Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
As a parent, I am upset- but I’m not sure how I should handle this situation. My 10 year old daughter’s school is doing a charity fund raiser. The kids received a magazine showing what prizes they will get for raising varying amounts of money. Both the magazine and the school are handling this fundraiser as a competition. At the $200 Raised level (on which my daughter has her heart set) she will WIN a family of rubber ducks. My daughter plans on turning in all the money she has saved over the last two years through chores, birthdays and holidays, a little over $200.00.
I don’t mind teaching kids about charity or encouraging giving but this is not the case here. My daughter feels she has to win the competition and the ducks are her aim. She isn’t learning charity through this event; I feel she is being taken advantage of. She could go door to door instead of turning in her own money but she probably won’t get enough for the ducks and she knows she has enough now to buy the win so she hasn’t the motivation to do any work.
We try to teach our daughter value and need vs. self-indulgence by having her buy her own toys with money she has saved. Prior to this school contest, she put a lot more thought into whether she truly wants a toy. This fund raiser has her competing for a prize against her peers and she wants to buy the win. But if she spends all her savings, I will hear ” buy me, buy me, buy me,” for the next year.
It is her money to spend on what she wants. Should I let her be manipulated for a good cause?
This is yet another example of the disconnect between the morals which adults say they want to teach vs. what they are actually teaching. Marketing to children is often a wolf in sheep’s clothing. There is more than one huge corporation that is supported via having kids “raise money.”
There’s not much you can do to change the system but you can role model the values you hope to instill by volunteering, voting and giving to some charity that doesn’t give you a toy in return.
As to your specific situation, I would let your daughter decide for herself, but clearly explain that she will need to save for any new toys and it might take a while to do so. Ask her: “Are you ok with that?” She will probably give over her money for the ducks anyway but you will need to hold to your own intent to have her save again before buying more toys.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: your daughter is how old? The reason I ask is because there is a line being drawn in the sand here, and $200 is a lot of money for a young child to throw away. Perhaps in Dr. Brilliant’s world, it’s OK to let a child throw away such a large amount on pure crap, but where Granny comes from a parent would NEVER permit such a thing because economics are so close to the bone that even parents don’t have $200 they can afford to throw away. That is utility payments for a month!
Granny advises you to not be an idiot. There are limits to letting your kids make their own decisions. Would you allow a 10 year old to decide to get into a car with a stranger so that they can learn a lesson?
Put your foot down and be the adult. Proper role modeling by a parent should be more than watching a child make a grievous error and then saying “I told you so.” Good parenting also involves protecting your child from adult manipulations that they don’t understand. This contest is pure crap and you should no more tolerate it than you would drug pushers at the school. I’d complain to the administration if it were me; but then, Granny is famous for putting her big foot in her mouth.