Friday, October 31, 2008

Brand Value?

From a long time now my sons have been demanding reebok shoe for school. Their school had recommended reebok shoe or any other brand as long as they did not have deep treads. I felt that Bata shoe would do very well as - 1. it has been in the shoe business for ages now and we grew up in it, 2. it is inexpensive and 3. children grow faster at this age and therefore I can change the shoe every term without feeling the pinch of it. Every day I have my kids saying that their friends are all in reebok shoe and hence they also want it. Till now somehow I have convinced them into wearing Bata shoe. But it is a real uphill task. The other demand is for Arsenal football jersey. A whopping Rs. 3000-4000 ! Just imagine.

The other day when I went to my friend's house we got talking and the discussion turned towards how children demand these high value branded items. She said that she was also facing the same problem with her son . She was saying that when her son's friends had come to her place all of them had come dressed in branded shirts and wore branded footwear. She then felt that she could understand how much of a conflict her son must be facing. She said that her son must be feeling sandwhiched real tight between the parents and his friends.

These things give rise to lots of doubts in my mind. Are branded items really required ? Do they really help or is it just an issue of prestige? Can they not do with ordinary things and emphasise more on quality life? Does simple living not start from childhood? I feel money is not the issue but where are we leading our children?Aren't we making them more and more materialistic?Sometimes I feel sad that this generation has to go through so much of trauma. They are caught in conflicting situation.

Our upbringing was such that there was comfort in life but no extravagant expenses. We took the same bag to school for three to four years, wore the same shoe and took care of it so that it would last the whole year. Pencils, erasers were used until such time that they were down to their stubs. With our children too we try and use the same kind of prudence, though not to that extent . But sadly they are caught in two different extremes. From their point of view they are right to feel bad that we are'nt buying things that they want, because they find their friends parents buying expensive things for their children. I have seen children being given loads of money and they are given the freedom to spend it as they want at a very young age. I have seen groups of children in gaming centres all alone buying tickets with their friends , playing without any adult supervision. For me it is a shocking thing! Ofcourse each parent have their own viewpoint with regard to upbringing of their children.

Somehow I feel teaching them the value of money right from a tender age matters. This leads to more satisfaction. Because I tell my children the more you get, the more you want and there is no end to it. "Need" and "Want" should be defined clearly to them. But I do not know how long I can try before I end up making compromises on these principles.


jp said...

Wonderful! I never thought I had a like thinking parent as me in this regard. I try to teach my son that one's value & pride comes from character, knowledge and good behaviour not from the branded items one wears. But still it is tough to protect the kid from not being influenced by their peer group.

shobhana shenoy said...

Hi jp,
Very true. We as parents and they as present day kids are really bogged down by what we think is minor issue but for kids it is a major part of their growing up years.

kinishail said...

So True! People are obsessed with brands. Peer pressure can be tremendous to young minds.