Don't get me wrong, I am all for self expression, but what does Self Expression get you? Yes you want people to think of you as an "unique" individual. In the end it is more about an outwardly expression than internal. Yes it makes you feel good as well but more importantly you want acceptance from people in your immediate surrounding. My question to you is, is it worth it for you in the long run?
It starts at an early age, we want something similar to someone kid in our class but we don't want the same exact thing because we don't want to be called a copycat. Soon there are more wants as we grow older. We get ideas from magazines and get bombarded with television ads. We are told what is in fashion today and what is not. To be "cool" everyone is wearing this or doing this to their hair etc etc.
Eventually when we start making our own money we are told that for half of our paycheck we can get the latest and greatest BMW or Mercedes Benz (Sorry BMW, Mercedes Benz). Soon we fall in the debt traps and we swipe our credit cards and finance more and more. All in the name of being "unique". As parents we should encourage self expression without breaking the banks. Promote less known brands and although their individuality is important to you and your child there is a limit. Once you supply them with their demands the demands will only increase to bigger and more expensive items. I am by no means an expert at parenting but I do know I was a kid once and I wanted the latest and greatest and my parents couldn't afford it and I eventually came to the realization few years later that they just couldn't afford it.
In Conclusion, if you are a parent or going to be a parent continue to promote self expression but rein in the limits. Just because the latest Vans are "cool" or someone at school has those does not make it okay to pull out your credit card to meet your kids needs. What are you thoughts? What have you done to rein in your expenses when it comes to your kids?