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Parents Spend Too Much on Rock Concerts For Their Kids

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Fans attend the One Direction concert at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
Photograph by Getty Images

I remember my first big concert vividly. I was in high school, and I was finally going to get to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy live.

This was at the height of the 1990s swing craze. My big sister was coming with me, and we couldn't wait to dance until our feet fell off. I can't remember the exact price of the tickets, but since I had to pay for it myself, I can guarantee you the tickets were under $30 each.

My how the times have changed.

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I mean, I was totally in love with Donnie Walburg from New Kids On the Block by the time I was 9. So, I get today's young girls' obsessions with pop stars like the boys in One Direction and Taylor Swift. I understand why parents would want to treat their children to the magical experience that a concert can be for kids.

However, this is not the '90s anymore. Ticket prices are at an all-time high.

Forbes recently reported that an average Taylor Swift ticket on TiqIQ was $380. Her cheapest performance was a North Dakota show, where the average price was $182.95. So basically, it's going are looking at more than $100, minimum, for just your child to see her favorite blonde songbird. Don't forget you need a ticket, too.

I'm a closet Taylor Swift fan. My boys and I have rocked out to her tunes on road trips. Would I ever pay more than $300 to take my boys to a concert to see her? No. Never.

A mother of a 9-year-old wondered if her daughter was too young to attend a concert. Other parents rushed to reassure her that her daughter should go.

I look at friends with little girls—I'm talking ages 6 to 12—who have seen Taylor Swift two, three, even five times. The money they have shelled out for their family of three to five kids to attend these concert could have gotten my family to Europe.

Let's put aside the hundreds of dollars you are paying to bring your kids to a Taylor Swift concert, an event that some compare to a trip to Disneyland based on the number of multimedia effects and fandom. Is bringing your 6-, 9- or even 12-year-old to a concert worth it? Will they look back on that moment when they are 25, or even 18, and remember this supposedly transformative moment in their lives? Somehow I doubt it.

I hopped on a DC Urban Moms chat board to see what the general public thought. A mother of a 9-year-old wondered if her daughter was too young to attend a concert. Other parents rushed to reassure her that her daughter should go. One responder even thought 7 was old enough, as long as she had parents with her. More parents speculated there would be plenty of 3- and 4-year-old kids in attendance (which to me looks like a post-bedtime disaster).

I don't know what the appropriate age is for kids to attend concerts. Plenty of people have speculated that concert crowds are getting younger. But it's the parents who are able to afford the ticket prices. All of which makes me wonder who really wants to go to the show?

My parents would have never dreamed of taking me to see NKOTB, and that's not only because earplugs could not have blocked out the noise coming from the stage.

Looking back on that first Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert, they one I paid for with my own money, I have a deep appreciation that it was music I loved then and still do now. The same goes for the first and only U2 concert I was able to afford in college. My parents would have never dreamed of taking me to see NKOTB, and that's not only because earplugs could not have blocked out the noise coming from the stage. They just didn't see that as the best way to splurge on us.

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Whether you bring your kids to see their favorite pop star is your call, of course. But when I hear other parents question why I spend money to travel with my kids, arguing they won't "appreciate it" at their age, I have to look at those same people and wonder if it is worth spending sometimes a couple thousand dollars, not to mention the stress of trying to score tickets, on a one-night show for an artist their child could hate in three years.

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