Are Minneapolis' kids more spoiled than St. Paul's?

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2012 - 3:28 PM

A new study has found that Minneapolis children are much more "spoiled" than St. Paul's, but it might not be so clear-cut.

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Surveys: Minneapolis spoils kids, St. Paul doesn't spend on them.

If a new survey is to be believed, Twin Cities kids are bratty on one side of the river and ratty on the other.

Bundle.com ranked Minneapolis fourth in the nation (behind Manhattan, Brooklyn and Miami) in "spoiling" children, while St. Paul ranked second-to-last ("leading" only Madison, Wis.) in spending on kids. The study tracked three years of revenue at the two cities' stores that sell toys, clothing and other services for tots, kids and teens.

To the core cities' myriad continuing feuds, we now add this?

"Not necessarily," said developmental psychologist Marti Erickson. "There's a lot of variability on both sides of the river and a lot in the suburbs. Some of that has to do with wealth, and some has to do with cultural attitudes and how people view success.

"It's possible that there is more materialism and more disposable income [in Minneapolis]. There's a slicker, hipper kind of vibe, while St. Paul has a more traditional look. I don't know if that would reflect on the underlying values."

Still, the differences might not be in the people but the places (or lack of them), said Julia Cobbs, cohost of "Lori & Julia" on MyTalk (107.1 FM). "There are very, very few places to shop in downtown St. Paul," Cobbs said of her hometown. "We just have Grand Avenue, really, and we don't even have a Gap on Grand Avenue."

Cobbs also wondered if a lot of the kids-oriented Minneapolis shopping involved commuters and other nonresidents, a view shared by Erickson, a Minneapolis mom and co-host of the online parenting show "Mom Enough." "It might be people from Brainerd," said Erickson, "or even St. Paul people driving over here because there are more stores. My [adult] kids live in Edina and shop frequently at the Creative Kidstuff store in Linden Hills."

The one aspect Erickson is sure of is that the word "spoiled" might have little to do with spending. "You can have kids whose parents buy a lot of stuff but expect them to show responsible behavior," she said. "There also are children who have very few material things but are allowed to do anything."

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