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What do you do to raise a non-materialistic child? - Page 2

post #21 of 25

I am thankful my parents instilled in me the idea that experiences are more important than stuff. We never had new cars or big houses, but they would save up and take us on really cool trips and vacations sometimes. I got to ski and snowboard, and do lots of camping, and learn cool skills, and attend summer camps because we prioritized experiences over nice, new, material goods. I also learned that material goods always have a way of breaking, or getting lost or ruined, no matter how much sentimental value they have, so its not good for me to ascribe too much meaning to items like that when it is really the memories/the person/the relationship that I really care about. 


I think some kids go through phases where they are more materialistic, just based on social pressure and trying to figure out who they are and what is important to them. 

post #22 of 25
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

to be very honest now that i have a 10 year old looking back i feel we spend a lot of energy on this issue - which is wasted. 

sheltering is not really the answer. that's an easy solution, but its not the answer.

i feel really you dont need to teach your child any of this. what matters is how YOU live your life. 

i dont see anything wrong with wanting. that kid going through a magazine wanting everything that's pretty typical for a 3 year old. so you raise that child in the country and they still want - perhaps nothing you would buy with money but they still want the things they grow up with.

dd has grown up with everything around her. she has wanted certain things all her life. being a dessert fiend she begged for candy when she was 3. she would point at things and say i want that and i'd say ok i'll put that on the list. once it was even a can of beets. did she really want it or is it her language saying 'hey that's nice. it would be nice to have.' dont we all do that but dont give in to that impulse. 

nothing, nothing motivates our child than the lives the parents lead and the respect with which they treat their children.

i have seen parents take this to a whole another degree. with intention of not being materialistic, many parents deny their child things. only a parent who has respect for their child (or really listens for their children's needs), can really get out of their heads and truly consider the issue. because right now you limit what you give your kids without listening to them. what that leads to is a life of lack and when they grow up they become more materialistic to get the things they never could before. 

dd really early on caught on to the ads. commercials i feel are not a threat to our family. in fact its teaches dd a lot of what the outside world is like and how it lies. just by buying a toy she saw on tv at 5 dd realised how much lies it was because she got one itty bitty thing when the commercial shows so much more. its social values and norms all around us is what i am more afraid of - through other people. i think that's true of all families. because if you really notice your child will go for what your family is attracted to - not what the ads say they should be attracted to. 

instead of giving them pocket money and then telling them how to spend it, you act the life you want them to lead. dont make them give to charity. let them see you do your bit and i can promise you they will too when it is age appropriate. dont expect them not to want at 3. it would strange if they did not. they are very egotistical creatures at that age and life is all about them. 

i mean if you buy every technological gadget and then tell your dd she cant have another doll - is not going to help her be nonmaterialistic. 

i am not completely non materialistic. i live my life a simple way. i have no problems sharing or giving away - even things i like. my weak point is fountain pens. dd's is books. i live my life the way i like to, the life i believe in. 

Agree to all of this (including my own weakness for fountain pens! :P ). I'm expecting my first at the end of Sep, but this is a question that's been on my mind as well.

I grew up around kids who were denied Barbie dolls or basically anything except organically colored wooden toys. I felt sorry for them because they weren't aware of anything else that was going on in the world, from a kid's perspective. They grew up to become just as materialistic as most other people.
I used to watch tv excessively as a child. But I ended up choosing a lifestyle that was in line with how my parents were living: frugal, mindful of consumption, appreciating the simple things in life. (I also haven't had a tv for more than 10 yrs now, by my own choice.)

I plan on taking my kid outside a lot, explore nature and have little craft projects for the home or the seasons / holidays. We're basically going to try to include our child into our normal, pre-parent lifestyle as much as possible - raise him around music instruments, let him experiment with artistic a expressions of all kinds, have intellectual and spiritual discussions around him, let him interact with our pets and show him the value of life in every living creature in that way. I do believe if it comes natural and is in line with your general way of life, kids will internalize at least some of it - even if it may take a while and sometimes not until they're adults.
post #23 of 25

Ooo. Subbing. I used to do really well with this. But my DS (7) spends more time with his dad than me (unfortunately) and that has pretty much shot non-materialism because his dad would rather buy him everything he possibly can. Which has started to transfer over to my DD (3)...

post #24 of 25

I so agree with meemee, esp now my oldest is ten. Raising a kid who is relatively uncommercialised is about good modelling and communication. I also agree that you can't just sub one form of commercialisation for another. I think if you just buy lovely handmade ethical whatever stuff in quantity, that doesn't solve the fundamental problem. If you buy and have lots of stuff, your kids will expect the same. If you model conscious purchases, made do and mend, do I really need that, that's broadly what you'll get from your kids.


I also agree that one important part of raising a non-materialistic kid is to accept and preprepare them for peer pressure. And to sometimes give in. Its hard being the kid who has to take in carob cake to school for a birthday. I speak from experience.

post #25 of 25

I started by not letting them watch commercials and that really helped them to not ask for the mass produced toys that are popular each year at .  Also most of their toys are from the free table at the dump or yard sales and we've only brought them to the toy store a few times.  They wear hand me downs which has really given them their own unique sense of style instead of feeling the need to follow fashion trends.  I also don't buy them DVD's (except maybe one special one at Christmas), we watch ones from the library so they don't have that expectation of buying every movie that comes out like some kids do.  We get books from the library and they are allowed to buy a new book when the book fair comes to their school but that's pretty much it.

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