Parents play a key role in shaping their children's values and beliefs. Unfortunately, some parents unknowingly instill materialistic values in their children, which leads to the development of materialistic behaviors and attitudes. Materialism is an excessive desire for material goods, money and status. Who are materialistic children? Children raised in materialistic homes can develop the same attitude toward possessions. This text explores how parenting habits influence the development of materialistic behavior in young children.
When can we say that they are materialistic children? Children learn by observing and imitating. Parents who are materialistic in their behavior and habits, they may unconsciously pass these traits on to their children. For example, parents who frequently buy new toys, gadgets, and clothes and flaunt their wealth in front of their children are likely to instill materialistic values in them. Children may be more concerned with acquiring material goods and may not develop an understanding of the value of non-material things such as kindness, empathy and generosity.
Additionally, some parents may use material goods as a reward for good behavior, reinforcing the idea that obtaining material goods is the ultimate goal. This approach can have harmful effects on children as they may become more concerned with material rewards rather than understanding the importance of positive behaviour.
Parents can also influence the development of materialistic behavior in their children by creating an environment that emphasizes status and wealth. For example, parents who often compare themselves to others based on their material possessions may influence their children to develop similar attitudes toward possessions.
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Research has confirmed that children who are surrounded by material goods often become materialistic in adulthood. And this can have serious consequences, including much greater dissatisfaction in adulthood. Why children become materialistic and what parents do they are doing wrong in parenting – check below.
Why do children become materialistic?
Research published in Journal of Consumer Research, showed that children who become materialistic have adopted two main beliefs.
- Having quality things and many material goods is the definition of success.
- People are more attractive because they own things.
Of course, most parents of children of these beliefs does not inoculate intentionally. But children take on these beliefs based on their upbringing and what they see in their parents, because their parents are their role models.
What is wrong with education?
Research shows that caring and warm parents often contribute to the development of strong materialistic views of the world. But children who grew up in a home where they felt rejected, they can also be materialistic. A child who feels that a parent has disappointed him may seek solace in possessions. Or a child who spends too little time with his parents may also seek solace in toys and electronic devices. Research shows that three parenting practices contribute the most to the development of materialistic beliefs in children.
- Rewarding children: paying your child for good grades or buying a new smartphone for soccer practice can teach him that material goods are the ultimate goal.
- Gifting: giving children gifts as a sign of love can teach a child that being loved means receiving gifts.
- Taking things away: if parents punish a child by taking away things, they are communicating that he needs things to feel good.
How to reduce materialism?
But the good news is that parents can take a few simple steps to prevent it from happening their child became materialistic. But this does not mean that the child will not receive gifts or have his own things. There is a healthy way to give gifts to children, which means they don't get everything they want. It is a good idea to take away the child's privileges. If it is necessary to show that certain behavior has consequences, the use of the smartphone or bicycle can be taken away from the child.
How to make it easier for the child to feel that he always has rights and privileges
- Encouraging gratitude: Teaching your child to be grateful for what he has will prevent him from thinking that he can only be happy if he has more.
- Focusing on quality time: instead of constantly shopping for things, it is much better to enjoy simple activities with your child. Better choices are going for walks together, playing in the park or enjoying board games. It's also much better to spend money on an experience than on gifts.
- Showing generosity: a child will learn much more from what parents do than from what they say. It is important to show kindness and generosity to the child and value people more than things. Donate things together, volunteer, and talk about kindness often.
It is very important to teach the child to distinguish between a need and a desire. There will probably be a situation where a child will insist that they need a new phone or sneakers, but it is up to the parent to judge when this is really the case. In addition, it is good to praise and warn the child when he is generous. Also, parents should never forget that it is important to appreciate people and things.