Kids want everything! No matter how expensive the goods are, they will want you to get it for them. When you go with your kid to a shopping mall, they will request for one thing or the other. There is a simple way to get rid of most of these requests. Just say “No”! When your kid asks for the next thing, say “No”. Tell him that you are not buying anything you do not have on your list.
Something like this occurred to me some time ago when I visit a store with my kid. A shopkeeper asks me with a smile, “How do you do that?”
I looked at her, smiled back and said, “I just say ‘No”.
What I had in mind was that “we are in the public place and I don’t want to start a fight.”
Affluenza is a real thing, and it is defined as the dissatisfaction that follows consumerism as a path to happiness – The Macquarie Dictionary. It starts in childhood, and as parents, we may be tempted to give our kids everything they ask for because:
- It is easier to say yes than no;
- We fear the reaction of our kids to the word “No” and we also worry that people may judge us if our children have a public dummy spit;
- We have inherited that method from our parents;
- We do not want our children to be bullied or miss out because they don’t have the latest device;
- We define our achievement by our financial situation, and we believe that it is a status symbol for our children to have cool stuff.
Eventually, the buck stops with us as parents. We will be forced to buy, spend, and consume more than enough. We all want our kids to be happy. Our materialistic, capitalist culture seizes the idea that we will make our children happy when we buy them all these stuff.
In this hedonistic culture, it is not always easy to teach our kids to understand the value of things. It does make us feel like we are going against the grain. It is also critical in a time like this whereby technology is a necessity to complete our education. Pushback on our kids is hard.
However, pushback is necessary. Sometimes, you have to give your kids what they want. One thing you should give to your kids always is resilience. We give our kids the best chance of happiness when they are full with a sense of independence, self-worth and resilience. Our brain is always growing until we reach the age of 20. The more reason why we give our children everything they needed at this age is to make them believe that they don’t have to work for anything. They later grow up to feel the outside world and work.
In other words, children who grow up to get something to have a skewed sense of entitlement and they believe that the world owes them something. Affluenza can lead to depression, frustration-management issues, low self-esteem, and neuroses.
Above all, vaccinate your kids against affluenza and do not give them a snotty consumerist handkerchief. You should try to tell them “No” some of the times. It is a word they need to hear.