Battling materialism (newbie here)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Battling materialism (newbie here)
18
Thu, 08-31-2006 - 3:17pm

Hi!

I am new to this board. I feel like a bit of a fraud because we aren't "green" really although we do many things to minimize our consumption of natural resources and polluting of same. Jumping in with two feet with a question/concern that is really bugging me.

So, here it is ...

I was helping my older dd clean up her room--as I was putting *stuff* away I was appalled, once again, at how much junky stuff/toys/stuffed animals we collect and how quickly it becomes of no interest, when it was once of critical :-) interest, only weeks/days before.

How do you all handle this phenomenon?

How do you respond or cure the kids of "Janey has blah blah blah and Sally has blah blah blah" -- all said in a tone that implies *not* having these things makes your child deprived.

How do you whittle down the Christmas and birthday presents without feeling (or having them feel) like they are getting "less than" their friends (the first question is usually "What did *you* get for Christmas?")?

We just started my older dd (6 yo) on an allowance -- 1 dollar for college account; $1 for charitable giving; $1 for saving/spending (no impulse spending allowed; she must save, identify something she wants and only then pull money out to buy -- in theory). Oh, my gosh, she desperately wanted to get to Target to buy *something* (anything) ... I did let her finally select a "little pet shop" toy -- within her price range -- but, gosh, these things get lost, tossed aside in 24 hours; just the junk I don't like!

What are you all doing to promote simple living (yes, setting an example is part of it), dissuade your child from focusing on things and comparing their possessions to those of their friends; to teach them that their personal worth/value is not measured by their things?

I feel like I am my own personal landfill here -- we just keep dumping stuff in!!! I do weed out, but I would like to stop the dumping of trash in the first instance!

Would love to hear your ideas or recommendations of website/discussion groups that might be useful for support in this goal!

Thanks!

Meg

PS None of this comes from tv; we don't watch (just an occasional parent-selected video)

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-31-2006 - 3:49pm

Hi Meg Welcome!!

I feel that this site right here is a good place for support for your goal.

We are all at different levels of simplicity (as well as different levels of greenness).

Now, how to battle materialism is a an on going disccusion here.

My almost 6 year old girl sounds a lot like your dd. While my almost 10 boy seems to have outgrown it some. So I'm hopeful taht dd might grow out of it too.

We do an allowance of $1 a week (if your room was clean on dollare day) and we had the rule you did about telling us what they were saving for and then only buying it when they have enough and it is on the list for that days shopping. DD has a hard time with this and we have had to let her spend it whe she gets it. She will literally walk around the store looking for something she has enough money to buy (like you said normally junk) but she is now starting to get that she won't be able to get the bigger things if she doesn't save up to buy it. She noticed this when her big brother bought somthing and she ask him how he could afford that. He reminded her he hadn't bought anything for weeks (really months but..) and that he had saved it up for this. She just had to learn it for herself by making made spending choices. So summary DS (almost 10) most of the time makes good spending choices. And DD (almost 6)learned the hard way and is starting to make better spending choices (well at least some of the time) She is getting better

Christmas and birthday presents are an annual discussion here as well.
We have whittled down our presents here some, still more than some less than others. But it is getting at a comfortable level for us. The hard ones to bring aboard were the Grandparents but they finally started to come around through talking, showing, and disccusion. The kids haven't seemed to notice that they have less presents then before or that they get less than some of their friends.

Well that is all I have time for now I'm sure that others will give there ideas her shortly.

Again Welcome I'm glad you just jumped right in with questions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Thu, 08-31-2006 - 6:43pm

Thanks so much for your reply. Comforting to know another 6 yo has an insatiable urge to spend :-)). Comforting, too, that you selected the same dollar amount for allowance. I have been surprised by the high amount some folks are giving their kids.

Thanks again!

Meg

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 8:38am

Welcome Meg!


I feel your pain! LOL! Seriously, it's an issue that's there, the kids need to learn to make decisions about what is important, and what is just not necessary, as do we.

Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2003
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 10:09am

We, also, have so many toys that have accumlated.

Sheri Ann

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 12:24pm

By kids like to hold on to things to and I haven't been able to box up and ship out for quite a while now because they notice and miss them. And like your son they can seem to box up there old thing either so, We now have a box of "on the way outs". They can clean out and put things in the way out box. Then it is dated for shipment (generally around 6 month) and if they noticed something missing or even just want to look through the box and get somthing they can but anything still left in the box at "date" is going to charity.

Subject change Sheri Ann, How did his first week of Kindergarten go? For you are well as him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2003
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 3:03pm
Thank-you so much for remember about kindergarten!

Sheri Ann

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 3:35pm

Excellent ideas!!!

Thanks alot!

Wish I could write more but have an impatient kindergartener clamoring for attention.

I will ponder your ideas!

Meg

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-01-2004
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 4:31pm

Meg, it's probably coming from her tv-watching friends. We live in a society that tells us we need to consume. There's probably not a lot you can do about it. What would be a positive influence though, is maybe instead of making her use part of her allowance for charitable giving (the results of which she won't see, and probably doesn't understand yet), put that dollar in her college fund with the other dollar, and when she gets a little older, take her with you to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or even someplace where there are children who don't have what she has. Something like that will teach her to appreciate what she does have. Or, save those charitable giving dollars for a Toys for Tots toy during the holiday season, and use that to teach her that there are kids who won't get presents.

Kids will always want the things their friends have, but teaching her to give something will probably lessen her need to get stuff.

Are you donating her old toys to Goodwill?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 5:40pm
How is she enjoying kindergarten? My dd is currently loving kindergarten.
Avatar for lucy4980
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 09-01-2006 - 7:41pm

I thought I would chime in here because although I don't have kids, I was one of those kids who didn't get all the material stuff my friends got - and I am here to tell you that I turned out just fine and do not feel like I was deprived :)

My mom's favorite response to "Janey has blah blah blah" was "Well good. Maybe if you ask nicely she will let you use it when you go over to her house." LOL. I rolled my eyes and felt deprived, but that didn't last. Like you said, so often things that were critical one week are of no interest the next.

With regard to birthdays and Christmas - I had plenty of friends who got way more than me, but as time went on, I learned to be ok with it. My mom and I had plenty of conversations about materialism and priorities - both from a financial perspective and from an environmental perspective. I knew were she was coming from and it made sense. I still wanted more stuff, but her priorities made sense. We also talked about the issue of people living above or below their means - that just because so and so has cool new stuff, that doesn't mean that she or her parents can afford it. They may very well have charged their purchases and be paying for them for years to come, whereas other people who live more frugally (such as ourselves) may be putting money away for the future so when hardships happen, we are ok. I was able to keep all this in mind when my friends got tons of loot for Christmas and I didn't, so I was ok with it.

On the allowance issue - my mom encouraged me to save by matching whatever I put in the bank. She didn't put any restrictions on my allowance though - she says her goal was to let me learn to manage my own money. If I wanted to buy something on impulse, then that was fine. I learned the hard way that if I frittered away my money on little stuff that I wouldn't have money for larger things that I really wanted. I learned pretty quickly to prioritize my spending and not just buy crap - LOL.

So anyway - that's how it was handled in my family and I think my mom did a pretty good job.

Pages