The REAL American Girl?
What kind of world do we live in when a 5-year-old knows the difference between a REAL American Girl doll, and a knock off? Wait, and why does this matter? Can anyone remind me?
When I was 5 years old, I didn’t know a thing about brands. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in high school and coveted a pair of Jordache jeans that my parents would not buy me, that I even thought about brand names versus non-brand names.
A few weeks ago, when my daughter took her Christmas ‘American Doll” (from Target because I refuse to pay over a $100 for a doll for my 5 year old that will end up with Sharpie on her face) to school for share day, one of the kids made fun of her saying, “Your doll is not a real American Girl doll!”
So when I picked her up, she asked me. “IS this a real American Girl doll?” She was deeply concerned. Had she been duped by Santa? I did what any good mom would do, and lied. “Of course it is!” She gave a sigh of relief and then went on to tell me the story about ‘Abigail' ousting her in front of the whole class during share time that her doll was in fact, a fake. I thought about explaining karma, but decided otherwise.
I know kids will be kids. I also know – having two teenagers – that brand names at some point come into the psychological play of the social hierarchy at school. I don't agree with it, but I know that it happens. Few 10th graders would be walking around with a knock off Vera Bradley back pack. But in kindergarten? (Scratching my head)
Which brings me to my next question? Why does a 4th grader need a $80 book bag? Why would you pay $75 for jeans at Abercrombie when you could get them for $15 at a second hand store, or find just as nice a pair at Target? (Especially when your child is going to grow out of them in a matter of months?)
And all of this in the wake of a recession? As a society, we can barely afford our grocery bills, so how are we affording all these upscale amenities for our children?
Obviously, kids get this snobbish attitude from their parents. They have to. There is no other reason that a 5 year old would shun another 5 year old for having what she thought was a fake doll.
Here's what I think. We should feel compelled to provide our children with what we can afford. Owning a car is better than making payments on a car any day of the week. Kids actual ‘needs' really are slight. The fake American Girl doll will play just as well as the real one.
We should be teaching our children, that price tags and brand names, and the latest fads are not tied to our self image or self worth. No one person is better than another based on what they have in monetary terms. And just as important, we should teach our children to be grateful for what they do have, what they have been provided with.
Considering that RIGHT now, this very minute – there are dozens of parents bidding on EBAY for an empty “REAL” American Girl box that they can pack a knock off in, do you think we are going too far?
What do you think?