It wasn’t until I was probably 12 or 13 that I was able to influence my Mom with egard to the things I wanted her to buy. Perhaps we’d have some luck in the cereal aisle, Lucky Charms were our favorite, but beyond that Mom bought what she thought was best.

Well no more. Today’s tweens have incredible influence of all types of purchases, from clothes and computers to cars and music. “Our culture has become more youth obsessed than ever”, says Elayne Rapping, Professor of American Studies at NYU. “Children are cool and the older you get, the less cool you become”. Tweens spend or influence their parents to spend $500 billion a year, estimates children’s marketing expert James McNeal. That’s real money. Enough to buy Microsoft and Google.

Fashion seems to lead the way for the tween markets. Both Hilary Duff and Amanda Bynes have launched lines for girls and Barf Brands has introduced a line targeting boys ages 6-11. The Barf line of products was created when an ad agency discovered that while girls had plenty of choices, the product line specifically for boys was quite limited.

Even auto makers have followed the tweens on line. “Tweens have $50 billion of influence on their parents purchase of new and used vehicles cars and pickups”, says marketing expert McNeal. Scion sponsors, a popular tween website. We want to reach the youngest crowd possible and gain their interest”, says vice president Jack Hollis.

I must admit, when my kids, 10 and 12, pipe up, they get an equal vote in our house.

At least it appears I’m not alone.

Back to Barf!

BARF Wear: cover your kid in barf BARF Bags: your kid can spew all kinds of stuff into these bags BARF Room: everything a kid would want for his room, like sheets, pillow cases, curtains, wallpaper... BARF Fun: all kinds of stuff that belongs outside BARF Bath: stuff for cleaning your kid, like yucky soap and dirty towels BARF U: back to school stuff like backpacks (barf bags), homework folders, lunch boxes