I hear some people complain that they have to buy expensive things for their kids because it’s what they expect. Some don’t know what they are going to do this holiday season as times are getting tight. How are we going to get little Johnny the latest (insert expensive popular toy here)?!?
Here’s what I say – Don’t!!
Where do your kids get their expectations from? Do they get them from friends? From television? Those are influences but not the real source. Children get their expectations from their parents!!
If you make it a habit to buy your kids expensive gifts for every occasion then you are setting yourself up for financial trouble! The younger you start the worse it will be. If you are already buying expensive items when the child is a toddler what are you going to do when they get older? How about when they are in their teens?
It’s tough to tell kids they won’t be getting all the goodies they are used to. But if your spending is putting you in debt or you don’t have an adequate amount for savings and retirement then you better re-think your holiday spending plans! Make your kids understand that they won’t be getting as much this year.
But all their friends are getting it!! Hmm. Are their friends paying your bills? Are they putting money away for retirement. Are they making sure the mortgage is on time? I didn’t think so. Teach your child to take pride in who they are not what they have. This lesson will be valuable for their entire life!
And you better practice what you preach!! Your child’s expectations come from watching you as well. Don’t think you’re getting that new flat-screen TV or expensive cell phone while they don’t get the goods. Parents must set the example for their kids. We are not our stuff!!
Say that to yourself – We are not our stuff! It’s important. Get this into your mind set and teach it to your children, not just by explaining but by setting the example.
I’m not saying don’t buy any gifts. But watch what you buy for your kids. Yes, they love getting stuff. I know I did as a kid. But what is the child really getting out of it? Are they using and loving the gift? Not just for a day but for months, maybe years? Or did they say it was their favorite for a few days then it joined all their other stuff in the corner? Do your kids really appreciate the gift? If your always buying them expensive stuff then your kids will start to see you a the person who will get them stuff. Not for the person you are! Think about that.
Stop the cycle of consumerism that hurts us in the end. You don’t have to buy your kids everything they want. Let them love you as the great parent you are rather than the person who gets them stuff. They won’t hate you if you don’t get them all the hottest toys. If they say they do then think about the values you are teaching them. We all want to make our kids happy but we need them to grow up responsible too.