Last week I talked about the dash in a tombstone that represents your life. Once a child is given life by God and the chance to experience life after birth by their parents the challenges begin.
Here are a few things that parents should remember.
A parent should:
- Know the difference between needs and wants.
- Understand materialism so they do not over-feed a child’s desire for things.
- Say what they will do and do what they say so they are not easily manipulated.
- Keep hope alive without ever giving up on their child.
- Constructively correct and guide their child without criticizing them.
DON’T OVERFEED THE DESIRE FOR THINGS
Needs are things required to continue living in our society i.e. food, clothing, transportation, housing, etc… Wants are things that you desire, but are not absolutely necessary for survival. Materialism is defined as the “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.” (dictionary.com). It is most important to remember that relationships are more valuable than things. Your relationship with your child should not be based on the things you give them, but how you love them.
Advertisements are geared to make us think we have to have things that we can really live without. Children are very susceptible to enticements from shrewd marketers. We must guard our children and grandchildren from falling for every advertisement they see. Guarding our own minds is also important because we want the latest and the best for our children. Discernment must be used to determine if our emotions for our children or grandchildren are causing us to over-feed their desire for things.
To help your child avoid materialism I have some suggestions.
Cultivate the wonder of presents. Make large or expensive gifts for special occasions only (i.e. birthdays, Christmas, etc…) This way the presents will not lose their value in the eyes of the child. Save your money for the big items. Let the child earn the little items.
Cultivate proper behavior. Make sure your child knows that a tantrum or whining will ensure they do not get what they asked for, but rather get disciplined in a manner appropriate to the child’s age and actions. It may take some time for your child to understand that you mean what you say if your child has been getting things from tantrums or whining before, but eventually they will understand the message. I’ll talk more about this under manipulation.
Cultivate the value of items. If the child earns an allowance for their spending money they will learn the value of items. All children can earn a small allowance by doing easy jobs that will help Mom or Dad. Try to avoid paying an allowance for jobs your child should do without pay like cleaning their room or putting their toys away. Teaching a child early in life to earn things they want will put them on their way to financial independence as an adult. While they are earning small amounts is the best time to train your child how to tithe and save.
Cultivate generosity in your child. When your child’s room gets too full of toys or they outgrow clothes help them give some away to children who are in need. Most cities have a Salvation Army site or other charitable organizations where you can donate nice used toys and clothes. This will train them to be generous, which is opposite of greed and will break materialism.
Check your materialism level. Children quickly learn by watching the actions of those around them. If they perceive you value things more than people they will emulate it.
Next week I will continue with the next subject of not allowing manipulation. Enjoy your week.