The buzz in the air is electric watching everyone in the mall and office supply stores getting ready for back to school time. However for conscious parents, it's a struggle between what you think is right and what you think will catapult your child into acceptance.
I have one daughter starting middle school, and there is nothing more terrifying than wondering if they're going to fit in, get over-looked, or worse yet, get bullied. Obviously I want to give her the edge in order for her to be accepted, but I don't want to "buy" her way into groups.
I know there are plenty of parents (a huge chunk of them live in my school district) that don't hold back a dime when suiting their child up with Seven jeans, Juicy Couture tops and Dolce Vita shoes. I try to get some name brands at discount shops like Nordstom's Rack, or outlet malls, but designer labels are just not in our everyday vocabulary or closet.
Therein lies the problem. Do I give in and purchase the high-end items so she fits in better, or teach her a bigger lesson in purchasing nice, appropriate items, but nothing with a label or the mortgage-like cost that's associated with it?
A friend of mine texted me the other day and simply said, "What's the cool backpack for middle school"? Before that moment, I didn't even think about it. I was just going to send her in last year's model. So I asked my soon to be eighth grader and she said, "You need to get her Vera Bradley. She should be OK for most of the day because she has a Vera Bradley lunch box, but please don't send her in a Jansport"
I asked her how she survived without a Vera Bradley bag and she said she's just very secure and doesn't care what everyone else has. So if I give in and get my 6th grader a Vera Bradley backpack (which, by the way are $88), does that mean I'm making her weak, insecure and feeling like she needs to have just the right items to be accepted?
I should mention that the sixth grader in question has never asked me for a thing. She wants nothing new for the start of the new year and is happy with what she has. But I know she's a little quieter and not quite in the "in" crowd, so want to make the transition as smooth as possible. So am I sticking my nose in where there isn't an issue?
I'm not sure why I wasn't concerned with the first two and how high their "cool factor" was when they entered Middle school, but I'm really quite obsessing with it for my middle child. Maybe it's because she's in the middle and I always try to make an extra special effort to help her have her own niche. But I fear I'm doing more harm than good if I get the Vera Bradley backpack.