June 18, 2013

On Giving Them What They "Need"

My firstborn, you're thirteen. Challenges are surely coming our way.

“So, do you really need it to be an expensive shoe?!”

And I was met with hot tears.

He didn’t have to answer my question. Of course I can buy him affordable rubber shoes. But what kind of “need” are we talking about here? I know It’s not about the physical features of the shoe. His need for the ridiculously expensive shoe is on a social, hormonal, materialistic level kind of need.

And I completely understand that. He’s a teenager.

I quickly checked my icy self and softened. I hugged him. I wanted him to know that I understand him. Flashback of me crying for hours and hours in our tiny, tiny car because I wanted my father to buy me the latest, the rubber shoes of all rubber shoes: Nike Air Jordan 9. My father kept saying we couldn’t afford it. And I cried endlessly and deliberately. In our car, in our house, practically everywhere he can possibly see me. He struck a deal with me and got me Tretorn instead. Tretorns were the “in” thing back then, but it wasn’t exactly the kind of shoes you would want to be sporting in the middle of a basketball game. I was a varsity player. We were competing in the Women’s Basketball League! I have to have a pair of kick-ass rubber shoes. I cried and cried while wearing my Tretorn until one day, I got my Nike Air Jordan 9. Then 10. Then 11. Then 12. Then 13.

I had shoes that all the boys in my school wanted. Did I become a better player? Maybe. But without a doubt it made my basketball life more fun.

Now I am in my father’s, err, shoes. Karma at its finest. I didn’t know that it’s this hard and utterly heartbreaking when you fail to give what your children ask for. Had I known that it was this painful, I would’ve punched my 13-year-old self in the face. They say you can only understand your parents when you become one yourself. And oh boy is that saying true. 

Alas, parenting has no template. In fact, parents with many children can tell you that parenting one kid to another has to be different to suit each child's intelligence, behavior, temperament, and character. This weekend my husband and I will have to talk to our teen regarding materialism and its effect on people. Hopefully we can shed some light to his "unexplainable needs".

I got him two pairs of affordable shoes for everyday use. Will buy him relatively affordable PE shoes come this weekend.
Will buy him his dream shoes when he has done what he needs to do according to a chart I will make for him.

In my son's school they don't believe in the "reward system" most especially if the reward is very materialistic. But truth be told, this has been proven to be a good system for my son. I have given my son several expensive shoes but all of them didn’t last long. Either he misuses them or his feet would magically grow longer overnight. This time, I really have no money for his dream Adidas shoes, and even if I will close my eyes and spend that much, there’s an ugly feeling that it’s not worth it. To make it worthy I will create a reward chart for him to achieve his dream shoes. He will have to work really hard for his dream shoes.  

Because despite the fact that I am not a materialistic kind of person, I am not disregarding that kind of need. I believe for some people it is supplemental to their overall growth.



  1. You know what Ria and I do? We buy not latest ones but hunt for older models. Sometimes we get a pair for half the price! Just recently, I bought her a New Balance Minimus for only 2,500. :) Its regular price is P5k++. If you noticed it, that's the orange pair she was wearing last weekend.

  2. Awwww :( Rain is nowhere near teen-hood yet but I can feel your pain through this post :( dreading the day when I would have to break Rain's heart if I can't give her what she wants :( thanks for this post! At least i know what to expect in being a mom of a teenager :-)

    Hoping your shopping goes well! :-)

    1. Hopefully you won't have to go through that phase. Hehe :) Thanks sweetie!