She could browse through a simple brochure that we picked up from the cake shop and ask us for every single item in the brochure. Or she could point and asked for every doll she came across in a Disney magazine.
I've asked myself if this is just a passing phase or is this the root of a potential trap for consumerism. My mom & my aunt would often relate how I used to behave whenever I was brought to a department store. I would ask for everything that caught my eye. Instead of using that as a teaching moment, my aunt would lie that she'd need to send a pick-up truck to wait for us by the entrance of the department store to cart those stuff home for me. I wouldn't blame my aunt (who's not married and might not have any parenting knowledge for that matter) for doing that cos that was an effective way of keeping my tantrums down. I wasn't given much guidance and lesson about money management when I was little.
So 20 years after that incident, I turned into a hopeless shopaholic that chock up a 5 figure credit card debt on shopping! It took me a painful 3-4 years to completely clear off every cent of the debt that I've rolled up. With proper planning & discipline, I was fortunate to be able to rid the debt quickly. It was a lesson that I've learned through the hard way and have since kept my records clean!
With that history behind me, I am very conscious about how I should teach my children about spending wisely. The incident with Little Missy has given us a valuable teaching moment. The hubs and I have decided to nip the problem at its bud and it has to start when they are young.
We've decided not to buy things that could potentially stumble our kids into consumerism such as fanciful stuff from the big brands (if we ever do buy, it'll be a surprise reward, and not at their request for it). We will also guide them into saving up for things that they want to buy (we hope to teach them about delayed gratification). We will only buy replacements of things that they need if they are broken (in this we want to teach them about need over want).
That being said, we as parents would also need to be conscientious about the way we spend lest we set a bad example to the children. It certainly takes a lot of discipline and conscious effort to do so. I really don't wish to see my kids paving the old way I've been through so would have to work hard in this area for their sake!