This article below sums up what I view as training in materialism. We say that we are not materialistic, yet we train our children to be this way by providing what they “desire” consistently. Rather than bringing our children up in consumerism, let’s begin to build in them a “giving” heart. In Relevation, it’s speaks of living in the “Babylon” of the world. It thrives on living in luxury, materialism. In fact, even the slave trade that now exists will be a major form of consumerism, the awful result that materialism if left unchecked can create. (Rev 18:3) Yet God says “Come out of her my people.” (Rev 18:4, 13) Should we not be training up our children to resist this materialistic society? We do our children a favor by not creating them into this mold.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
A Little Spoiled Can be a Big Problem
Written by Marybeth
A couple of weeks ago, this headline caught my eye: Apple iPhone games for children rack up shocking bills. Turns out the free games for children available on iTunes contain in-app purchase opportunities – enhancements that make the games “more fun.”
Which means young players of Tap Zoo could spend $99 on a bucket of coins to buy animals and build a safari. (You read that right – ninety-nine dollars, not ninety-nine cents.)
Most folks reacted to this story with the sort of outrage you’d expect – “How dare Apple create a sneaky mechanism to exploit children and get their hands on more money from mom and dad?”
I reacted a little differently: Why are little kids connected to the iTunes store in the first place? Oh! It’s because they have their own accounts, in order to enjoy the many features of their own iPod Touch devices. And iPhones. And personal laptop computers.
Parents are complaining about their children’s access to online spending, but let’s face it – these are the same parents who put the devices and access into their kid’s hands in the first place.
The repercussions of spoiling our kids
Consumerism is so ingrained in our young people that their materialism no longer seems odd or unusual. For example, it’s simply a given that more than 80 percent of teens and 60 percent of tweens own cell phones. But did you know 22 percent of children ages 6 to 8 also have them?
In only two generations, children have become one of the largest and most lucrative markets for exploitation. Not only do they have discretionary dollars to spend – to the tune of some $4.2 billion annually – but they also wield enormous influence over the spending habits of their parents and grandparents. And since they’re the future spenders of tomorrow, marketers work hard to condition their spending habits today.
But marketers are getting a whole lot of help from parents, and the impact on our children is evident.
Spoiling our children – that is, buying them nearly everything they want, more than they need, at their request or without being asked – is contributing to the attitude of entitlement that our kids often exhibit in other areas of their lives.
Parents cite all sorts of reasons for spoiling kids – they want them to “fit in” with their friends, they want to make up for being too busy with work or other obligations, they think making their kids happy is most important, and sometimes, they just don’t think it matters.
But spoiled kids miss out on the chance to develop attitudes, behaviors, and competencies around working, saving, making plans and setting and achieving their goals. If we give kids everything they want, they’ll keep wanting more and more because the “wanting” is part of the process of looking forward. It’s the trigger for making goals that must be accomplished through personal effort.
Unspoiling is more than saying “no”
I once was asked in an interview just how parents could say “no” to their children, especially if kids were unaccustomed to being denied what they want. I was actually confused for a second and said, “Wait… you want to know how to say ‘no’? Well, at our house, we do it like this: No.”
We need to remember that saying “no” to our children often is in their very best interests. If we’re committed to doing what is best for them – what’s right and will reap the most reward in the future – we MUST say “no.” Often. And mean it.
But there’s more stopping the cycle of spoiling our kids than just saying “no.” We need to regroup on the issues of money and materialism. Perhaps a family meeting is in order, when you sit down and say, “We want to change the way we make decisions about buying and owning stuff. We want you to enjoy the challenge of getting things for yourself. You deserve the satisfaction that comes with setting a goal for yourself and saving to achieve your desires.”
This skill isn’t just important in consumer habits, but in all facets of their lives. So it’s a big one that we must teach if we want our kids to be genuinely happy.
The term “spoiled brat” used to be among the worst insults that could be hurled at a child. These days, it’s a phrase emblazoned on t-shirts and worn with an odd sense of pride.
If you’re feeling like the National Bank of Mom and Dad, and not a parent whose hard work and provision are appreciated by your children, perhaps it’s time to step away from the credit card and remind the kids that all the stuff in the world can’t replace the happiness that comes from not needing any of it.
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1Jo 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.