We live in a very consumer driven culture. We are bombarded by ads constantly. It is no different if not worse for our kids. Marketers have figured out that although parents make the money many times the power of where that money is spent is placed in hands of our children. Children have more say about more things than in any time in history. Kids decide where families are going to eat, shop and vacation. Companies have figured this out so they use their marketing magic to create dissatisfaction with normal in our kids. Are these companies evil and should they be stopped? Maybe but when I see a problem I always think what can I do to affect this situation. For me the problem lies with us as parents and within the sin nature of our children. companies pick up on that and perhaps go to far but the problem is first with us.
Materialism is a hard thing to define but essentially is when you value stuff, more than you treasure Christ. If you have to have something or are upset when someone else has something you don’t, generally you have a problem. The problem isn’t stuff the problem is the condition of your heart and the location of your affections.
How do we help our kids practically avoid this destructive force in their life?
1. Model to your kids what it means to truly treasure Christ above all things. Teach them to give to the church and to those in need by doing so yourself.
2. Get Netflix – What? Netflix really? Disney and Cartoon network are 40% content 60% advertisement. With Netflix you have control over both. You control the content and your kids don’t ever watch commercials. PBS is a great option for free as well.
3. Constantly reinforce relationships over stuff. Every chance I get I reenforce the order of relationships to them. God first than family than others.
4. Help kids understand the difference between a need and a want.
5. Give them a bigger story to be a part of. When kids don’t see a bigger purpose for life they life a very self focused, materialistic life.
6. Get them serving others and in the church at a young age.
7. Do not I repeat Do not give them everything they want. It teaches girls to be manipulative and boys to be lazy.
8. Give kids your time don’t buy them things to temper your guilt for not spending time with your kids.
9. Teach your kids to use things and love people not use people and love things.