Dear Monica, I have a 15-year-old daughter and I live on the Main Line. I see girls in their teens driving the most expensive cars, wearing designer jewelry and carrying expensive pocketbooks. How do you raise a grounded teen in this area? —L.T., Bryn Mawr
I used to think the suburbs of Chicago, New Jersey and New York were just as bad as the Main Line when it came to parents’ inabilities to distinguish the difference between having money and spoiling children. I am told vehemently by the transplants that the Main Line stands alone when it comes to this. Not only are the women clique-y and difficult to befriend, but the way they lavish their daughters with materialistic nonsense is nauseating. The only thing worse is seeing their sons with Gucci loafers and Burberry socks—not exactly attire to watch your sibling play soccer on a Saturday morning. It all boils down to the nouveau way money is spent. The old-time Main Liners would never indulge in such foolishness.
Last week at the nail the salon, I saw a gaggle of Harriton, Shipley and Baldwin girls emerge from their Cayennes and Land Rovers for their manis and pedis. The girls pulled their Louis Vuitton wallets from their Prada messenger bags as their Cartier bracelets get in the way. I thought to myself: My God, I got my first pedicure for my wedding and that was considered over the top.
It all boils down to insecurity. The women who feel the need to drench their daughters in their vision of wealth either did not have it growing up and now don’t know what to do with it, or they have no other way to show love. Plenty of people with affluence, morals and values make their children work and pay the insurance for the used car that they drive. Just because you live on the Main Line does not mean that you have to be a caricature. This behavior has come to the point where it is no longer about keeping up with the Joneses, but rather giving the Joneses the perception that they need to keep up with you.
The mothers who are teaching their daughters that life is all about what you have are doing them a tremendous disservice. No man is going to want to date a woman so materialistic. These girls are never going to be happy because Daddy has already bought it all for them before they are 20 years old. Last but not least, no man is going to want to compete with Daddy when it comes to making a spoiled-rotten woman happy for the rest of her life.
Good for you, reader, for wanting to teach your daughter to be grounded. The most important thing is to do well in school, have nice friends and make a future for yourself. Happiness comes from within and has nothing to do with what you wear or what restaurant you eat dinner at. Well-rounded, educated, hard-working women and men are the ones who are going to succeed the most and remember the solid foundation of their childhood and adolescence.You can raise a grounded child on the Main Line. It may take some explaining as to why they can’t have all the same things as the other brats in the neighborhood, but in the end, they will find like-minded people and ultimately appreciate their parents for their down to earth upbringing.