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Modern mums and dads have become swept up in a ‘Generation Give-In’ style of parenting – by buying children gifts whenever they ask for them, it has emerged. A new study shows parents spend almost £500 a year making sure their children ‘fit in’ at school, feeling compelled to buy their children exactly the same toys, clothes and gadgets as their friends.
Rather than waiting until their son or daughter has ‘earned’ the privilege of being treated to something new, six in 10 parents cough up for the latest trends and collectables as soon as they are asked for.
Indeed, 17% of parents say their kids are under peer pressure from friends to have the best of everything, and they don’t want to disappoint.
Feeling guilty for working long hours, bribery and encouragement for doing homework are some of the other reasons parents give for splashing the cash on their little ones.
Tracy Fletcher, from Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research, said:
“Parents are naturally concerned about their children having strong friendships, and feeling part of their peer group both in and out of school, and if they think they can help the child become more popular, they will.
“Unfortunately, this seems to mean spending endless amounts of money on playground crazes, collectables, latest trends in fashion, and gadgets.
“This instant gratification could have consequences in the future though, as children will grow up without grasping the real value of money, or learning how to manage it effectively.”
The study shows parents of children aged five to nine are most likely to buy Ben 10 toys, Moshi Monsters, football stickers and Lego.
Kids aged 10 to 12 will nag mum and dad for Xbox and PS3 games, gadgets, magazines and football boots.
While those aged 13 to 15 expect to be treated to iPhones, iPads, mobile phones, computer games and apps.
A third of concerned parents don’t like to deny their children these ‘must have’ items in case they are teased or bullied by so-called friends.
Six in 10 admit it is really important to them that their child fits in with their friends, and 34% admit to spoiling their child as a result.
More than half of mums and dads claim their child is much more spoilt than they were at their age , and, in the past, their parents would only have treated them to new toys and games on Birthdays and Christmas.
Interestingly, many of the parents polled claim it is necessary for modern children to have televisions in their bedroom, handheld games consoles, laptops and smart phones.
16% of parents say kids should always own a pair of fashionable trainers, a quarter feel they should have the latest in computer games and 19% think they should be in possession of an mp3 player.
The poll shows that, as well as buying clothes, toys and games, parents are also forking out hundreds of pounds on pocket money.
Children as young as five are receiving more than £2.50 a week, with this rising to just under a fiver for teenagers.
“We’ve been living through a credit crunch for more than four years now which, although difficult, could also result in youngsters better understanding how important it is to spend and save money wisely.
“As with many things in life, while a quick fix like buying a gift or treat might provide a temporary solution to an issue, it could also give rise to greater problems in the future.
“Although saying no can be really hard, it’s an important lesson in life which could help ensure our children are prepared for when they’re older and have to make ends meet for themselves.”
-TOP ‘GIVE IN’ PURCHASES-
|Age 5-9||Age 10-12||Age 13-15|
|Ben 10 Toys||Clothes||iPhone|
|Nike Trainers||iPhone||Mobile Phone|
|Moshi Monsters||Xbox Games||All computer games|
|Football Stickers||Books||Mobile Phone Apps|
|Nintendo DS Games||PS3 Games||Nike Trainers|
|Computer Games||Doctor Who Toys||Clothes|