updated 22 Nov 2012, 19:52
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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
The Straits Times
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Track shopaholic daughter's spending habits

Q: My 16-year-old daughter, an only child, shops so much that a three-door wardrobe is not enough to contain her clothes. She reckons that as we can afford to employ a maid, own a car and have a fully paid home, it is okay for her to eat at restaurants often and buy branded stuff. How do we teach her to be more financially prudent?

A: As with other addictions, a person with a compulsive buying problem experiences the highs and lows during buying episodes. Often he may feel angry or stressful and attempts to rectify the problem through more buying or spending.

This may escalate and turn into a vicious circle of more impulse buying that can lead to depression or regret later on.

One way to handle your daughter's obsessive buying behaviour is to track her purchasing habits.

Also, identify the possible cues that trigger the problem-buying. Talk to her to understand her thoughts that are linked to this habit. If she tends to buy when she is upset, suggest other ways of coping, such as going for a walk or swim.

Teach her to differentiate between healthy buying and hoarding. For example, buying a sweater is fine. But buying six sweaters in different colours at one go is excessive.

She also needs to learn to control her urge to shop compulsively when she is at the malls or at online shopping sites. Take her to a mall but let her overcome the temptation to buy by walking past her favourite shop.

Parents who give in to their children when they were young, encouraging self-indulgence, will find it tough to change their bad habits later on.

If your daughter refuses to cooperate with any of the suggestions, consider taking her to a professional. She might benefit from individual and group-based psychotherapy sessions. Or consider a psychological assessment with a psychologist or a counsellor at the National Institute of Education's Wellness Centre.

Assistant Professor Noel Chia Kok Hwee, who answered this question, is from the National Institute of Education's Early Childhood Group, with a special interest in behavioural disorders.

Got a parenting query? E-mail [email protected] with the header, Parenting 101.

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readers' comments
During school holidays, ask the children to take part time job.
Only then they will know.
Posted by hfourhappy on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 at 18:58 PM
She knows that money is no problem.
Just cut or restrict her allowance.
Posted by on Tue, 20 Nov 2012 at 18:52 PM

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