While there have always been teens who love designer labels, today’s younger generation may be even more brand conscious. Constantly faced with brand references in the media, advertisements, movies, and web sites, even young children know the difference between Prada and Gucci.
Instead of indulging your teen’s request for branded goods, consider these five tips to guide conversations and steer your teen to a fresh perspective:
1. Inspire your teen to embrace values beyond physical possessions and branded goods
Teach your teen that a person’s worth is not defined by what he or she owns or wears. Instead, character and relationships are far more important and valuable. Guide your teen to base his or her self-worth on qualities such as personal integrity, kindness, self-confidence, honesty or a sense of humour, instead of rocking the hottest teen clothing trends!
2. Embrace simplicity
Your teen takes a cue from how you shop, how possessions are viewed in your family, and whether you can live with less. Model a simpler lifestyle that is more purposeful and focused on the things that matter most. While it may be a challenge in our consumer culture to live simply, doing so can help your teen to see beyond material possessions as the key to having cool friends and being popular.
3. Talk money
Share about the family income and expenses to help your child understand the cost of living and to better recognise the value of money and understand that is not an unlimited resource. Give your teen financial responsibility and the freedom to manage her or his own pocket money, which can help to teach how to spend within one’s budget.
Have that important conversation on the difference between wants and needs, how designer clothing provides protection, but is not a basic need. Explain that as a parent you can provide for the necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, but that your teen can pay for what he or she wants beyond that.
4. Count your blessings
It helps to show our teens that there is always something to be thankful for, even when things are rough. One of the fastest ways to help your teen count their blessings versus yearning for what they lack, is to see beyond their own needs and be aware of what life is like for the less privileged. Consider volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen, food bank, children’s home or a charity that serves the underprivileged.
5. Teach them the underlying messages in advertising
Help your teen to recognise that advertising can drive them to want designer goods. Teach your teen that it is hard to avoid advertisements but they can learn to recognise the messages within them. They can learn to discern what the advertisement is selling, whether it is promising too much, or is saying that owning something is the way to be respected and admired.