Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Klugger, J. (2010, July). How to Hype-Proof Your Tween. Good Housekeeping, 251, 85-91. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from Academic Search Premier.

Kluger states, in regards to his budget crisis involving American Girl Products, "[b]y the year's end, I figure, I will be out a coll $800--half what my first car costs. And this is just the beginning. My youngest daughter is 7; my older daughter is 9--the early stages of the gold mine demographic marketers call the 'tweens"(p. 85).  When I read this opening paragraph, I was beyond amazed how easily, and quickly, parents can spend money toys. No matter how great, educational, and quality of the toy, at the end of the day, it is still a toy. Looking back on my own youth, I remember getting a ton of toys. However as an adult, I am just floored how expensive things have become, but also very appreciative, that my parents, God love them sacrificed so much for me to have my American Girl Baby and accessories. No wonder we never went on vacation! Clearly, no matter what age this is, there will always be a need for the "latest and greatest" toys, clothes, cars, homes, etc. Kluger points out, in this article, several factors that influence the demands for these objects by 'tweens. One factor he pointed out is peer pressure. 'Tweens are, obviously, impressionable. If one friend has the iPhone 4 and another friend gets the same phone as well, obviously, the 'tweens is going to want one simply just to have one. Another great factor, which I loved is, what Kluger calls the "parental buy-in:"

I talked to many other parents about why they sometimes spring for what's fashionable when they think doing
so is possibly unhealthy and definitely uncheap. You'll recognize the range of motives: Some said they don't want their kids to fell left out to otherwise suffer socially; other revealed in giving their children things their own parents hadn't been able to afford. A few felt guilty for devoting too much time to work; one woman admitted that she sometime spent money on her children when couldn't spent time with. There are days when we're just word down by the "please-please-please-can-I have-it" campaign, and we cave in to buy some peace. Marketers deliberatly eally pester-power to work omn the parents soft spots. No wonder we succumb. 

So, with all of these factors that wear them down, and drain their back accounts, Kluger provides parents with a few tips to 'hype-proof their 'tweens. One idea, which I absolutely agreed with, is just because we cannot give our child every little they want, DOES NOT MAKE US BAD PARENTS! In fact, if we give our child every single thing will do more harm them good simply because they will develop the mentality that "I don't need to work for it because I can just get it." Furthermore, when children throw tantrums because they get what they want (aka. Veruca Salt), parents need to make some decisions as to enabling this behavior or correcting it: "Learning to master delayed gratification and cope with disappointment is a crucial step in kids' growth; rules and limits help them feel secure"(Kluger,p.87.)

When children are secure, they become confident and that happiness is more fulfilling than playing with the greatest toy. Furthermore, when 'tweens establish this concept, they can cultivate other skills simply because they know their capabilities. Lastly, parents can do a whole lot of good simply by turning off the television, limiting internet time, turning off cellhone, speaking with teachers, and talking to their 'tweens about "product" placement . Moreover, as librarians, we can provide programming that embraces individuality and creativity. By creating an environment that is commercial free, care free, and fun, 'tweens can take time out of their days to just be who they are. What I learned from this article is that despite the relentless advertising and temptations, good old fashioned parenting is the best way to go to raise a bright 'tween. 

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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