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Keeping Materialism to a Minimum

 

While it may seem like your kids do everything but listen, they are actually soaking up every piece of information like a sponge. Every conversation, interaction or confrontation with your child will play a part in how they develop as an adult. Which is exactly why it is so important to keep materialism to a minimum in your household. 

Even though you may think you are not a materialistic person, in the age where advertisements are everywhere and a new phone comes out every other month, it takes a conscious effort to not be materialistic. Teaching kids about how money works and what it takes to get it is important, however it is best to limit the amount of conversations you have with your child about money. If children hear you always complaining about not having enough money or complaining about bills, then they likely will start taking some of that burden on themselves. This might look like them not asking for new clothes when they need it, money for field trips or new school supplies because they worry you don’t have enough money. This is not something a young child should be worrying about.

Penn State News points out that a heightened sense of materialism can be found in children as young as nine years old.

In order to prevent your kids from becoming materialistic make sure you are fulfilling all their other needs before trying to fix things with material items. If your child is acting more needy than usual, don’t just go out and buy them a new toy or video game to distract them. Instead you should investigate why they are feeling like they are missing out on love or attention and try to fulfill that need first. Most children who grow up to be extremely materialistic, usually have a cold or distant mother who doesn’t fulfill their emotional needs. The more a child feels love and care from their parents, the more likely they are to grow up and value things like family and quality time rather than money or material possessions. 

One of the harder methods to keep your kids from becoming materialistic is limiting their exposure to advertisements. Advertisements have become so prominent that they are practically unavoidable. There are ads on television, the radio, social media, video games, cartoons, online videos, billboards, on the side of busses and every day they are working on ways to make more. People who work for these marketing companies know that children are an easy target because they are so impressionable. I remember as a child watching television and in between the cartoons they would show these crazy cool commercials for stuff like multi colored markers or a magazine subscription. I knew that these things were probably unnecessary but these commercials that I watched over and over again made me feel like it was something I had to have. While limiting exposure may be more difficult, having the discussion about wants and needs with your child could help them understand why they may not get everything they see in advertisements or on social media. 

Another tip to keep your kids from becoming materialistic is to teach them how to have fun without materialistic things. This doesn’t mean you can never take your kids on vacation or on shopping sprees, however your kids should be grateful for the experiences they get rather than always expecting more. For example, they should be able to go outside and have fun in the sprinklers, instead of complaining that they aren’t at a water park. 

Knowing the value of items and enjoying nice things does not make someone materialistic. Yet, when a person starts to believe that their materialistic items are more important than the people around them, then greed is eminent. 

 

By: Jessica Lee

 

https://news.psu.edu/story/141273/2006/04/03/research/probing-question-does-materialism-harm-kid

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