It’s a little easier to live a low-key lifestyle when you are single, or if it’s just you and a like-minded partner. When you have kids, things can get a little crazier.
With kids, you tend to get busy, and it’s tempting to buy them all sorts of stuff for their entertainment. But before you get too carried away, it’s a good idea to consider what your actions teach your children about life.
How Materialistic are Your Kids?
I’m trying to teach my son to be a little less materialistic, but I have to admit that it’s hard sometimes. My husband is very much a “things” person, and likes to buy various items. Mostly, they’re action figures or other small items, but there are a lot of them. And, even though we put limits on gifts for each other, and for what we’re going to buy our son, when my husband sees something he thinks is “fun” — especially if he thinks it will be fun for our son — he buys it.
So what my son has more toys than he needs, although we periodically go through them and donate them, he still seems to feel that he should have a lot of stuff. In order to combat this materialistic impulse, I try to take my son with me to donate to the food bank, and let him see all the great experiences that he can enjoy, if that’s what he chooses to spend his money on instead of things.
I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle sometimes. So, even though I might lose the battle with things, I hope that I can at least impress upon him that helping others and that people themselves are more important than things. While he might want to have a collection of something, I hope that he also learns to put people first. It’s a hard lesson, since kids are quite often inherently selfish, and I am often disappointed when my attempts to teach my son fall short.
But sometimes, I’m surprised. When he announced that he want to use some of his own money to buy gifts for the less fortunate in the area, I felt much better about the situation. Maybe some of my own actions are starting to have an impact, and maybe he won’t turn out to be quite the materialist that I fear.
What Do You Teach Them about Happiness?
Another consideration is what you are teaching your children about happiness. Are you content with what you have? Or do your children always hear you complaining that you want more, or you want something different? When children know that you are always dissatisfied and unhappy, they are more likely to think that life is about trying to get more stuff.
While it’s important to teach them that they can strive to be better, and to improve, there is also something to be said about being happy where you are. Also, consider the way you speak. Do you believe that you can succeed in life? Or do you use the language of a victim, insisting that nothing can be done?
Think about what you are teaching your children by your words and your actions. I hope that my son is learning that he can make his own lifestyle, and that he can always show improvement. What do you want to teach your kids?