Keep Up With The Joneses


Do these sound familiar to you?

“Mommy, my friend has her own computer and why must I share a set with sis?”


“Daddy, can you buy me a dog because our neighbour has bought his son a puppy and it is so cute!”

Who say only adults are tempted to keep up with the joneses?  Kids , these days, benchmark and are tempted to own material possessions that their peers, siblings and others have too.

Even my little one has been raising requests….

Darren: “Mommy, most of my classmates are carrying iphones and when can you buy one for me? Can you buy me one as birthday gift?

<Frankly, I am wondering why are parents getting their young children smartphones when they are officially banned from being brought to school in the first place. Why do these primary school-going kids need smartphones anyway? Then I recalled how my friends would take over the older model handphones from their children while they bought the latest smartphones for their children.>


Darren:”Gor gor has an ipad and I wish I could have one for my birthday gift. You are so unfair.”

<For my 9-year old, not owning the items that his brother has is deemed as unfair and not necessarily that our boy justifiably need the item.>


Darren:”Do you know several of my classmates are living in private properties and have domestic helpers? Why we cannot be like them?”

Then I would ask him whether he would prefer to stay in a large landed property and perhaps spending most time with domestic helper and with little presence of the family members, or a simple roof over the head but a place where he finds much family warmth.  You see. I was trying to explain to him the true meaning of HOME, regardless of its size or status.


When my little one gets extremely ambitious….

Darren:”I want to own a lamborghini when I start work.”

Me: “Why do you need such a speedy car when you can hardly race in Singapore?”

Darren: “It makes me look cool!”

<Well, to look cool, it is how we carry ourselves and not necessarily how we “accessorize” our lifestyle. least this is how I feel.>



* As parents, when we don’t handle our children’s demand to keep up with the joneses carefully, we can in fact be encouraging them. We might send wrong messages that it is a correct mindset to blindly follow trend or own things to upkeep social status.  In worse case, we do not wish to let them have wrong impressions that money comes easy.

* Most importantly, as adults and role models, we have to ensure that we are NOT showing our young ones that we are keeping up with the joneses ourselves.  We have our weaknesses and tend to envy what others have and sometimes model after others’ lifestyles without further thoughts.  As parents, if we show our children that we work hard to go after material needs, then it makes it hard for us to educate them with the correct values.

In my own instances, after becoming a SAHM, I tend to assess more carefully before acceding to our boys’ requests to make unnecessary purchases. I tend to ponder more too before I set my mind to buy any “good to have” item for myself or family. Certain questions, we ask our boys to ponder over before we make the purchases are :

Is there an alternative to purchase or is there a cheaper substitute?

Do they have time to make use of the items or how are they making use of the items?

Do they know the reasons why their peers own the items?

Why are certain elite brands being preferred?

Where is the storage space?

Are they willing to sacrifice the opportunity to purchase other necessary items?

Why is it deemed as unfair just because their friends own something they don’t have?

What are the purposes or benefits of owning the new items?

Thankfully for us, these guidelines somehow are quite effective on our children and I guess our explanations help too when we are faced with unreasonable demands.

As for you, what are your usual reactions when your children try to keep up with the joneses?

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