Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shopping Without Buying Your Kids Those Unnecessary Stuffs

I remembered a few years back year reading an article in a newspaper. In that article a study was done with one family.

There were three kids and the most interesting part is what happened between the parents and the oldest child. He is a teenager and a rebelious one. Well, most teenagers are like that, and I think that also apply to me when I was at that point in life. Wearing clothes and listening to music that my parents would not approved.

In this study the researcher applied one method: if you want someone to behave in certain way, then you, yourself must start treating that way to the person.

For example if you want somebody to behave trustworthily, then give that person that kind of encouragement and involved him or her in a situation where she can exhibit and apply the behaviour.

Normally parents don't really listen to what their child is saying. So, in that study the researcher asked the parents to talk to the children and listen to what they wanted to say. In their situation they were not happy of eldest son coming home late and they discussed about this with him. I couldn't remember much on gist of the conversation, but the result is that the child agreed to come home before a set time and he really kept his words to the surprise of the parents.

Now, that intrigued me and although my kids were 5 and 6 years at that time, I asked my wife why don't we try this with them. What problem did we face with them? Maybe we can used this to our kids.

Parents who have young children must have come across this situation.

"OK, now let's go to the shopping mall," says one of the parent to the children.

They heard what you said and they start jumping around and shouting happily. They're very excited of the prospect going somewhere interesting.

After everyone is ready the whole family get into the car, drive to the mall, park your car and walk to the store and start looking for things you need to buy.

Now there are a few places which I dreaded going, and some of them that I remember :

1. The place where they display toys
2. The place where they display cartoon VCD
3. The place where they display sweets
3. The place where they display ice-cream

Why? This is where my kids will start to be very excited/interested and they will grab/take the item and after studying it for a while, they will come to me jiggling the stuff in their hand and say, "Pa, can I have this?"

How do I react in this situation?

This is how my first experiment is done.

One afternoon before going out shopping, I sat down and said to my children, "We are going out and we are buying this things," I would say out those things one by one. "These are only the things that we will be buying, do you agree."

Then we went to the mall and look for those things listed in the list. Now, it turned out to be easier discussing with them when we stopped near those places which displayed items that were not in the list. I reminded them that they have agreed earlier that we are not going to buy other than those in the list.

OK, after doing this many times you'll find out that at times they will not be happy and will sulk. But that is better than they crying and showing tantrums or you scolding them off. Interestingly, my daughter sometimes surprised me when she replied back, "OK, I'll put it back. I'm only just looking, you know," without showing any displeasure. She's just 6 years old.

So what should you do next time:

1. List down what should be bought
2. Inform them you're going shopping with them
3. Discuss and negotiate with them to agree on what should be bought
4. Don't forget to bring the list with you or let your child which tend to be more emotional to keep it
5. Try not to stop at those spots which will give them new ideas
6. If you are unfortunate enough to get in that situation,take out the list and re-enact the session at home with them
7. Courteously ask them to put back the thing, don't scold them
8. After that just leave the spot with them
9. Next, go to those places which you know they will be very interested in and stir their joy, for instance if I listed down fruits I don't really mind buying green apple, red apple or pear, oranges or all of them. I just ask what they'd like and what color do they think looks nice, or do they like the smell.

Try it, and see what happen the next time you go out shopping with them.

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