We have a 16, 14, and 11-year-old: all good kids (if I don’t say so myself).
We try to splurge on them, but also try to raise them with a good sense of financial acumen while weighing when to say yes or no to the wants. For instance, we wait until 8th grade graduation for them to get a phone, and even then they don’t get web access. I know most of their friends have web access, but I guess it is the Scottish in me that doesn’t want to fork out $20 a month for a utility they really don’t need (what does a kid really need from the web via their phone – especially one who isn’t driving?).
On the other hand, we do splurge on them sometimes. For example…well, I’ll have to think about that one and get back to you.
Anyway, the topic of kids and their spoils often comes to mind: from hearing of the 2nd grader with an iPhone, iPad, and MacBok – to seeing the stretch Hummer bring kids to the Middle School dance. I read about new heights today though in a Wall Street Journal article titled: “The New Luxury Kids’ Rooms.”
I think you readers, as military families, will get a kick out of what the parents in this article feel they must do to keep their kids happy.
In the military, we move a bit. And those moves, combined with living in 2,000 square-foot base houses, usually require having our kids simplify their lives. I’m not saying military kids are deprived – far from it. They have their X Boxes, get to play club sports, or travel quite a bit. But compare that with what these teens and tweens get:
- “…a 1,000-square-foot teen suite with ping-pong and billiards tables, a recording studio, kitchen and a theater for movies and video games. The estimated cost: roughly $750,000.”
- “…daughter and two sons…each had a 2,000-square-foot suite with a bedroom, study room and playroom, all adjoined by a common homework room/lounge.”
- “…an 8,000-square-foot home…with sprawling “kid zone.” In addition to two master-suite-size bedrooms for the teenage son and daughter, the zone includes a karaoke theater, a movie theater, a full kitchen, an indoor basketball court, a DJ mixing station and a sleepover space with hanging bunk beds.”
One 12-year-old states how nice it is “if you have a long day of school to sit down on the couch and play video games or watch TV.” The tough life of a tween in America – and those third-world kids think they have it tough!
The article subtitle is: “To keep teens and tweens occupied at home, more parents try luxe, amenity-packed ‘kid zones.’” I’m kind of embarrassed though and need to be honest: we had the same thought and are a little guilty ourselves of extravagance – to have our house as the place to be for our kids and their friends we went out and bought a 37-inch big screen TV for the extra room, and we chipped in with the kids on an X Box. It worked too – we have sleepovers galore! But, I’m a little surprised the Wall Street Journal didn’t call us – our example would fit right in with the above.
There are two things about the article that stand out though. First, the parents in the article talk about keeping their kids in the house. What about having them go outside or be active? Except for the basketball hoop, all of the rooms lend themselves to sedentary activities. I’d be more impressed if they spent half of the funds on a climbing wall or a batting cage.
Second, this “extraordinarily loving and conscientious generation of parents” is spending this money to spend more time with their kids. Funny, but I didn’t read about “family rooms” – these are all tween and teen lounges.
But go read the article. As a military family, or a military brat, I think you’ll find it interesting.
As for me, I have to start saving up for the $1,139 average cost for a prom.