What do children want that money can't

Avatar for mygriffin
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Registered: 03-28-2003
What do children want that money can't
30
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 10:21pm
buy?

In the USA Weekend insert in the Sunday paper this weekend, that was the question asked of 746 children, ages 9 to 14, in a phone survey commissioned by the Center for New American Dream, a non-profit organization that promotes responsible consumption. Some of the results:

Only 32% of the kids say they spend a lot of time with their parents. Why this lack of togetherness? The parents often are too busy working, say 23%, while 19% blame it on being overscheduled with homework and school activities.

"I do think with my mom a lot, but my dad works and sleeps. I know we need the money, but I wish he would do more things with me." Erika, 14

"My coach says, "Dedication." My parents say, "Keep up the good work." I say, "I need a break"...time to curl up with a book, play with the little kids next door, go to the mall or watch a sunset." Brittani, 14

If kids could change one thing about their parents' jobs, two-thirds would want them to have flexible schedules so they could be together. Only 13% wished their parents made more money.

"Money could never buy the conversations my dad and I have in the car on the way to hockey practice. We talk about friends and what is going on with the world. Sometimes we talk about music, but most important, we talk about life. I love time with my dad, and no one no thing could replace it." Seth, 11

Nearly 6 out of 10 kids say they feel pressure to buy stuff to fit in.

"Early on, we learn that if we don't conform in dress, speech and mannerisms, we will not fit in with the 'cool kids.' As teens, if we don't have a car, we might as well be lepers. I don't want to play the game and pretend I'm something I'm not." Jason, 13

****

Something to discuss with all the talk of surveys and studies.

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Avatar for bobcatkathi
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 11:31pm
My children learned a long time ago that money can't buy everything. Money sure can't buy them back their father or replace memories of growning up with him. They have so few memories of him. Stuff is great and fun, but time is the only true gift that matters.
Avatar for biancamami
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 6:57am
OK...were these kids "prepped" for the interview?

I ask because I thought I was a pretty normal kid and at age 11-12 hanging out with Mom all day was NOT on my priority list! I loved Mami a great deal....don't get me wrong. But at that age I wanted to play with my sisters and girlfriends WITHOUT my parents butting in all the time. They both worked and I spent a lot of time w/ them...every night and weekends. I never felt like I was missing out. My parents were my parents...they were not my "friends"

Also, I think a lot of kids may express a desire for "being w/ Mom & Dad" but they HAVE NEVER gone through financial strife. They have no idea what it means to have Mom & Dad with furrowed brows over the dining room table wondering if they have to give up the house or car. They have no idea what it means to go without vacations or christmas presents. Maybe if they did, money wouldn't seem like such an unimportant thing. I learned pretty early on that tension and unhappiness in my house were caused by LACK of money. I was a very sensitive kid and I would have nightmares that we would end up homeless!

And finally, I'm really glad I can contribute to my household because that way my DH gets to spend JUST as much time w/ my DD as I do. She will not experience that 'missing' father syndrome that one child spoke about.

Ana
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 7:44am
I didn't see anything in the article about kids wanting to hang out with a parent all day.

I do think that the amount of time that a child would like to spend with their parents is like so many things, a pesonality thing. My DD1 was the stereosypical teenager, she would just as soon her friends think that she didn't have parents but DD2 is much different and does want to spend a lot time with us. I am trying to spend more time with her now before she goes off to college next year because I do see that she has not been getting as much parent time as she desires. DD3 comes somewhere in the middle, she doesn't act embarrased to be seen with us like DD1 but when I was teasing her about next year when her sister went off to college she would be the only child in the house so we would have lots of bonding time and she had a look of terror in her eyes.

I do agree that complaining about the amount of time a parent works is more a middle class thing. For families that are barely making it, overtime can mean the differnce between getting new school clothes for the year or going to Goodwill.

But your last paragraph only makes sense if because you were not working your DH had to work extra hours to make up the lose of income. Otherwise, the amount of time he has with the children does not change, yours does but his doesn't. You time is now equal because you are also spending those hours out of the house also. If he were to work 40 hours a week with you WOH and 40 hours a week with you SAH then you WOH is not adding any Daddy time to your children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 9:19am
Prepped or not, are most kids aged 9-14 going to be satisfied with their lives on the whole? Asking a bunch of kids loaded questions like, "Would you prefer your parents have more flexible work hours so that they can be at home when you are?" - you can manipulate most children with the right questions to get the answers you want! Aren't most kids in that age group, just figuring out that they are not the center of the universe? And lastly, if most parents did things by the mind of a young teen, the world would be in huge trouble, dont ya think? To what twelve year old is their grass the greenest? And besides, if some obscure phone polling telemarketer called my house and asked for the kids, I'd probably tell them to get bent. LOL! And that survey did not seem to ask if the kids thought their parents were good parents or bad parents, though would that opinion really hold up, to a 10 year old who was just denied permission to go out with friends at 9 pm at night?

I just can't see any polling or surveys being that accurate, IMO.

IMO, some kids are denied special parenting time - but I don't think it is a working status thing. Bad parents, working or not, are out there. I just think it is unfair for either side (SAHM and WOHM alike) to form opinions of the other from skewed studies. Or, at least this is what I am slowly learning from my time on this board :)

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 9:58am
You said exactly what I was thinking, but you said it so much more eloquently than I could have. I agree with everything you said. What really hit me in the OP was how did they get 9-14 year olds on the phone to interview them?
Avatar for biancamami
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:15am
Trust me...if I became a SAH mom my Dh would have to work WAY more hours than he does. Or actually, he would NEED to get a second job. There is NO WAY we could live on his current income...NO WAY!
Ana
Avatar for biancamami
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:16am
Yes, ITA with you!
Ana
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:39am
I agree completely... there are parents who don't spend time with their kids, be it because they don't want to or whatever. Work status doesn't change that. Biancamami was saying at that age she didn't want to spend more time with her parents, but it sounded like her parents spent time with her. If, say, she never saw her mom or dad, maybe one evening a week or so.. she would have had a different answer. Kids whose parents actually make an effort to spend time with them will say things like "I'm embarrassed" or they think they're parents butt in too much.. but if they never see their parents, they're going to say they wish they had more time with them. But with all the surveys and statistics, bad parents are bad parents and good parents are good parents, regardless of their work status.
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:59am
like some of the others posters, i have to wonder how the poll takers got these kids on the phone. however since they did, some comments.

What is considered "alot" of time by a kid and what are considered "flexible" hours. my expereince is my dd who fits into the demograpics they used, is that kids want there parents to be around when it is convienent for the kids but other than that they can excuse themselves. what i am trying to teach her is that while i will always be here for you it may not always be on your timetable, because you are one of four and soon to be one of five members of a family - so flexibility and making time is a two way street.

as to kids not wishing their parents made more money, that is easy to say if you never have to do without. the reality for my dd is she really has no idea how much money we have or dont havebut i can assure you if i had to tell her she couldnt be in band because we couldnt afford the rental on the instrument she would wish we made more money.

as to buying things to fit in, that is hardly a new thing, especially in that age group where the kids are starting to break away from family, trying to fit in with their peers and find out who and what they themselves are about as individuals.

the really only surprising thing about that poll is that there are parents who would allow their kids to be interviewed over the phone by telemarketers.

Jennie

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 11:02am
Which.. now that you say it.. is probably a determining factor in the outcome of the poll. The only kids who answered the poll are kids whose parents let them get interviewed by a telemarketer... hmmmm

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