Affluenza, n. Extreme materialism that is the impetus for accumulating wealth and for overconsumption of goods.
There is an undeniable Affluenza epidemic sweeping this country. Overconsumption is effecting every aspect of our lives: our health, our happiness, and more. As parents, we can put a stop to it. Here are 7 ideas to combat this issue:
1. When they whine, try not to give in. We know it’s hard, and you just want them to stop, but if you give in, what are you teaching them? That if they whine, they’ll get what they want, every time.
2. Please don’t buy them the “it” toy the second it hits the shelves. Think about what you are setting them up for. They’ll believe they must have every new product as it becomes available. Make them work for it, make them earn it. Then they’ll have a deeper appreciation for it when they do finally get it. We always appreciate the things we work the hardest for the most.
3. Never, ever, EVER be that parent that is the first to give their child a smartphone/iPod touch. There is always that parent who buys their kiddo the device they are clearly not old enough for and definitely don’t need. Don’t be that parent. It’s highly unlikely your child truly needs it.
4. Have clear rules and stick to them. You make the rules for a reason. Don’t make exceptions. Your kids need to know that you mean it and bending your own rules lets them know there are ways to work around them.
5. Take them to volunteer. Find volunteer/community work that is age appropriate for your kids. This enables you to give real-life lessons in context.
6. Don’t over schedule. It’s important for kids to have activities and try new things, however there is a point when it becomes too much. Kids need time to just play and be kids. This is when they have an opportunity to explore, laugh and be creative on their own terms.
7. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS. Make time to be with your kids instead of always hiring a sitter. Everyone is busy, but spending time — quality time — with your kids is vital to their upbringing and development. You are raising them to be who they are to become.
We hope our own children will eventually come to understand that the best things in life aren’t things. And sometimes, we need that reminder as well.