Are we raising materialistic kids?

Most parents recoil at the thought of their child becoming “materialistic”.  So how do we find that balance between modesty and materialism?  It’s not a new dilemma but it does seem to be an increasingly uphill battle in this day and age.

Part 2 of our “Raising money smart kids” series focuses on what makes kids materialistic and helping them find the right balance between knowing the joy of spending and being solely money or product oriented.

Surely it’s not our fault?

Growing up in a digital world, the “latest” of anything and everything is splashed all over social media, TV, websites…wherever kids turn, their young minds are reminded of all that is available on the market.  The impact of such constant advertising can result in mindless spending, as well as decreasing their ability to resist the urge to spend.

Unfortunately another influence on children becoming materialistic may sit with us parents, including:

  • Giving children everything so they don’t feel left out amongst their peers.

  • Ensuring that children have everything equal to their peers so that other parents won’t judge our parenting style.

  • Role modelling!  We’re all guilty of splashing out, the key is to not make it the norm.

No-one’s perfect, but being mindful of our own actions can help reduce materialistic tendencies.

Creating a healthy mindset

Research suggests that materialistic kids grow up with more mental health issues and an overall dissatisfaction in life. It’s important to start young in the fight against materialism.

Here are 3 ways to help:

  • Encourage gratitude – adopting a grateful mindset doesn’t always come naturally. It’s important to role model it to children.  Some parents start dinnertime conversations asking everyone to say something they were grateful for that day. Others just make it a part of everyday life through recognising out loud the things we often take for granted.
  • Focus on time spent together – instead of tangible gifts for birthdays or other occasions, buy tickets to a show or share an experience together.  Not only does it take the focus off the latest products but it allows you to spend time together, strengthen relationships and create memories.
  • Be generous – whether it be through time (volunteering) or money (donations), being generous can go a long way to help steer young minds in the right direction of having a healthy relationship with money.  Plus it makes you feel good when you do something for others so it aids with mental health too.

Sometimes we might feel “up against it” but small actions can certainly make a difference if you find your child is caring more about what they want than what they have in life.