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January 24, 2019

Teaching kids the importance of self control

Have you gone shopping in supermarkets of late? Have you noticed how some stores have revamped their marketing strategies with regard to children? In some supermarkets, you will find brightly coloured cartoon-themed children’s toys, educational books, games, music items, candy and other trendy fads and novelties generously sprinkled in many different aisles, and which are strategically placed at the eye-level of children.

These items literally beg for the attention of kids, and however much a child may try to ignore the temptation to touch, feel, pick and eventually ask their parent to buy it for them, many are not able to resist the enticement. It is a marketing gimmick that works efficiently, and even better if it translates into sales.

However, there are a growing number of parents who are not happy with such marketing strategies.

Why so?

Because when they go to the supermarket, it is often to buy essentials. In those instances when they have their child along with them, they find themselves bombarded with the alluring displays of children’s products. Soon, the child begins pestering their mother about taking home one of the items. Before you know it, the child is throwing a tantrum, screaming, crying and rolling on the floor, demanding to be bought the item. Pray, what is a parent supposed to do to such a child? Spank them? Ignore them? Give in and buy the item for the child if only to quieten him and stop the embarrassment he is causing them?

Parents who are not a happy lot are expressing their disappointment with the supermarket.

They are questioning the standing of the supermarket, saying they are behaving in an unethical manner by clearly taking advantage of kid’s emotions by understanding their psychology and knowing very well that if they pepper the supermarket aisles with attractive children’s items, they stand a high chance of having children ask their parents to buy an item. Some parents believe the supermarkets are wrong in how they are going about their sales tactics, and are up in arms about it.

One may however see it differently. For starters, these marketing gimmicks by such supermarkets are not about to end. For them, it is all about the bottom lines. It’s about sales, sales and more sales. They are in business after all, and will employ whatever means to ensure that their products fly off the shelves — literally. Meaning it is upon you as a parent to know what to do in the event that your child, while in the supermarket, decides to throw a tantrum about wanting that toy that is dancing and belting out sweet tunes in their face.

The best thing that parents should do from a tender age is instil the virtue of discipline and control in their children. They should help them understand the need to be in control of their feelings, and how to deal with rejection — such as when the parent says ‘no’ to them. Parents need to help their children understand that they cannot always have what they want, at anytime they want. They should let them know the value of money, and the importance of having a budget and sticking to it. The children should have a sense of financial responsibility from an early age.

More so, a child should never hold their parent hostage at any one time. The parent is the adult, and should take charge in all situations, and not be afraid of their child. Giving in to children makes matters worse, for you and them, because that child will always manipulate their parent, knowing they can get away with it. Unfortunately, this is behaviour they may carry on into adulthood.

So it’s not about the supermarket and its sales gimmicks, but rather it is about parents and their parenting style. Remember, the responsibility of raising your own child does not lie with anyone else but you.

The writer is a journalist and award-winning motherhood blogger. Follow her on

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