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.
January 10, 2014 @ 10:18 am
Excellent, thanks for posting
January 10, 2014 @ 10:18 am
I received a link to this ‘article’ in my inbox this morning, and was thoroughly intrigued. I grew up in a wealthier than average suburb, with friends who, even into their late 20’s still suffered from ‘affluenza’ So I, being all too aware of the downfalls of spoiling your kids, was really excited about this article. Unfortunately, it did not live up. These are all common sense statements, which if weren’t part of your parenting plan before regardless of ‘affluenza’, you should definitely reconsider becoming a parent in the first place…
January 10, 2014 @ 10:27 am
Hi Jennifer, thanks for the feedback. We’d LOVE to hear some of your suggestions on how to avoid what you witnessed firsthand. Please either comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
March 26, 2017 @ 7:42 am
This list is a good start, but the most important point of all is left out: role modeling! If parents are the first on the block to get the new car, the newest iPhone, etc., they are setting the expectations as to what a “good life” entails. It’s not to say people can’t have nice things if they work hard and give back. But truly, it’s what kids see every day, in and out, in their own homes. Go camping instead of going to Disney. Go hiking instead of to the mall. Go spend time with grandparents instead of …whatever. Simple things matter.