It’s first day of summer holiday. Five year-old Stephanie is shopping with you at Wal-Mart and picks out three stuffed animals that she saw in movie Madagascar. “Oh Mom please! I want to bring Alex and Gloria and Melman to Kinder Gym with me!” she says and stomps off in disgust when you tell her she has to choose only one.
Your eight-year old, Alex, comes home from Summer Day Camp. “I need an iPod!” he declares, “Thomas has one and it’s sweet!” Your first thought is, “What’s an iPod?” Once Alex fills you in on latest must-have gadget, you’re floored by ticket price and wonder why he needs one when he already has a walkman.
To top it off, your ten-year old, Tabitha, woke up this morning with a singular mission; to have pierced ears with diamond studs like her new best-friend Sarah by end of day, when last week she thought body piercings of any kind were gross. She has spent entire day begging you to bring her to Salon to get them pierced, ate her dinner in silence and retreated to her room to call Sarah and complain about how unfair her parents are.
You finish day exhausted by challenges of managing “gimme” requests from your children. Sitting down with your partner after kids have been put to bed, you share your concerns about day’s events. You’re both left wondering how your children became so materialistic, and worried that they are becoming followers rather than children who are secure in themselves and their values. A change is needed! But where to begin?
During grade-school years, children grow more interested in material world than they were back in kindergarten. Motivated by a combination of an increasing awareness of what other kids have and desire to fit in by having same things themselves, their acquisitiveness begins to become more apparent.
A child’s age-appropriate progression from self-awareness to awareness of others is compounded by society in which we live. We live in an age of affluence, at times one obsessed with status and possession. Evidenced by TV and other forms of media. One message is coming through loud and clear: You are what you buy and what you own. There’s no doubt that it has become increasingly difficult to raise children in this world of materialism, distraction and temptation.