You hear it all the time, “But, mom (or dad) everyone has one…” So what does a parent do with those fads and crazes that children seem to buy into? Julie Ogata from Parentmap explains.
Why do children get caught up in the latest fad?
It’s really a social phenomenon that has been going on for generations. Remember the fads such as goldfish swallowing and pole sitting from the 1920s, Cabbage Patch Kids, Pet Rocks…people have been connecting for centuries through fads and there’s a novelty to it. Some fads can have legs and change history…The Beatles and Elvis were thought to be fads, but they changed music forever. 3-D was a fad and it’s back again. A fad is not necessarily a frivolous or negative thing.
What’s the best way to deal with these fads?
The best thing to do is look for the positives…and try to build on that.
ParentMap talked with several psychologists and experts and they say just by your child being aware of a “trend”…he or she is making an effort to become part of an accepted group…and that’s an important step in maturing and becoming part of society. At this level…it’s not a negative.
Also a trend helps them express their own individuality…maybe they like Pokemon cards, or Silly Bandz… your child has picked this as a reflection of their personality.
There are a lot of other life lessons… if your child wants another Bakugan …it’s a great opportunity to teach them to save money and why it feels good to buy things on their own. Also, there might be some trading involved. Negotiation and sticking up for yourself are always good lessons.
Why do we think of fads as being negative?
There’s always the danger your child won’t think for themselves and will follow the crowd…which is why you need to talk to them about why they like this certain trend.
Collecting things can be expensive…remember how people spent thousands of dollars on Beanie Babies. Parents again need to reel in any obsessions and talk about materialism…and why this is not a competition.
One local psychologist said he’s seen children who have gone from a craze obsession to gambling.
Obviously, following every fad is irrational. You need to help your child pick which ones to support.
What are some tips for figuring out a “good” fad to follow?
Parents can ask these questions:
- First, will this trend help develop your child’s sense of self and identity?
- Will your child spend their own money on this trend? If they say “yes”, the fad is probably something important to them.
- Will this fad will be a way to help your child include and connect with other children?That feeling of belonging to something is important.
- Will your child exclude friends who don’t participate? Make sure you talk with your child so they understand other people might not feel the way they do about Beyblades or Justin Bieber.