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I Need It!: How Parents Foster Consumerism In Their Children

Updated: Mar 4

Could you name all the things you buy for your child? Not just the essentials - food, shelter, clothing, school supplies. What about… JoJo Siwa tickets, Stan Smith Adidas, Spongebob bed sheets, every game in the App Store? It’s wonderful when we can provide fabulous things for our children; things that support their interests, facilitate their self-discovery, stimulate their development.

So if we know that the habits and values we constantly (and often unknowingly) display in our family are messages to our children, what is the message there? When you get a them a third winter coat or another unicorn thing for their unicorn-themed bedroom because oh my goddddd it’s a little night light and it’s so cute and she’ll love it… ?

Children are learning about life and the world with the things you do and say around them. What do you want them to cherish? 

Your child’s community, peers, television, friends, phone - a lot of them will suggest what someone should prioritize. Those are suggestions we know well: buying, replacing, curating, perfecting. And they’re hard enough for adults to ignore, those need-like desires for more and more and more. But for a child with a much smaller world and caregivers who are watering a growing consumerist mentality? Well, let’s see.

Does your child know the difference between:

A spontaneous sale purchase and impulsive shopping

A new outfit for a certain event and an inadequate existing wardrobe

A consolation prize for a tough day and harmful coping mechanisms

Well, no! No, they don’t. The message they get is that stuff = better mood and better self.

That we need things in order to be ourselves, that we don’t have enough, that our child doesn’t have enough. Implicit communications like these can lead our children towards superficiality, inferiority complexes and pleasure-seeking behaviors.

Children need as much confidence, self-esteem and inner strength as possible to discover themselves in an ever-changing body in an overstimulating world. Try your best to support their good nature over keeping up the curation. It teaches them self-sufficiency and inner happiness and, let’s be real… it teaches you too!

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