacket with the money).  She could earn extra to supplement the basic stipend if there are more expensive things she wants. Maybe this would help her start to sort some of these things out, and would help her see that the expensive items require some sacrifice, at least in your family.  I'm sure it's hard for her if her friends get whatever they want, but it's a good lesson to learn.  

    RE: Materialistic middle schoolers ()

    You’re doing the right thing! Keep setting boundaries & explaining your family’s values. What you choose to spend on, what you won’t, what you can’t afford but would buy if you could, what you wouldn’t buy even if you had all the money in the world. She is learning from you  

    This phase hit my daughter earlier, fifth or sixth grade. Where other families vacationed, second homes, the price of clothes. It was exasperating. But it’s better now. (And I’m sure it’s not just a local phenomenon, there were logo conscious snobby girls where I grew up too.)