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    Filed at 12:57 pm under by dcobranchi

    NEVER ENDING STORY In today’s edition of WWHS, the pressures facing kids to look the part in order to fit in at the public schools.

    Everything seems to matter.

    The 50-cent folder with Barney the purple dinosaur is totally unacceptable.

    The 50-cent folder with Lizzie McGuire, a Disney heroine, must be possessed.

    While such distinctions mystify and irritate parents, back-to-school shopping is a crucial time for students, experts say. Decisions made now will help influence how they are judged by their peers – and how they view themselves.

    “At least after age 7, the most important people in their lives are their peers. They dare not go back to face those peers without the trappings that are necessary for success. The clothing is extremely important, but the backpack and pencils are too,” said researcher James U. McNeal, who spent the last 40 years studying the consumer lives of children…

    By the time they reach first grade, McNeal found that children were not only identifying themselves with certain brands, but were making judgments of other people based on the brands they wear or consume.

    “We even discovered that a drink cup is considered an extension of their persona,” McNeal said. “They would prefer it say ‘Big Gulp’ rather than ‘7-Eleven.'”

    I don’t want my children taking any cues from their peers. If they want to, my kids could “do school” in their pajamas.

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