Britain’s parents are accused of ‘Compulsive Consumerism’. It is funny isn’t it? Parents seem to be the new ‘baddies’ but why?
I think it is just a symptom of we have to blame someone for the problems that exist and it really is not politically correct to aim our jibes at kids below 18.
Society can tut, and ignore the fact that children are exposed to hundreds of adverts and cleverly marketed brands every day. The huge fortunes of Apple are propped up by adult consumerism as well as children wanting the latest technology.
So are parents failing their children?
Everybody puts up defences when they are blamed for something. Even parents will balk at the idea that what they are providing for their children is not what they need. Society has moved from ‘being’ to ‘having’. People want the latest cars, the biggest homes and all the technology that they can to ‘save them time’.
I believe that there is a gap between what children need and what they get
I think that family times have become rare. Family meals are not the norm.
Even holidays are packed with fun activities for the children.
We try to squeeze every last drop out of the day and focus on how much we can achieve. But the reality is that our greatest pleasure comes from our relationships. Our best times are not the day we got our best score on a computer game, but memories of fun and laughter with those we love.
The pressure for young mums to get things done is huge.
I love Steve Biddulph’s quote: ‘Hurry is the enemy of love because when parents rush about, with too many commitments for themselves or their kids, then the love disappears’
So we buy our children things that we think will make them happy! And at first a new game or console does appear to generate happiness –and maybe that is where we are going wrong –we assume that the temporary happiness will last –and we teach our children that we expect them to be happy with our choice of consumer durables.
If I asked you a question –can you name five things you were given last Christmas?
And can you name five things you received the Christmas before?
You are probably much more likely to be able to name five things your child received!
And another question –does your child still enjoy the present he or she received two years ago?
So what is the solution?
I suppose thinking about what you as a family really enjoy and making time with the family a priority. For instance, how many family meals could you all get together for next week? Could you plan one outing where you all go out just for the joy of it –and spend no more than £20?
And could you commit to spending just 20 minutes a day with each child, for the next week, doing something you and your child would enjoy? I bet it would be worth the effort! I’ll give it a try too.