Parents can’t buy love with costly gifts

Who is sending parents scraping for change underneath the couch, giving headaches to public relations representatives and making lawyers work for their paycheck?

It’s 14-year-old Disney sensation Hannah Montana.

The eponymous TV show, starring actress and singer Miley Cyrus, is about a teenager who leads a double life as a high school student by day and a pop singer by night.

Citing Nielsen Media Research, a CNN article reported more than two-thirds of U.S. children in the six to 14 age group watched the show in the third quarter of 2007.

With such a strong fan base, tickets to Cyrus’ tour were expected to sell in the blink of an eye. And they did, literally.

Parents who invaded Ticketmaster with their credit cards at 10 a.m. – when tickets went on sale – were disappointed to find the show had already sold out. Scalpers had procured a good portion of those tickets and were reselling them for hundreds of dollars – thousands even – leaving parents empty-handed.

Cue to kicking feet and the sound of hearts breaking.

Parents found themselves emptying bank accounts or participating in ridiculous stunts to get back in their kids’ good graces. In St. Louis, 150 men showed up in high heels to compete in a race that would award the winner four free tickets to the concert. Ironically, the winner wasn’t even a parent. He competed on behalf of his boss, who has a young daughter. I guess he really needed the brownie points.

In North Carolina, a parent sued a ticket agency after purchasing four tickets for more than $1,000 – part of a birthday gift for her 6-year-old daughter. What a generous mother. Her daughter will be expecting her own third-world country by the time she turns 16.

Parents are going to unnecessary lengths to please their children, and someone needs to draw the line. It is not wise to swipe your credit card to the whims of children, the easy targets of short-lived fads. Children get the goods, but they don’t know how hard their parents worked to pay for them. By granting their every request, parents are only succeeding in distorting their children’s notion of the value of money.

It’s hard to say no, especially when a child’s cute big eyes well with tears in the same manner that Puss in Boots employs to disarm his opponents. However, overindulging your children will lead to unrealistic demands that strain not only the family budget but also the parent-child relationship.

Parents, you’re the adults. Don’t be afraid to say no. Your children will still love you, no matter how hard they slam the door or how loud they protest your alleged injustice.

Love is not a commercial transaction. Parents raising a healthy family shouldn’t feel the need to buy their children’s affection.

Julieta Chiquillo is a sophomore news-editorial major from San Salvador, El Salvador. Her column appears Tuesdays.