Nearly two-thirds of parents report, "My child defines his or her self-worth in terms of the things they own and wear more than I did when I was that age."
One study found that nearly two-thirds of mothers thought their children were brand-aware by age 3, and one-third said it happened at age 2.
Recently, my usually sweet and gentle little 6-year-old boy got in my face about something he saw on television and wanted me to get for him.
After watching a Saturday morning cartoon program, my son stormed into the kitchen and demanded that I take him to a certain fast-food restaurant so he could get some toy that was in a kid's meal.
He stood there with his hands on his hips asking: "When are you going to take me? How many times have you taken me?"
Then he had the audacity to answer the question for me: "Zero times, Mommy, zero times," he said, forming two fingers in the shape of a zero.
I was hot. Clearly, my son had lost his everlasting mind.
Usually I just ignore it when my kids nag me for stuff. But there was something in my son's manner that morning that made me take notice. He was product-possessed, and after I stopped fuming, I got scared.
I turned my son around and ordered him to go cut the television off. In fact, I went a step further. After that incident, I have severely limited his and his sisters' television watching.
In "Born to Buy," Schor outlines the numerous tactics that advertisers are using on our kids, many of which turn them into disrespectful tykes and teens.