To Buy or Not To Buy

Sara, like other mothers, always wants to provide her children with the best. She also wants to fulfill every desire of her children and buy them what they want. Most of the times, she does get whatever her kids wish for, but sometimes she doesn’t due to many reasons.

What perplexes her is that she has never seen her children content with anything, no matter how pretty or how expensive it is. They do not take care of their possessions and destroy them in a very small while. They don’t appreciate the stuff they have and are always whining about what they didn’t get. Despite getting most of their desires fulfilled, the kids still tell Sara that she has never bought her anything and that they know she won’t buy what they wish for. Sara and her husband are so disturbed due the ungratefulness of their children. It seems as if their desires can never be fulfilled.

This is something almost all parents have gone through at one time or another. Parents feel helpless when they see that their children do not appreciate the efforts and the love their parents are giving them, instead the kids behave rather insolently.

How can you combat it as a parent? How do you teach your child to care for personal possessions? More than that, what compels the children to behave in such a manner?

The first thing a parent needs to focus is their own attitude towards their purchases. What happens when we are out shopping? Those beautifully adorned windows and aisles grab our attention. We are attracted to them and wish to buy them all. We believe that we are wise and rightful to make the decision to buy something. We also express gloom when we are not able to get something we liked.  At the same time, we expect that children will not be attracted to worldly goods or express the desire to own them, which is quite contrary to the child’s nature.

A child is also a human being with emotions, likes and dislikes. While we find leeway for our materialistic behavior in a shop, we are not ready to accept that our children have their own level of wisdom that compels them to make a decision about the products they want to own. A parent first and foremost needs to learn that children have a will and a decision making process of their, just not yet developed to take all constraints into consideration before taking a decision.

What can a parent do to teach gratefulness and patience to a child? Begin by explaining your purchase decisions. If you liked something and decided not to buy it, discuss the reasons with your children that you left something you loved; maybe because of budget constraints, or for already many similar things, or that you plan to buy it later on. This teaches a child that purchases can be deferred or left altogether, despite liking the stuff very much. This teaches the children about not demanding everything they desire.

Secondly, we as parents need to adopt a thankful attitude. Express gratitude for what you have, and even when you do not buy material stuff. Teach children to give charity by doing the same and explaining to the child why it is a good idea to delay your own shopping and helping someone else.

Parents can also teach financial decisions to their children. You can assign them some pocket for a time duration, out of which they can fulfill their desires, but if they break their stuff, they will get their pocket only after this duration has ended. This can also teach children to be more mindful of their possessions.

It is also important to see what kind of environment the child is in. If the behavior of people around the child is bad, the destruction of possession can be a reflection of the emotional turmoil the child is. Such a child will need emotional support and counselling to get rid of his frustrations and anger.

At the end, children are not born with constructive or destructive attitudes and behaviors, it is the elders that channel any negative emotions into positive ones by making right decision consciously.

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