I Buy Name Brands for My Kid to Protect Her From Bullies

Mom Moment 26

girl's backWhen you're the mother of an only child, you tend to live with a heightened awareness of what it means to be "spoiling" your child. You're being warned right and left that it's inevitable, so you try your darndest not to do it. And yet, as I read writer Amanda Low's article "I’m Afraid Not ‘Keeping Up With the Joneses’ Does a Disservice to My Daughter" this week, I realized that what some call spoiling is just something I call protecting my kid.

I'm not as far gone as Low. I don't feel like my family needs to go out and build a house just so I'm giving my kid a childhood that's "as good as" her friends'. And yet, there are things I refuse to let her go without that are undoubtedly a mark of caving to societal pressure.

My daughter wears name brand clothing (just not the insanely expensive stuff).

She gets at least one or two "hot toys" for Christmas.

She watches at least a few of the "hot movies" every year.

She is very much a normal kid, and by normal, I mean a mainstream American child. In many ways, her experiences mirror those of the kids in her class at school. 

We draw outside the lines too -- we go to museums, we make our own chicken nuggets at home, we buy some of those name brands clothes at the thrift store instead of the mall, and with many things, we just say NO -- but even as we try to give her a childhood that's as well-rounded as it can be within our budget, we err on the side of good, old vanilla.

Why? It's simple: I don't want her to be the odd kid out.

It's hard being that kid. I know. I was one. I wore cheap clothes and glasses, and I didn't get to watch television. I didn't listen to the same music (until high school), and I wasn't allowed to watch most of the movies my friends were watching.

I had friends, but I was picked on. A lot.

I don't want that to be my kid.

We work hard to teach our child not to judge other people on their belongings. We are trying to make sure our kid is never the bully. 

But we don't want her being the bullied, either.

Realistically, I know there's only so much I can do about that. It's hard being a smart kid who is kind of klutzy (she gets that from her mother). There will be plenty for the bullies to pick apart if they so desire -- and we all know they will.

So why should I give them MORE ammunition?

I realize I'm fortunate in being able to make purchases not all parents can make; there's no shame in going the cheaper route if it's what you can afford (and you'll note I hit the thrift store too!). But the fact is, I can do at least some things to protect my kid. So why wouldn't I? 

Because it might appear that I'm trying to "keep up with the Jonses"? Oh well, I'll take that dig. If it keeps my kid from being the little girl sobbing in a school bus seat while bullies play monkey-in-the-middle with her headband ... before snapping it and handing it back for her to bring home to her mother, who will be furious that she has yet another ruined headband (can you tell this is a true memory?), I'll take it.

Do you try to make sure your kids have at least what their friends have?


Image by Jeanne Sager

bullies, girls


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nonmember avatar Cass

Someone is going to bully her for being a stuck up bitch, instead. Or a slut. Or whatever else strikes their fancy. Kids are mean at every age, and self-confidence is a far better means of defense than a brand.

mande... manderspanders

So you think if you make her a "cool kid" she won't get picked on?  Good God. 

Everyday, the delusion on The Stir becomes more pervasive.

IF she is going to be bullied by other kids, the name on her clothes won't matter - they will find fault with it anyway, along with a slew of other things  (I've experienced that first hand).

But really, you're teaching her that kids who don't wear the "right" clothes, have the "right" toys/gadgets, or see/do the "right" activities have something wrong with them.   How about instead of focusing on the material (which is useless anyway), you focus on making her a confident, independent, build resilience.  Those are the personality traits/characteristics that can protect from bullies.  She needs to be her own person; not be concerned with fitting in. 

mande... manderspanders

OH and I read the blog on Mommyish and you've TOTALLY butchered the context of that blog.  It wasn't so much about "spoiling" a child as it was the mother, an adult, learning what really mattered in the context of her family and the life she provided her child.  Amanda Low will have a difficult journey to change her thought processes, but better to realize it now than ruin your adult life trying to give your kid "everything."

Melan... MelanieJK

The pressure to conform is part of life,  it's part of being human,  it's part of growing up.    I think you need to PREPARE your children to handle that pressure not protect them from it.      It's fine to want to belong but not at the expense of developing their own individual identity and self confidence.      

amazz... amazzonia

This article doesn't make any sense, you can dress your kid howevery you want, if she is targeted by a bully, she will be bullied, doing like thins is more likely that she will become a bully against other kids that can't afford designer clothes. To fight bullies she needs a strong personality, she needs to have a lot of self esteem and a supporting family not designer clothes! 

Bloom... Bloomie79

Sounds like your childhood made you hyper aware that you don't want your child being judged for being "different". 

I told my 10 year old that he lives with unprecedented access to the very best music, comedy, culture ect at his fingertips care of the internet so while he's welcome to love what's popular he's also expected to branch out and embrace what's different. 

Kathleen Cassell Cribari

As a middle school teacher, I can tell you that this poster is not too far off the mark. Kids are mean and they will find something to pick on, but if there is a way to minimize it for your child, go for it! I see the oddball kids at school, and most would give their right arm to just be left alone. They don't care about being popular or at the top of the social heap, they just want to fit in. It's human nature to want to belong, and it feels terrible to be left out. I don't think that this article is about raising a snob or a bitch. It's just about trying to level the playing field. Why do so many people think that doing the more difficult thing is always more noble? There's not an award out there for "I took the high road and got my ass kicked for not conforming."

insei... inseineangel

I agree with Cass and maders... Kids are going to bully, no matter what labels or "hot toys" you get for your kid. KIDS ARE MEAN. PEOPLE are mean. You're really doing a disservice to your child by teaching she has to be a sheep and follow the flock. We are teaching our children wrong - or no - values. And this is part of what is contributing to the bullying epidemic. 

nonmember avatar Michelle

wow. Yea, you're delusional. yes, sometimes kids are picked on for their clothes. But if a bully targets them, it doesn't matter what they're wearing, how much money they do or don't have, or anything. you need to teach your kids how to handle themselves, not that dressing a certain way will protect them. that's idiotic.

nonmember avatar April

Clothes don't keep your child from being made fun of. My daughter is having a rough time with a group of boys right now. We've gone the proper channels and all, but I will tell you, this started shortly after my sister took my daughter on a shopping trip. She spent about 200 dollars on her clothes and bought her all nice, new, name brand stuff. Didn't change the fact that some boys decided she would make a nice target. I normally buy all the kids clothes from Goodwill. I don't care about brand names (Although I did like that I found a pair of baby phat jeans for 2 bucks for her) and I buy all of my clothes from goodwill too. No one can tell just by looking at us. People ask me all the time where I bought such and such outfit from so they can go buy it.

I really think it's more of a demeanor thing. I was horribly bullied in elementary school. It was the way I carried myself. I took it. I didn't fight back. I was scared. My daughter doesn't fight back and when she does, she over explains herself, which just gives them more ammo. I'm trying to teach her confidence in herself so that she doesn't feel the need to explain herself When I moved to a new town in the 8th grade, I carried myself different. I had decided that I had had enough of bullies. I decided that I had a fresh start and I was going to use it. I didn't have near as many problems, once I became confident in myself. There were still jerks, but nothing like I had been through.

I ramble alot stil though :)

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