Is everyone sick of fidget spinners yet? I wonder what the next fad will be. I just hope it is cheap and innocuous!
I don’t generally begrudge my children’s indulgence in the latest craze – on the proviso they fund it themselves. After all, fads can be kind of fun. I know I had my fair share as a kid. Remember slap bands, troll dolls and tamagotchis? I never could keep that darn virtual pet alive.
The other thing I don’t mind about fads is they can be a good conversation starter with the kids for a few important life lessons. (Oh how I wish someone sat me down and explained how much harder children are to keep alive than tamagotchis.)
I have no desire to raise rebellious children, but I am hell bent on not raising sheep. Social conformity has its benefits but it’s important we teach our children to be independent, critical thinkers from a young age. FOMO (fear of missing out) means that our kids will often make choices that aren’t in their best interests if they aren’t taught to question WHY something is good or bad.
Here are some things you can teach children about fads that will hopefully stand them in good stead:
- Fads are fleeting. That’s what makes them fads. If you choose not to take up a fad the FOMO won’t last long!
- Just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t make it a wise decision. Not all fads are safe. For example, many of the internet challenges that are going around are downright dangerous. There are ones that involve choking, setting yourself on fire, burning yourself with salt and ice, the scary list goes on and on. Even the seemingly tame fidget spinners have an evil side with kids swallowing parts or getting cuts to the face doing tricks.
- It’s ok to be different. If all of your mates have a fidget spinner but you don’t, you are not less of a person. The fidget spinner does not define you or your worthiness as a friend. If you are a social outcast for not conforming to a fad, you need to find better friends (see points 1 & 2 above).
- Fads are all about marketing. These flashy must-have items are just a ploy to part you with your cash. I tell my kids they can spend their hard earned money on these things but when they really want something worthwhile (a relative concept for kids) like a new Playstation game, they won’t be able to pay for it with fidget spinners.
- Don’t be scared to be a late adopter. Sometimes things start out like a fad but turn into a worthwhile trend or even stick around for the long haul. Take smart watches and other technological gadgets for example. Often the first round of these things isn’t the best anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to wait a while until they iron out the bugs before you hop on board.
Call me a killjoy if you like, but even something seemingly insignificant like a fad can turn into a worthwhile life lesson if you approach it from the right angle.