Keeping up with the Jetsons

Sunday morning I was at the kitchen table trying to get some work done before the day got crazy. Leo threw herself dramatically into the chair across from me and shot me a frustrated look. Over my laptop, I shot her back a “what’s up?”
“MOM…I need an iPhone.”
“Really? You need an iPhone?”
“You’re 7. What makes you think you need one?”
“I just do.”
She had been playing her DSi and got bored. So she proceeded to list all of the items that she “needs” because her friends have them but she doesn’t: a cell phone, a wii, a laptop, and highlights. Not the Highlights magazine I read when I was a kid – she wants platinum blonde streaks in her hair “because Payton has them!”
I tried to explain to her that she needs food, water, shelter, clothing – that among other things a phone, especially an iPhone, is not a necessity. But as soon as the words left my mouth my voice sounded just like Charlie Brown’s teacher.
How did this happen? I am a minimalist and I have tried so hard to prevent my kids from feeling like they have to have material possessions in order to be happy and fit in. So, is this my fault? We went several years without tv service and I was delighted that my kids didn’t know what Zhu Zhu pets were. But should I have exposed them to marketing ploys and peer pressure more than I did?
And why is Leo growing up so fast? Is this normal? I think back to when I was her age, and of course I wanted the same toys that my friends had – but I wasn’t in any hurry to grow up. The Toys ‘R Us theme song was my anthem!
She wants to text her friends. She wants to make videos and post them to YouTube. And have I mentioned that she is seven?
I know I can’t just compare my kids’ experiences to my childhood. The pace of life is so much faster now. But I want to slow it down for them. And I want to smack myself as soon as I start to say, “well, back when I was your age” because I know that to my kids it’s a history lesson and not a way to relate.
How do you balance your kids’ wants with what you think is right for them?


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  • I truly thinks things are really different now than when we were 7. I have often thought of the same issues--How do I shelter my child a bit from all the technology, media etc.? But that is the world we live in now. I'm sure you will come to a happy balance! I hope I do too. Have you seen the movie Surfwise? It's about a husband and wife who raised 8 or 9 kids in a camper traveling and surfing all over. Sometimes I think that would be a fun way to live. Then again, I like TV and consistent hot showers. :)

  • In reply to AmandaJ:

    That movie sounds interesting! Is it a true story? I couldn't do that either. I can handle the camping lifestyle, but I can't handle close quarters with a dozen other people for very long ;)

  • Sorry, I meant, "I truly THINK", not "THINKS!". Derr.

  • How did the conversation end with Leo? I feel like I am not going to have any snappy comebacks/life lessons when I start to encounter this dilemma...

  • In reply to erago:

    She still wants an iPhone, of course. I'm really afraid that our kids are going to turn stimulation junkies like most of the teens I see. I don't know a single teen who could go 24 hours without their cell phone.
    I am overjoyed when I see my kids make up their own games, climb trees, and laugh out loud rolling down a hill! That's the kind of LOL that means something :)

  • In reply to dreburn:

    Well said. I know I can enforce "quiet time" now (as we call it in my house) where there is no technology turned on, but when they get older, will they resist it?

    I find myself getting overstimulated and I am starting to enjoy my own quiet time rule...

  • In reply to dreburn:

    good luck! it is a treacherous path to walk, no doubt. i propose we all move to a farming commune and create our own status quo. though perhaps to your dismay, amanda, i would advocate for no tvs at all. ;) radical homemaking, FTW!

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