Friday, June 25, 2010

The Parent of No

You can't always get what you want,
And if you try sometime you just might find
You get what you need.
~ Rolling Stones

I took my son shoe shopping last week.  His shoes had made it about 10 months and while they're fine for kicking about during the summer, he needed new ones.  We tried Kohls and he found a pair of Adidas shoes that were very similar to the Under Armour I purchased last year but I had a 30% off coupon and were much less.  HE wanted to "continue looking".  That translates to...I want to go to Dicks and see if I can get something similar for double the money.  So, off to Dicks we went.  And what did he do?  He marched himself right over to the $100 Nike shock shoes, claiming THIS was what he wanted. is where I made my  mistake.  He asked his limit and before thinking it through I said $70.  Well...he had it all figured out.  $10 coupon and he'd throw in $20.  Bringing my total to...$70.  

OK, I readily admit, I made a mistake.  NOW, I will say honestly, IF he was a runner and he NEEDED these shoes, I'd have capitulated.  But he's not and I tried to explain to him that I was not paying for expensive shoes so that he could have expensive shoes without using them as they were intended.  He wouldn't even consider any other shoe and this ticked me off.  At this point, I had to walk away.  I came back and said upfront...MY MISTAKE.  His limit was $50.  That was the max I was willing to spend. So, he started considering other shoes.  He found a similar Nike (without the "shocks") that was marked at $79.99.  I figured, $10 coupon, and he throws in $20 and I'm at $50 so I was OK with it.  When we got to the register, they rang up as $69.99 so they ended up costing me $39.99.  AND we both were happy.

Now, fast forward a week.  His 16th birthday is Monday and we're looking at getting him a new phone, as well as switching him over to our plan.  And what does he want? A smartphone.  Does he use his email account?  No.  Does he have a Facebook page?  No.  Does he Twitter?  No.  But he wants me to spend $30 EXTRA per month so he can have a "cool phone".   I said No.  He'll get a nice multimedia phone, but that's it (especially given that I had to replace his first phone due to lack of care).  Will he be happy with what he gets?  I think so.  Is it what he wants?  No.  It's what he needs (and even a little overkill at that).

So, I'll be the parent of no.  The parent who doesn't rush out and buy the newest, greatest, bestest, latest gadget because...well because it's the newest, greatest, bestest, latest gadget.  I'll be the parent who tries to differentiate to his teenage muddled mind, the difference between "wants" and "needs".  And hopefully, he'll become the type of adult who meets his own needs...and indulges in his wants, when he can afford them.

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