Dear Ilana and Jess: My kids want elaborate Halloween costumes this year. The ones they’ve picked are adorable, but so expensive. We really can’t afford to buy three costumes at those prices. How can I explain this to them? – Patricia
Dear Patricia: It’s a fact that the costumes are unaffordable, so first, establish realistic expectations for yourself before communicating them to your children. While the kids probably can’t understand the details of your family’s financial constraints, it’s always a good idea to be honest with them. Explaining what the kids need to know, in an age-appropriate way, can give them deeper understanding and alleviate some frustration. For example, you might start out by saying to the kids: “I love the costumes you’ve picked out! Unfortunately, we can’t afford to buy a costume at this price. Every family is different, and we have to make the best we can with what our family has.”
In every obstacle, there’s an opportunity. Once you explain the limitations, instill hope and demonstrate how the kids can create an awesome Halloween costume. Say this: “Even though we can’t afford the specific costume you picked out, we can make something just like it together. Why don’t we go to the craft store together after school on Friday to pick out all the materials you need and get started?” The more fun and collaborative you make the process, the more you prime your kids to feel excited. Not the crafting kind? See if you can construct the costume by purchasing clothing items that look similar to the costume itself. Then, you can then find accessories at a local party store that really make it feel authentic.
Say This: “I love the costume you’ve picked out! Unfortunately, we can’t afford to buy a costume at this price. Every family is different, and we have to make the best we can with what our family has. Even though we can’t afford the specific costume you picked out, we can make something just like it together. Why don’t we go to the craft store together after school on Friday to pick out all the materials you need and get started?”
Not That: “We just can’t afford this. You need to pick something else.”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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