Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pester Power

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Pester Power

Article excerpt

Byline: By Marie Turbill

Toni Conroy's children have been talking about what they want for Christmas for the last four months.

"From January until July it's I want this for my birthday, I want that for my birthday," says the mum-of-four, from Brambles Farm, Middlesbrough. "But after July it is all about Christmas."

By the beginning of September, she says, Christmas is advertised on the telly and the kids quickly pick up on it.

"They go back to school and all their friends are talking about what they are getting and that emphasises it even more."

It is a story that will be all too familiar to any parent. And it can cause a lot of stress and pressure for parents struggling to keep up, financially, with their children's demands.

Come Christmas "pester power" is at its highest, leaving many parents feeling the pinch.

With Garath, 12, Josh, ten, Alisha, seven, and Dion, three, mum Toni and dad Gary are used to the barrage of requests.

Toni says: "I think there is too much advertising. It puts the pressure on to buy this and that toy but none of it is for old fashioned family games.

"It is all about computer games for the PC, XBox and Play Stations. There are no outdoor toys, apart from bikes, and that is a very individual pursuit. They never promote spending time together and playing.

"These are values I hold strongly. Children should learn to share and learn to be a good sport when they play, whether they win or lose."

To emphasise this point, the Conroys have a set routine in the run up to Christmas.

"The children all write a list of what they want," says Toni.

"I tell them to write what they really like and then I will pick off that list what we are able to get.

"This way it is still a surprise. They don't say what they want and that is what they get, as there would be no surprise and no fun. …

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