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How to turn off the importance of acquiring so much stuff?!

 Not sure where I went wrong here or if it's just that age.  But even now that the holidays are over, & my kids made out well- as usual, my youngest (10 y/o) is already focusing on her B-Day which is 2 mths away.  She's thinking about even more stuff she wants! I don't want to raise a materialistic person.  Lord knows her dad & I aren't that way.  Hell, I still have & use the same desk & dresser from my childhood!  Any suggestions?  (I do remind her often about how fortunate & blessed we really are)


Asked by Anonymous at 8:47 AM on Jan. 5, 2013 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Generally speaking, I have found that accepting my children's "appetite" (rather than resisting it as excessive or wrong, or something they "shouldn't" be feeling or expressing) and also accepting any feelings of disappointment or dissatisfaction they express, has kept the door open for their contentment & joy with what Is, and with what they have. It also has encouraged gratitude & appreciation, and real joy in giving, too.

    Kids are pretty attuned to abundance, to wanting "it all"! They also are marvelously attuned to making their own fun & making something out of "nothing," and really only needing a minimum, which we witness every time they make the most of simple props like sticks or string or boxes, or are fully engaged with their imagination.

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:35 PM on Jan. 5, 2013

  • I would take her to volunteer at a local homeless shelter to teach her the value of human connections and not the importance of stuff. I would also have her help you sort through her toys that she doesn't play with and have her donate them to kids that have less. Make sure you explain why she is donating her toys.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:54 AM on Jan. 5, 2013

  • Volunteer and have them choose charities on their own that help those really in need.  Have them read about the struggles of other  people from different parts of the world. 


    Answer by Anonymous at 9:07 AM on Jan. 5, 2013

  • We have no buy week every month. That entire week we buy zero stuff with exception of food, medication, and doctor appointments. We will soon up it to two weeks out of the month. Then the goal is three weeks. With the idea that if we really want and need something then we will still want it on that week where we designate as our buying week. Pretty simple concept in therory. We have a new rule that with each thing w buy something else must go. My son is getting a new bike soon and the obvious is his will be fixed up and donated.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:06 AM on Jan. 5, 2013

  • If you think for the most part you are modeling/living the nonmaterialistic values & contentment you would like her to embrace & internalize, then I'd relax overall & turn my attention to my feelings in the situation. For instance, I imagine that your child's comments trigger feelings in you in large part because they're following so quickly on the heels of Christmas. Instead of being more measured, or not even thinking (yet) about her birthday & about "getting" (which would be reassuring or confirming), she is openly expressing enthusiasm & anticipation for her upcoming birthday. Feelings of dismay, disappointment or disapproval are triggered by fear & doubt. My goal would be to connect to the fact that I'm experiencing discomfort in response to her words, because I'm anxious about the future, how she'll turn out, if I'm doing OK. I'd want to connect to how I want her to be grateful & content, and so her appetite seems wrong.

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:19 PM on Jan. 5, 2013

  • Just connecting to my upset feelings & recognizing that I am their author (they're only triggered BY a behavior, not CAUSED by it--they are caused by my beliefs/assumptions & the fears these stimulate) can help me to be present with my child in a way that doesn't project my "stuff" onto her feelings & statements, so I'm more likely to respond constructively.

    Pushing against someone's feelings or desires (as being wrong or some kind of problem) is a pretty sure way to trigger counter-resistance or defensiveness in them. This is true even when they "agree" with you & judge themselves as selfish or inappropriate; there's an eventual backlash against coercion.
    This does not mean encouraging materialism or agreeing that more & more stuff is "needed." It just means accepting someone's feelings of wanting/desire as being okay in themselves.
    If I connect to how I'm reacting to what I'm hearing, I can realize it's actually OK to want!

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:21 PM on Jan. 5, 2013

  •  ^^^Thx! Great ideas ladies.  For the record, she has used her Christmas $ to get things she wanted.  She wants me to save certain things for future grandchildren- which isn't such a bad idea either! :) 


    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 11:22 AM on Jan. 5, 2013