Just like being successful at work often means making your boss look successful, being a “cool mom” is all about helping your kids succeed.
Sure it’s frustrating when your kids don’t listen to you, but imagine how frustrating it is for them, if you don’t listen. Just like you appreciate your friends that really listen to you, your children will appreciate this, too. But that doesn’t mean you say “yes” to everything. Half of being a “cool parent” is remaining a parent who uses her wisdom to help her children avoid bad situations and behavior. Listening is about trying to understand your child’s values, desires, and concerns, so you can speak to them and make better decisions because you have more info.
A lot of being a “cool mom” is letting your kid be a “cool kid.” Often that means having some tech toys, which can be costly. Fortunately, there isn’t much difference between new smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets, and refurbished versions, except of course for the cost.
Teen style isn’t so much about having the nicest, most expensive brands. It’s about having your own style. Luckily retro is in and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and a lot of nice styles can be found at a discount in second-hand stores. It’s important not to try to push this on them, as again, it is about them choosing their style. A nice way to get them into this is to ask them to help you shop for yourself there and then offer to buy them a few things, too.
Cars with character
Cars can blow the budget quickly, but, depending where you live, a car can be a big status symbol for a kid. The important thing about this sort of item is that your child’s expectations never get out of hand. There are a lot of different ways to go with this. If your child can work without driving, making them pay for a portion isn’t unreasonable and will also help them appreciate it more.
One easy way to help your kids accept a cheaper car is to make them pay for the car insurance, and show them the difference in quotes between a new or fancy car and a more affordable vehicle.
If you have more than one kid, be careful not to overextend yourself on your first child and not be able to help as much on the next. Don’t think that you’ll be able to explain away their argument that “it’s not fair” regardless of the circumstances.
Explain where true value lies
For teenagers, sometimes life resembles a competition to be cool, and an easy solution is to own and do all the same things that the popular kids do. Sadly, this doesn’t always end after high school, or even after college. Instead of this pre-occupation with possessions that might make them seem cool, spend time fostering the behavior that will help them be recognized as charismatic. Instill them with confidence and the people skills that others respond to, as these will take them a lot farther in life than anything else.
Jared Jacobs has professional and personal interests in technology. As an employee of Dell, he has to stay up to date on the latest innovations in large enterprise solutions and consumer electronics buying trends. Personally, he loves making additions to his media rooms and experimenting with surround sound equipment. He’s also a big Rockets and Texans fan.
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