Shall I Take My Child with Me to Buy His School Supplies?
المنتدى الإسلامي العالمي للتربية

Shall I Take My Child with Me to Buy His School Supplies?

 

Question:

I work as a civil servant at one of the government bodies. At the beginning of each school year, we,  as civil servants, file an advance request to officials to be able to cover purchase of school supplies for our children, including uniforms, bags, stationery, and payment of fees. But unfortunately, the advance that I get from work is not sufficient to cover all these things, so I have to deduct part of the house monthly budget to compensate for that shortfall. Furthermore, children always implicate us in purchase of expensive things, which they choose without realizing the financial hardship and distress we are suffering.

In fact, I am convinced of involving my children with me in the purchase of their school supplies, considering that this matter concerns them, exactly as it concerns their parents, but recently some of my friends advised me not to take them (children) with me at buying school supplies.. I do not know which of the two things is better? Is it my point of view or my friend's advice?

Answer:

The school season is an annual season that puts pressure on all families that have children at school age, especially in the Arab world, where families give the provision of school supplies a greater concern than it should, which leads to exhausting families financially, and accordingly increasing their suffering. We should urgently reconsider everything related to these overloads on families, particularly in the Arab world, amid the global price rises that affect all essentials of living, including school supplies.

In developed countries, governments usually provide free, humane, decent and appropriate education, and provide uniforms as well, and some of them even provide free meals, stationery and appropriate medical care. Of course, in these developed countries, there is no private tuition (with high fees) or exaggeration in the stationery and other supplies required from children, where they adopt a kind approach towards pupils and their families, which makes teachers ask pupils to buy the minimum essential stationery and supplies, so as not to overburden the budgets of their families.

Unfortunately in our countries, the teacher does not feel the suffering of the pupils' families, as if he has just come from another planet, where he asks students to bring a long list of requirements that they may not be in real need, forgetting that there are other lists required by other teachers, and that some families may have several children that will be required to provide similar lists, making the suffering of these families indescribable.

For their part, families try to overcome these difficult situations by borrowing or requesting pay advances, or looking for wholesale stores or places for cheap shopping, or looking for lower quality stationery, or all the above together, in attempt to reduce the financial pressure on them on such occasions.

As for whether to accompany children while buying school supplies or not, it is a matter of discretion that families may evaluate. However, in fact, there are some advantages and disadvantages in both matters:

Taking your children with you there has psychological and educational benefits for the child, as children usually feel happy and joyful to experience such occasions, buy their own needs, and see other people buying their needs as well. On this occasion, stores get crowded, as happens on the days of Eid (holidays), which leaves a good and positive psychological impact on children and makes them start their school year with high spirits. However, one of the disadvantages of this is children’s immature and ill-considered choices that may expose the family to financial trouble.

Also, the advantages of failing to accompany children in the purchase of school supplies include: expenditure control, with respect to buying only essentials at affordable prices; commitment to only liabilities without adding any extra purchases; and having the opportunity to search for cheap alternatives without pressure from children. However, the disadvantages of not accompanying our children in buying school supplies include: depriving children of the right to participate with the family in an event that primarily concerns them, which may make lead to irresponsibility and indifference afterwards. Also, this may push children to act in isolation from their families and their financial and living conditions, which makes their demands always beyond the family’s reach, as a natural result of failure to feel their suffering and due to the lack of awareness of the limits of potentials – all this is only due to absence of children’s spirit of participation, as explained above.

Happy, blessed, and successful school year for our pupils and students, as well as for their families and teachers.

On this occasion, we pray to Allah Almighty to enable the nation to reconsider the requirements related to this important event and work to reduce its pressures on families, so that it can be more fruitful and beneficial to all.

Snippet:

Whether parents choose to take children with them while buying school supplies or not, it is a matter of discretion that families may evaluate. However, there are advantages and disadvantages in both matters.

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