Don’t Just Give. Make Them Earn.

Brand names in designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and watches are part of the celebrity culture. It matters to buyers who appears in the ads. My kids are like others in wanting only the right kind of sneakers, for example. They won’t settle for anything less, no matter the price. All of a sudden they are into Invicta watches which they see online and constantly on the TV. You could say that they have their hearts set on getting one—and it would of course be from me. Fortunately, they come in all price ranges, some rather modest. I am not going to get each kid a $500 watch. Some run up to a thousand or more due to the special features like water resistance to 300 feet. Even at the lower price range, the Swiss watch is finely crafted and the perfect accessory for anyone who wants function and style. Not that my kids understand this: they haven’t read any reviews of invicta watches, they just go with the name because they’ve seen it posted regularly on someone’s Instagram account. But it is nice to know that a budget watch will be durable and last quite a while.

Although I could get two watches for a couple hundred dollars, I want the kids to earn them by doing household chores. I will assign a dollar value to each task and when they reach the target amount-the cost of the watch—they will get their prize. I am not going to just hand it over. I want to impart a lesson here about entitlement and how a child should merit something special. Sure, you can give the watch for a birthday present any time, but that will not solve my problem of their brand obsession.

So everyone got a chore list and we designated a weekend to do them all at once. At the end of the time period, we would tally the job value and see who gets a watch. There would be a little competition going on to be sure. I could count on their dedication and commitment to this game knowing how much they wanted an Invicta watch. Oh, how I wish they would stop looking at advertisements. But they also get wind of everything they want from other kids in school. This practice is never going to stop whether it pertains to sneakers, watches, jackets, backpacks, or skates.

The weekend chore session went well as expected. The kids knocked themselves to complete their tasks quickly so they could go on to others. They said they wanted to do extra work to be sure to reach their target mark. I got a kick out of this attitude. By Sunday afternoon, the event was over and lo and behold, both kids had earned a watch. It was celebration time and we went out for ice cream. Each kid selected a watch they liked within a certain price range. I had to okay it of course. It would take a few days to have them delivered. Everyone was happy.