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simpatizante
1-6-11, 10:02pm
My 6 years old daugther asking me why we don't have those TV channels where you can se cartoons all day?
She told me also that she thinks one of his friends is poor because he doesn't have a TV at home?
She starts thinking that we don't have all those new technologies toys (nintendo, wii, ipod....) that most of kids have because we are poor.
I'm trying to explain to her that we don't need those fancy toys, neither the cable channels; that they are not good for us. But she tells me right away "but, I like it", "I want them".
I told her that because that's not good for her brain, for growing, for learning....
I explained to her that his friend can buy 100 TVs but his family just don't want it. And she ask me surprised "why?"
But in my big family, we are eight siblings whit 1 to 3 kids each. And most of them are very consuming, and my daughter starts noticing. Before she didn't realize, she had so much fun with simple things. But now that she is growing I feel like I'm taking the position of the bad-barrier.
Some ideas? help please.:0

redfox
1-6-11, 11:03pm
Read the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. They recommend a reflective listening practice which is a great way to help a child feel heard & surface their own understandings of the world.

Acknowledging her growing noticing of the world around her, and noticing the distinctions between different people is a good thing! You can acknowledge her liking something while keeping your stance of simplicity. When she expresses a desire for something, you can affirm her desire and share that you, too, often see things you want, and how you decide to make choices around that. What she's asking about is choice, not whether or not someone can afford something or if something is bad for her.

It might be interesting to read a book about how kids in other countries live, to give her a wider view of these differences. It's really wonderful that she's observing the world around her and talking with you about it all.

Rosemary
1-7-11, 4:25am
Our standard response is that we prefer to DO things than to WATCH things. We cook, bake, make crafts, go hiking, play outside, etc.

Stella
1-7-11, 6:18am
My answer is to people who ask me about TV is pretty similar to Rosemary's. My kids don't usually ask because they already know that I think most TV is boring and lacking in value. :)

I like Redfox's idea of teaching her about other cultures and expanding her view of the world. I lived in Mexico for a while when I was a kid and that taught me a lot about the meaning of the word "poor". Poor is not having enough to eat or a place to live or proper medical care.

I try to take a two pronged approach with my kids on these sorts of things. I love having discussions with them about our values and I'm absolutely willing to hear their opinions and thoughts on different subjects, but at the end of the day, their Dad and I are the parents. If we have to be the bad guys, so be it. It's part of the job description. Holding the line on your values isn't something to feel guilty about.

razz
1-7-11, 7:52am
May I suggest that you start a gratitude journal with her. If she is seeing deficits in her life, she needs some balancing info based on sound choices.
EG:
1. went for a walk to park today and played. Pictures on TV shows someone else having this experience and DD missing it all.
2. made cookies today vs watching someone else on TV having all the fun
3. had an icecream cone vs watching someone else on TV enjoying the taste

It comes down to choosing to live life vs watching others live through the media and you as the parent are choosing to live life in your home not simply watch it.

Gina
1-7-11, 10:30am
The gratitude journal sounds like a great idea.

I grew up in a home with parents who lived a very frugal life. That meant that we kids were 'deprived' compared to most of our peers. We eventually did get tv, but years after everyone else. Other little girls got real barbies, I got cheap store knock-offs (and I knew the difference). Others got nice bikes, I got used stuff. And clothes.... egads.

This affected me negatively for years. I truly did feel deprived. I'm not saying that you should cave and give your daughter everything because in the end, I did benefit from being raised the way I was, and appreciate it now. It just wasn't handled well in my case. When I saw something I wanted and said "I want xxx", Mom's reply simply was "No, you don't". And that was it. Not the right approach. But she did the best she could. As an adult, I still have great difficulty asking people for things, even reasonable things.

I think what redfox said is right - before telling her all the negatives about getting all the stuff she might want, acknowledge her desires and feelings and disappointment about wanting -and not getting- the things she is seeing. "I know you want xxx and are disappointed/sad/angry about not having it, and I understand, but in our house we are trying to .... " or "......we can't afford to buy.... " Whatever the truth is. That sort of thing. Mirror and accept her feelings, regardless of what they are. Don't try to change her feeling states even if they are uncomfortable to you. (Offering food for example to distract from painful feelings can lead to eating disorders.)

Another suggestion is periodically to give her some choices for a few 'extra' things you wouldn't mind (not necessarily spending $ on), and tell her she can have one of them, and then give it to her. I remember greatly treasuring the few 'extravagant' things I did get, and loved them till they were thread-bare. Still do love things to death --- but becasue of that early life training, I also don't feel compelled to buy everything that I see, or have to have new things. As to tv, well, I still love that too. ;)

Good luck, it's a very difficult situation for the both of you.

ApatheticNoMore
1-7-11, 11:06am
It is a difficult situation. The danger here is teaching her it's not ok to want.

A self-help book I was reading talked about a kid who wanted to eat all the cherries and had to save some for their sibling. The wrong way to handle it was to say: "it's bad to want to eat all the cherries". The right way to handle it was: "of course you want to eat all the cherries, when we taste cherries, they are so delicious, we want to eat all of them, but your brother will want to eat some cherries also".

So basically what gina said



I think what redfox said is right - before telling her all the negatives about getting all the stuff she might want, acknowledge her desires and feelings and disappointment about wanting -and not getting- the things she is seeing. "I know you want xxx and are disappointed/sad/angry about not having it, and I understand, but in our house we are trying to .... " or "......we can't afford to buy.... " Whatever the truth is. That sort of thing. Mirror and accept her feelings, regardless of what they are. Don't try to change her feeling states even if they are uncomfortable to you. (Offering food for example to distract from painful feelings can lead to eating disorders.)

Agreed. And I'd add: I'd be especially careful about moralizing, and what I refer to as "moralizing" is treating as moral issues things that are fundamentally not moral issues (at least IMO). I don't really recommend it, but if you have to go on a moralizing rant, make it about man's inhumanity to his fellow man or something (a real moral issue), not about watching television.


I grew up in a home with parents who lived a very frugal life. That meant that we kids were 'deprived' compared to most of our peers. We eventually did get tv, but years after everyone else. Other little girls got real barbies, I got cheap store knock-offs (and I knew the difference). Others got nice bikes, I got used stuff. And clothes.... egads.

This affected me negatively for years. I truly did feel deprived. I'm not saying that you should cave and give your daughter everything because in the end, I did benefit from being raised the way I was, and appreciate it now. It just wasn't handled well in my case. When I saw something I wanted and said "I want xxx", Mom's reply simply was "No, you don't". And that was it. Not the right approach. But she did the best she could. As an adult, I still have great difficulty asking people for things, even reasonable things.

Oh boy do I hear you. Years of therapy here :) Of course the therapy is not just about being allowed to want (although that's part of it), but in my case there are hardly words to describe how messed up my birth family was in so many ways. My parents weren't bad people though and they did love me, they were just bad as parents.

Rosemary
1-7-11, 11:36am
re: learning about other cultures - DD and I are both fascinated with the books by Peter Menzel and Faith d'Alusio (think the names are right). Material World shows people all over the world standing in front of their houses with all of their belongings; Hungry Planet shows people all over the world in their kitchens with a week's worth of food.

katieb12
1-7-11, 1:11pm
re: learning about other cultures - DD and I are both fascinated with the books by Peter Menzel and Faith d'Alusio (think the names are right). Material World shows people all over the world standing in front of their houses with all of their belongings; Hungry Planet shows people all over the world in their kitchens with a week's worth of food.
+1

JaneV2.0
1-7-11, 3:01pm
"Our standard response is that we prefer to DO things than to WATCH things. We cook, bake, make crafts, go hiking, play outside, etc. "

That's pretty much the lecture I've gotten over the years for reading a lot. :laff:
Most of us can fit a number of different activities into our day--some more active, some not.

I'd tell your daughter that TV watching doesn't fit with your image of yourself, but she can buy one when she grows up, if she likes.

Amaranth
1-9-11, 7:29pm
Another thing is to show her the advantages of versatile toys.

With drawing pencils and blank paper you can get drawing books from the library and learn to draw all sorts of things. If you have a coloring book, you are kind of stuck with what somebody else already drew.

If you have a deck of regular playing cards, you have 100s of different games.

If you have tangrams, you have 100s of different puzzles.

If you have one of the more versatile musical instruments, you can play most any song. If you have a CD, you can play a dozen or so songs.

If you have a frozen pizza, well you sort of have a pizza. If you have the typical pizza ingredients, you could potentially make some tasty pizza, cheese bread, biscuits, calzones, pasta with a variety of sauces, grilled cheese, soup with dumplings, pasties, flavored breadsticks, cheese pretzles, nachos, tomato soup, or many other things.

Try asking her about what sort of things she'd like to be able to do or to experience. Also try to figure out what the important components are of the activity. And then figure out how to do them in some more creative way.

If she can read fairly well already, you might take turns reading sections of The Complete Tightwad Gazette to each other. If not you could read her some of the ones that might be most inspiring to her.

Bootsie
1-10-11, 12:08am
I'd tell your daughter that TV watching doesn't fit with your image of yourself, but she can buy one when she grows up, if she likes.

That is similar to my approach. At the age of six, I think a short explanation about YOUR preferences is the most effective route. We don't have a TV or many other things that mainstream American families have, and my explanation when my kids were that age was was usually, "We don't have those things because your dad and I don't like them."

Kathy WI
1-10-11, 9:39am
My son asks the same kinds of questions sometimes. For the question about cartoon channels on TV, you can tell her how much the extra channels would cost, and tell her that you can borrow cartoon videos free from the library so you can use that money for something else. You can tell her that there are all kinds of free games on the computer that are really cool. I've explained to my son lots of times that we are willing to spend money on what we value, but don't spend money on things we don't like or value as much. I've told him that even rich people have to choose what they're going to buy, because you can't have everything or do everything at the same time. I've also used the line, "If you want to buy that when you grow up, you can."