What do you do to raise a non-materialistic child? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 08-07-2013, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am friends with a couple who are raising the least materialistic children, I am amazed! I hardly hear the "I wants" from their girls. I see them lead by example and doing things instead of buying things but I haven't noticed much they do different from more commercial centric families I know.

 

I know ds and I talk about how we are very fortunate even though we do not have extra finances now that he is older, and we always did that. We are careful to think about what we buy, but I notice now he closer to adult he is making his own choices about money, some of which I do not love. Mostly involving media and entertainment.

 

So what do you do to raise a less then materialistic person?


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#2 of 25 Old 08-07-2013, 08:44 PM
 
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#3 of 25 Old 08-07-2013, 10:00 PM
 
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No commercial tv. Limited movies. No gimmicky characters on clothes, bedspreads, books or games. Yard sales, thrift stores, making dinner instead of going out. Planning to letterbox or geocache as a family. Attending free events in your community. Borrowing library books. Our city has free clothing swaps, too.

We scrimp on the day to day and then we can afford nice vacations to augment our lives. We pay for experiences, not things.
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#4 of 25 Old 08-08-2013, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh! letterbox and geocaching! Those are good ideas. I would like to add the tiny art galleries to the huge art museums and wonderful little places like the http://www.pavekmuseum.org/ are so cool!
 


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#5 of 25 Old 08-09-2013, 09:46 PM
 
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I think no commercial tv and not taking them shopping are good starts.

 

Someone I know has a 3 year old who looks through toy magazines and lists all the things she wants.  She knows all the dolls and their accessories.   My DD has no clue about any of that.

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#6 of 25 Old 08-10-2013, 10:29 AM
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We ditched the cable tv and now selectively subscribe to iTunes stuff and movies. That has really reduced the exposure to commercialism. We fix instead of buy new and recycle everything we can. We also do handmade for gifts, cards and whatever we can. 

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#7 of 25 Old 08-10-2013, 01:38 PM
 
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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. 


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#8 of 25 Old 08-10-2013, 04:41 PM
 
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No TV, we haven't had channels pretty much ever in our ten year marriage
Not making a list at Christmas or making Christmas about gifts at all
Not buying lots of unnecessary thingslves and sharing our financial stories with the kids (like how as of last week we are debt free!!)
Giving to less fortunate and getting the kids involved

Yes my kids are young (20 months, 3.5, and 6) but although they have other faults I rarely hear "I want" or "buy me that". Like hardly ever. And it doesn't take any special effort on my part.
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#9 of 25 Old 08-10-2013, 06:13 PM
 
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I think no commercial tv and not taking them shopping are good starts.

 

Someone I know has a 3 year old who looks through toy magazines and lists all the things she wants.  She knows all the dolls and their accessories.   My DD has no clue about any of that.

 

 

Knowing about all the dolls and accessories isn't a sign of materialistic upbringing to me.  My girls LOVE to look through American Girl Doll catalogs or even clothing catalogs like Hanna Andersson and pick out things they like but that doesn't mean they expect them or would even buy them if they could.  We love to do free things.  In fact, we live well below the poverty line and so most of the things we do are free.  We love to hike, garden, letterbox, visit playgrounds in the area, pick up books at the library, have playdates with friends, etc.  We RARELY go shopping because truly, we can't afford it.  We buy our clothing secondhand nearly exclusively or we get hand-me-downs.  But my girls LOVE them some brand name stuff when it comes to them.  But they don't discriminate if it's not brand name.  If it's some obscure name and it's a great color or print, they are all over it!  They don't need to have THINGS, but they are always grateful when they do get something.  To them, it's just as exciting to get new books at the library.  


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#10 of 25 Old 08-10-2013, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! I think there are some wonderful points in this thread. Great ideas! I think, personally, we are doing pretty well in the world.


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#11 of 25 Old 08-12-2013, 05:28 AM
 
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we go to the library and do free things all the time.  No commercial TV, but that wasn't a conscious choice about this issue, it's just that we use netflix/apple TV for all our movie & tv series consumption.

 

The boys are at the age where they now save up with their own earned money to get something they want, and when they tire of it, I help them sell it on the secondary market and they use the money they get from those sales to buy the new desired item.  They would know about trendy toys and hobbies anyways through going to school and seeing what all the other kids are wild about.  But because they have to earn through odd jobs the cash to purchase things themselves, (unless it's a few birthday or christmas gifts)  they value the possessions and don't take them for granted.  My weakness is buying them a plethora of books to read with them and for them to read on their own.  I keep finding new paperbacks I just have to get.  They are 8 and 10.


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#12 of 25 Old 08-12-2013, 12:15 PM
 
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Serafina,

I pretty much bought my kids any book they wanted.... to keep encouraging reading.
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#13 of 25 Old 08-12-2013, 02:31 PM
 
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(like how as of last week we are debt free!!)

 

Still waiting on my first to arrive so I've got no input on the original post; I just wanted to say way to go!!


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#14 of 25 Old 08-12-2013, 03:04 PM
 
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My dad encouraged materialism in me and it didn't work. I watched nickelodeon all weekend every weekend with all the commercials, he did warn me how they lie though. He gave me unlimited funds for clothes shopping, gave me the big toys r us catalog and asked me to circle anything I liked. I liked to play outside with bark and rocks and chalk, and inside with construction paper, boxes, and paints. I still only wish for things that will help me make other things and hate to shop. My kids get Christmas and birthday presents, a lot handmade, some boughten. If they want a dessert we usually make it. once we get around to getting ingredients. They like free online things or old games on the computer a lot.

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#15 of 25 Old 08-13-2013, 10:22 AM
 
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This is an excellent thread.

 

Daughter is only a baby, but I like to think we're making a good start.  Husband and I don't care for tv and have never had it.  If we want to watch a movie or even a tv show, there are ways.

 

When Daughter gets older, I don't want to be preaching constantly the virtues of a non-materialistic life, but I do hope our actions will teach her that things just don't matter.

 

Even now, I try to take her outside to look at things everyday.


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#16 of 25 Old 08-13-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I am hearing mindless tv with no explanations are an agreed upon source of mindless materialism.

Thanks all!

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#17 of 25 Old 08-16-2013, 05:37 AM
 
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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. 

I love all of this!  So often I tell myself that if my kids just aren't exposed to certain things, their lives will be better, but that's not reality.  Thanks for explaining this so eloquently ;)  

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#18 of 25 Old 08-16-2013, 08:56 AM
 
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Keep in mind that you're planting seeds, and the sprouts don't always look like the full-grown plant.

 

I was raised frugally. I wanted stuff, bought stupid stuff with my own money, and chafed at restrictions, but as an adult, I lean towards frugality, even when I can afford to do otherwise. 

 

When the kids want something, use it as an opportunity to teach them options. If you're going clothing shopping, give them a budget and show them new, sale/clearance, and secondhand options. If they want a toy or something that you feel ok with them having or that comes out of their own money, show them options for getting it used. Kids can totally understand the "I can get one outfit new, or a whole wardrobe from a thrift stores for the same price" logic.

 

Don't associate secondhand with lack of choice. I was resistant to thrift store clothing because much of my clothing came from a thrift store - my grandparents volunteered at one and would bring things home for me, and it was rarely what I would have chosen, so I thought thrift store clothing sucked. When I discovered that I could actually make my own choices and be selective, I pretty much stopped buying new. 

 

Try not to associate "new" with extra-special. Buy new when it makes sense or as a second-best option when you can't find something you need otherwise. Give them (nice, carefully chosen) used stuff as presents. 

 

View bad choices as learning experiences rather than failures. Sometimes kids just have to figure out for themselves that the thing in the commercial isn't as fun as they make it look, or is poor quality and quickly breaks.

 

(I realize "buy more stuff by getting it used for cheaper" is still materialistic. I'm not expressing myself well today)

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#19 of 25 Old 08-17-2013, 07:17 PM
 
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 I watched nickelodeon all weekend every weekend with all the commercials, he did warn me how they lie though. 

 

 

Ha ha ha.  Just the other day I overheard my 8 year old telling my 5 year old, "G, you know the commercial is lying right?  That dinosaur doesn't really fly.  That's not real.  They just want you to buy their stuff."


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#20 of 25 Old 08-18-2013, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is too cute!
 


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#21 of 25 Old 08-18-2013, 11:52 PM
 
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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. 

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#22 of 25 Old 08-27-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 25 Old 09-03-2013, 07:49 PM
 
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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)...


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#24 of 25 Old 09-11-2013, 10:46 PM
 
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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.


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#25 of 25 Old 09-25-2013, 01:38 PM
 
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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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