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magz
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18 Dec 2017, 1:44 pm

It's an ASD-parent-NT-child situation, so it's a bit reverse for this forum but maybe someone would come with some advice.
My daughter is not yet 5 but she has some strong ideas that are totally alien to me. Some of them are about shopping.

A few months ago we had a quarrel about a pink trousers she spotted in a shop adjoining our gym. The discussion was like:
Daughter: Mommy, buy yourself these trousers!
Me: I don't want to.
D: But they are pretty!
M: But I don't need them.
D: Buy them, you will look pretty!
M: I don't need new trousers.
And so on. I wasn't willing to pay like 100$ for something I didn't need but she loved how they looked.

And today I just panicked. My sister-in-law bought me a new coat, very nice and warm, but my old hat had totally unfitting color for it (and it is fairly worn). I went to a shopping mall with my girls just for simple groceries and then I spotted a hat that I liked and that would fit the new coat. So I told the girls I'm going to buy myself a new hat.
And then the hell started. They both suddenly wanted new hats and started trying on everything they could spot and saying they want everything... I panicked and evacuated buying nothing.

I suppose it's normal but I have no idea how to handle it. I used to be poor when I was a child, so my parents just told me they couldn't afford something - and there were no shopping malls here back then. Now I'm sort of well-off but I don't want to spend money on silly things I don't need.
Do you have some ideas how to handle the girls' urge to buy?


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ASDMommyASDKid
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18 Dec 2017, 3:39 pm

This is a tough one especially when it is two of them doing it and you have to corral both of them. It may be better to tackle this when you are not at a shop just to explain to them about money. I would probably do that in a very aspie way discussing finite resources and budgets and such, but if they are not interested in economics too much, I would try not to go on and on as much as would be prone to doing. I would make sure to mention that this means that you should be careful with money and save some for the future and emergencies and so you don't just buy anything you see and think is pretty.


Then I would explain you have need of a hat but didn't intend to get everyone a hat because their hats are just fine and match their coats. You could also explain that while it seems they really enjoy clothes shopping, that not everyone does, and that you look at in the same way they probably look at it when you shop for food (or whatever activity they find tedious but understand is necessary)

Then the next time you have a similar occurrence you can reference that conversation and hope it sticks. If they pick something out for you to buy for yourself (which is actually rather sweet, though misguided) I would say if it is not to my taste if that is the reason I don't want it, or if I don't need it, say that. If they persist then remind them that if you spend money on something you do not need or want then there is less money in the future for other things. It is a good lesson for every kid to know.

My son is not NT so I do not have this problem, but I have seen how materialistic some of the cousins are on my husband's side of the family and am grateful I don't have this problem. I do think they are encouraged in it by their parents though. I think you can avoid it getting to that point by explaining it. it does not mean you have to quash all of their joy out of it -- when you want them to have something you can let them have fun and enjoy the experience. if you need something, and you think you can make it fun for them, you could also let them help you pick something as long as they know you have final say so you do not end up with a hat with glitter and unicorns on it or something little kids would like. LOL



magz
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19 Dec 2017, 6:01 am

Thanks!
I cooled down a bit and I think the issues are:
1. Okay, I disagree with my daughter on material posessions philosophy. We probably always will disagree here, I supect it's hardwired in our brains ;) Just a thing to accept.
2. Even with these differences in mind I believe I can bring her up not to judge people by what they own - it's the thing I see as really important.
3. The girls even now have their little pocket money that they can do whatever they want with. It started as means to limit sweets for them but there are other benefits of this system, like learning to make decisions, count money and do groceries on their own.
4. The main problem in the whole situation was that I got heavily overwhelmed. I think I wouldn't mind even buying them something new. But the little ones got very excited and I lost control, feared they would make mess in the shop, soil things and that we could end up buying tons of unnecessary stuff just because of their excitement combined with my inability to resist.
5. I thought I may send them shopping with my sister-in-law, who enjoys shopping as an activity. Or we can go together. She is much more expirienced with shopping and I'm much more expirienced with kids, so together maybe we could keep things under control and still have some fun.


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19 Dec 2017, 9:22 am

Their behavior is completely normal; there is nothing weird about kids wanting stuff that they find pretty or nice, so you definitely don't have to worry about that. To avoid situations like these in the future, try to teach the value of money to your kids. Try simple examples, like: "If I buy you this hat now, I can't afford to buy you candy this week" or "I made the money by working, so I get to decide what it is used on. Once you make your own money by working, you get to decide what to use it on" etc. As for them behaving badly in shops... how about just leaving the place with them without buying anything for anyone everytime they do that? Eventually, they should learn that bad behavior (like not listening to you or running around) in a shop means that no one gets anything nice.

Of course, this is my adult, autistic brain talking. Logic might not work so easily with NT children, but it might be worth a try.



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19 Dec 2017, 10:11 am

My mother used to drag me clothes shopping. I had no choice in what clothes I got. I didn't care, really.

The "malls" weren't called "malls" when I was a kid. They were called "shopping centers." Usually, though, people who lived in the city used to go into the "elegant" city department stores to shop. Or the not-so-elegant ones like Alexanders or Mays.

I really didn't care what I wore. And I had no idea what "good" clothes were. Kids used to just wear polo shirts/tee-shirts and dungarees/jeans back then. If you talked about clothes as a boy, you were deemed "suspicious" in the gay sense.



magz
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19 Dec 2017, 12:41 pm

I think the real problem was that I got overwhelmed when they got excited - so I proceeded to an emergency evacuation to avoid shutdown/meltdown in public.
I would like them to have the fun but the shopping situation is so uncomfortable for me in general that adding two excited little ones made it simply too much to bear.
I hope the sister-in-law would like to help me on it. She is NT, very social and she knows the girly stuff - and she is very nice and reasonable, too. I must ask her.


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26 Dec 2017, 2:42 pm

I also absolutely hate shopping.

My children are very different with shopping. My eldest (8, suspected autism) has always struggled with choice, committing, investing too much personal emotion in the objects in the shop and then ritualised behaviour around shopping. For her, I often take her shopping as an exercise. I make sure I have lots of time and patience and just practise with her going through the motions of shopping - choosing, committing, behaving ok in the shopping exchange. We never go to more than one shop and the boundaries have to be quite clear (buying one thing, not spending too long choosing - like hours - etc.) when she was younger and couldn't choose we would exit the shop and return to the car and then she would make her choice once we left the shop and she got a breather and she could then run back and get the thing she wanted.

My youngest (3, NT), will literally march into a shop and choose. She is obsessed with new things and could just shop indefinitely. For her I had a discussion away from a shopping situation that we have to put things on birthday lists and I make sure I let her know in advance whether we are buying anything or not on this particular occasion.If not, I say, you can always put it on your list and she is fairly satisfied with that.

My sympathy, sounds very stressful to be put on the spot. And sorry you didn't get your new hat!


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02 Jul 2018, 12:22 pm

When my daughters were small my wife and I took them shopping all the time at the Malls. My daughter would come up to me with some clothes and ask if I would buy it for her. I asked if it was on sale. She was really small at the time and could barely read. I showed her that at the top of a rack, there was a sign that said "Sale". She looked for the sign above the item she had selected and realized it was not on sale. So back it went. Now the next time I took her shopping, she came up to me with an item of clothing and asked if I would buy it for her. She said it was on sale. I said How Much. What percentage off was the item. So she learned to be a very thrifty shopper. Now my two daughters are grown and have children all their own and they know how to stretch every last dime.


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