Parenting: I Need Advice On Pokemon Cards

My eldest son, who is  currently six, has very recently gained an unceasing craving for wanting Pokemon cards.  He currently has a total of one card (which a friend gave to him), but to him it is more valuable than gold.  But here’s the thing:  He knows virtually nothing about Pokemon.  He hasn’t seen any of the shows, hasn’t played any of the video games, hasn’t read any of the books, and hasn’t even played the Pokemon card game.  Yet, these cards are the coolest thing in the world to him right now.

He first saw Pokemon cards at a friend’s house.  I remember him looking at them and thinking they were cool, but I didn’t really hear any talk from him about them.  But recently, his friends came over to our place, and one of them brought their 3-ring binder full of cards.  They looked at them for hours (which is interesting because it is meant to be a game, and they never once played the game).  My son was devouring all the information about these cards that his friends were telling him.  All this talk like, “whoa, this one has 190 attack power”, “this one can regenerate while attacking”, “this one is an EX and those are way better”, “this one is legendary”, “this one is really rare”, etc.  And, anyone who has kids knows that they love to tell you boatloads of information about things you know (and sometimes care) nothing about, so we have had more than an earful of information about these cards told to us.

Now, of course, he wants his own.  These things, at retail, cost about $4.99 for a pack of 10 cards. He has a total of $9 or so, which he has been talking for a while now about saving up for a specific lego set that he really wants (which is about $40).  But now that Pokemon is on the radar, and his obsession has gone wild, all sights on the lego set have vanished.  Last night he said to my wife as he was being kissed goodnight, “mom, can we go shopping tomorrow?  I just really want to go shopping.”  He never volunteers the idea to go shopping – he obviously is wanting to go buy Pokemon cards.

The interesting thing as a parent, is that we want to help our children learn to make good decisions, but we can’t make all of their decisions for them.  In this case, he has an obsession over these cards, which are a game, and he knows nothing about the theme (Pokemon), and has never even played the game (nor has he expressed an interest in actually playing the game).  The value that he sees in these things like “attack power”, some “EX” classification, the cards “special abilities”, etc. means absolutely nothing outside of the context of playing the game.  So, it seems, he just wants these cards because of the appeal of having your own so that he can look at them from time to time and keep them on his dresser.

In this case, what would you suggest?  One side of my reasoning wants to tell him “no” to these things as they are a waste of money and seem to provide nothing really to do other than look at them.  He has already set a goal to save for something he’s wanted for a long time, and he will never achieve it if he continually spends his money on things that he can afford at the time and provide instant gratification.  I think the obsession may fade quickly considering how fast it came to be.  On the other side, maybe I shouldn’t care as much about how useless I personally see these cards for him and allow him to spend his money  how he wants (within reason of course) and see first-hand the benefits of saving, and what it’s like to have spent all your money and can’t afford something when a good opportunity arrises.

Would really like to hear your thoughts!

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2 thoughts on “Parenting: I Need Advice On Pokemon Cards

  1. I was in your son’s shoes once upon a time. Pokémon was a drug to me and my brother and all my friends. And my dad was just like you, not wanting us to waste money on something so crazy.
    But honestly, that Pokémon faze in my life was a great one. That being said, I played the games and also watched the show, but your son is only six, so maybe he’ll grow to do those things too. My Pokémon faze lasted several years, then died down, then came back again. And even now, my brother and I still have all our Pokémon things (toys, games, and a heck of a lot of cards, organized to perfection in a binder) because not only do we still think they’re cool (in a nostalgic sort of way) but since they’re in good condition, they could be worth a lot in the future.
    Don’t worry about your son not worrying about the value of money because a) there’s plenty of time for that and b) he still will as he uses the Lego money for them.
    I can’t say for sure obviously, but maybe his desperation for more than his one card is a sign of what it’s like at school. Are all his friends loaded with cards to play with or organize or whatnot and he’s left with just the one? Maybe he’s feeling left out, and I can also personally attest to what that’s like, so if a five dollar pack of cards can eliminate that feeling, I’d say it’s worth it.
    Lastly, he’s a kid. He’s six. Of course he’s interested in something geared toward kids that you, a grownup, see as stupid. This will be common as your kids grow up.
    So basically, I’m saying that I think you guys should let him buy the cards. They’re fun and safe and if he’s interested, even just for a bit, I don’t see what’s wrong with supporting that. After all, in the grand scheme of things, 5 bucks isn’t that big of a deal.
    Hope I helped!

    • Thank you for your thoughts miss pottergleefan4. I have come to the same conclusion, for now at least. He spent nearly every penny he had on a game starter deck. He hasn’t tried to learn it yet because he’s mostly opposed to reading and isn’t interested in reading the directions, and he only sees the guys who have Pokemon cards once every couple of months. And even though the back of the box listed out every single card in the deck, he was still acting like he was lucky to and surprised to get certain cards. So he hasn’t yet played, and he doesn’t know how to play. The only thing I’ve seen him do so far is spell out “Pokemon Card” on his bedroom floor using the cards (hah!).

      I am just hoping that it doesn’t turn out to be this urge in him where he’s always wanting to get better and better cards, never being satisfied with what he has. Time will tell. He’s a kid, and there’s a lot to learn. But sometimes parents need to step in – and it’s finding that line that can be challenging.

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