Monday, 30 January 2012

Are We Branding Our Children?

Yesterday's Sunday Times Style magazine had an interesting article expressing concern, well maybe not concern but an opinion anyway, about the future of celebrity children.  Spoilt and dressed from head to toe in designer clothing, not much is apparently denied these little darlings.  Not even in school, these children are already a big influence for little more than what they are wearing.  I know the famous are an easy target but even for us mere mortals I wonder what kind of influence does clothing and what it costs have our children?

I was shocked a few years ago when I saw a boy of about 4 or 5 having a tantrum screaming "I want Adidas!" as his mother was attempting to get him to try another brand of shoes.
"That's a lovely dress" I said to a little girl of about 4. "It's from Monsoon" she replied proudly. I know children are clever but do they have to be so brand aware?
I remember either liking my outfit or not liking it but I don't think I was ever made aware of it's brand or cost. 

I have three boys and I'm a very proud mum when it comes to their appearance.  Smart cords, jumpers etc and the least amount of logos as possible! It's only natural to want your kids to look good but do we need to put so much emphasis on it? 

I usually get my kids stuff from Penny's, H&M, Dunnes Store, charity shops and eBay with the odd treat from the higher end stores when there are sales.  I've been complimented on some piece of my kid's clothing only to see a look of almost disgust when I tell them it's second hand.  Is good clothing not simply good clothing or must the label and price tag dictate that?

Kids put their clothes through the wars so I don't understand why some parents would want to pay €40 for jeans or €150 for a jumper for a kid just because it's designer!

I'm not talking about a special occasion but the day to day clothes.  Is it a competition between parents to show they have the money to throw around? How much is a T-shirt worth? Even if it is designer?
Are our children going to grow up thinking they are only worth as much as the clothes on their backs?

Designer children's wear, luxury children's clothing, exclusive children's wear.  We are seeing these words more and more pushed in our faces because it's big money. In fact about 4 billion euros worth.  But what about the children? I know it's all a bit dramatic but while you and I can reason with ourselves, children soak up the message of their environment and they are most certainly a target.

Are we somehow telling our children that the brand of his/her clothes makes them a better person?
That being the best looking one is important?
It's a fine line between instilling confidence and creating a brat who always needs the latest fashion trend.

I suppose if I was rich I might be buying more expensive clothes for my kids but would my kids have to be aware of it? Can't clothes just be clothes?

 I would hope that my children have more interesting things to think about! We are all bombarded by advertising and according to them I should already be dead from all the things I "need" but don't have.  The media really play on a parent's desire to give the best they can to their children but deliver a very twisted message about what that "best" is.  It's not made any easier when your kid is throwing a wobbly in public to get what the want- Pester Power I believe is the term.

We are talking about clothes here but really it's pretty much everything from gadgets and toys to food and haircuts! A lot of it has to do with the cost & value of things, a concept unknown to children but what they learn about it can have a serious impact on how they later learn to reason and manage their money.
I came across an interesting site teaching about money to children.  It gave lots of handy tips about how to help children appreciate the cost and value of things as well as help them manage money even in a small way.

There is only some much that can be done to instill good values in our children but parents are the biggest influence in a child's young life so I intend to do my best to help them keep a good head on their shoulders.  I love fashion and clothes as much as the next girl, maybe a little bit more but that doesn't mean I let it define me or my children.  It will be an ongoing battle, Me v Gucci, Stella, Ralph & co but I'm determined to teach my children that the person is far more important than the clothes!

What do you think?

Mum on a mission - Vievie  Xx

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