The weeks leading up to the new school year are usually the time of shopping madness. Despite the fact that in home drawers there are dozens of pens, crayons, pads and notebooks – the student wants to start learning in the next class with accessories that “smell new”. The beginning of September is also a time when children often report the need to replenish their wardrobe (the most fashionable things are the most desirable), as well as the purchase of new electronic gadgets. The world of things is very vigorously asking for funding. And he is not interested in the domestic deficit. Spending on gadgets for children.
Sometimes the desire to buy expensive items is due to the emotional needs of the child. Unsure of their position in the group, teenagers want to use a new phone to attract peers’ attention, arouse their admiration, and sometimes gain acceptance. Younger children count on the role of the class leader in popularity. A parent can significantly influence what his offspring thinks about things and what symbolic value they give to them. Remember that a child is an excellent observer and follower. You have to judge for yourself how things are in the hierarchy of values.
How to support a child’s development of a mature attitude towards objects
- Teach your child to take care of the things that belong to him. Insist that they are stored properly.
- Emphasize the rules. All household members should be responsible for keeping the family in order. Encourage the observance of simple rules (e.g. we keep the documents in the folders described above).
- Talk about why you have such expectations. Emphasize that the items we use are the result of someone’s commitment, talent or ingenuity. Make your child aware of the environmental cost of producing them. Emphasize that things are bought with the money you get for your work. The older the child is, the more he should be aware of how much a given thing costs.
- Talk to your child (according to his age) about the possibilities of the household budget. If your child asks you to buy something, tell her honestly whether you can afford it at the moment. Don’t make empty promises. Don’t be afraid to say no when you can’t afford to meet your baby’s expectations. However, disagreement should not end the discussion, but rather open a conversation about your financial situation and planned expenses. If you can, specify the time when the purchase of the item will be possible.
- Let your child dream and expect surprises. Don’t buy everything he wants, quickly and uncritically. Think about what your child really asks for (perhaps your most precious gift will be your mindfulness and interest).
- Encourage saving pocket money for the purchase of your choice. In this way, you develop an attitude of shared responsibility.
- Strengthen your child’s ability to realistically assess whether the purchase of an item is necessary. Talk to him about the impact of the ads. Be sensitive to the fact that you shouldn’t buy impulsively or rashly.
- Avoid situations where the excess takes away the pleasure of the child from enjoying a unique gift. Replace gift-item with gift-event. Invite your children to prepare family celebrations together – let them feel like their co-creator.
- When your child receives gifts, let them enjoy them. In discussions together, emphasize that the most precious gift is not the object in itself, but the time the person has spent to obtain or prepare it, their mindfulness, and their desire to celebrate together.
- Avoid rewarding your child with material things. For a child, the most valuable thing is experiencing the pleasure that comes from solving a given problem, your smile or praise. Material rewards should only be used in special situations.
How to build the right attitude of a child
- Talk to your child about complex classroom and group relationships. If you notice that a child wants to possess an expensive gadget, so that he can feel more confident among his peers – do not ridicule it and do not underestimate the possible problem. Together with your child, look for other ways to feel important and appreciated in this particular team. Emphasize that a sense of humor, creativity, loyalty, artistic and sports successes, and social activity are attributes that are invariably appreciated by their peers and build more lasting recognition.
- Set tasks that your child can do and praise them for doing so fantastically. Avoid being judged solely for educational success, support the development of a wide variety of interests, and encourage volunteering. Show your child real acceptance.
- Do not be afraid to discuss in a conversation with a child the issue of building popularity in a group based on the possession of specific material goods. Show that popularity is not the same as experiencing friendship. Talk about the pillars of good relationships.
- Support your child in developing social skills. Demonstrate how to deal with difficult emotions: anger, anger, jealousy or hurt. A child may think differently about his failure – instead of: I was sucked to: What did this teach me? It is important that they feel they can talk to an adult or peer they trust (feelings that we don’t need to hide tend to lose strength). It’s also helpful to clear out difficult emotions through physical or artistic activity, or simply direct his thoughts to something he enjoys.
- Emphasize the importance of the so-called corrective actions. They are used to maintain a good relationship and compensate for harm when, for example, a child who has lost an item borrowed from a friend apologizes and undertakes to redress the damage. People who know how to rebuild a broken relationship create more lasting bonds.
- Help your child find a group they feel comfortable with. If he wants to – sign them up for extracurricular activities, which will allow him to experience the joy of being among people with similar interests.
Building a hierarchy of values at school
In a school environment, things take on the properties of dividing or consolidating. Expensive gadgets or fashionable clothes can become a tool for building a position in a group, influencing others and achieving social benefits in a given team. However, it is worth taking a deeper look at the problem of divisions that are inevitable in such a situation. The real trouble begins when the fact of having or not creating a permanent and deep rupture in the group. Sooner or later, students will undergo such a division if the class team lacks:
- Good communication,
- Activities that allow you to present yourself in a variety of roles,
- Space to experience the fact that a person’s value does not depend on their possession,
- Strengthening the message of value at home through constant parental influence.
Good communication, the diversity of experienced roles and the real (and not only declared) space for the exchange of beliefs are the foundations of a class climate in which the lines of dividing family wealth and origin will not be destructive cracks. Children who are good at communicating more efficiently move from an object-centered relationship to one based on the intimate sharing of their perceptions and feelings. On the other hand, presenting yourself in a variety of roles allows you to see similarities where they seemingly do not exist. When children can undertake various activities and boast about their achievements in different fields, they see important similarities (e.g. they notice that both the class leader and outsider are reading fantasy or are fans of a heavy metal band). The attitude taken from the home, according to which the child places his value and the value of another person primarily in character traits and skills, cannot be overestimated.
When parents and teachers break the lines of stereotypical divisions, children cope well with the fact that not everyone can own the latest electronic gadgets and designer clothes. However, when a conflict pulsates in the classroom or in the child’s family environment, difficult emotions often focus on the material status of its participants. It is worth considering what lies at the root of such misunderstandings and acting on the real causes.
It is worth looking at the problem of differences in the possession of certain material goods by children through the prism of the effect, not the cause. Where the family and school systems are truly conducive to the development of social and emotional skills, breaking down stereotypical prejudices, and building a hierarchy of values where things do not replace personality virtues, the chances of avoiding such divisions are greatest.