Peer Group Pressure at 4?

Jax wearing the shirt he selected at his
birthday party last weekend

The other day Steve was out with the boys and Jax (our four year old) saw some “blue fire Crocs” and said “Dad, I want them, Sparsh has them.” Steve said no mate, you don’t NEED any more Crocs and I’m not going to get them just because your friend Sparsh has them. Oh the hullabaloo – he carried on for a good 15 minutes before he passed out in the car – asleep I may add. Then the other day he saw something his mate Vinayak had (can’t remember what it was, but think it was shoes again) and demanded that he must have them because Vinayak does. So I said “darling just because your friends have things doesn’t mean you have to have the same things. Be an individual babe, that’s the best way to be.” But no, Vinayak has them and he wants them too. He hasn’t got them yet.

He’s four and I have to say I am absolutely shocked that we are facing peer group pressure already. Maybe other parents’ face this much younger, especially those with girls, but I asked Steve last night – when exactly did this start? We agreed it’s a new thing and it’s really blown us away. We just weren’t expecting it, and I suppose it’s only a matter of time until iPads, iPhones and other expensive items feature on the “want” list because their friends have them… The thing is: we’ve never experienced this with Lex. He doesn’t seem to care too much about what other’s have. Don’t get me wrong – he knows exactly what HE wants – but he’s never expressed a desire after seeing another friend with it. Perhaps we just got lucky there?

Both boys are incredibly strong-willed when it comes to knowing what they want and how they want to dress. As a recent example, I took Jax shopping for a party shirt the other day, as I like them to have new clothes for special occasions. I’m a mum, so naturally I had some ideas about what I wanted to get him, but Jax is his own man. He’s actually a pain in the arse to shop with, because he takes SO long to choose, and shopping for clothes is the most tedious thing I can do with him. Anyway, he picked out a blue and black check shirt. I hate blue and black checks.
I said no mate, how about this red check? Or this green check – it’s very cool?
NO I want this one mum.
PLEASE look at this one – oooh it’s a blue and red check?
Nope this one.
In the end, I had to say OK mate, it’s your body, your choice.

I am one of those parents’ determined to give my children their choice whenever possible and realistic, especially when it comes to clothing because I want them to care. However, I have to say it was definitely testing buying him something I hated. He looked good though and is very proud of himself every time he wears his new shirt, so c’est la vie I guess.

One thing I know for sure, this mothering malarkey is never dull – I get new surprises every day. Anyone else have these experiences with their kids?

Yours, without the bollocks


2 Responses

  1. Too many stories to share here, but my strategy as always is to use the opportunity to talk about it and help A&H two to reach their own conclusions about what is important and what is not.

    It gets worse when kids start making comments about what car you drive, and comparing gadgets – I'm not very materialistic and I've always been very anti-peer pressure, so I'm not one to give in, but I know that that sometimes makes me look like meany-mum!

    I just try to remind my kids that we try to spend our money wisely to give them the very best when we judge it worth it, and not to get drawn in by tacky marketing fads or gimmicks. Ultimately I trust in their intelligence to find the balance.

    That said, H has heard sniggering from older girls at school about her Strawberry Shortcake bag and now she's embarrassed about it – time for a big girl bag, methinks!

  2. Brilliant Sarah, and you're absolutely right. Just not sure that strategy is quite appropriate for us right now… and I do still give in – for peace. I definitely will be taking your advice to heart though xxxx

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