Mothering Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was dumbstruck when my 2 yo said this to me. We were in line at Target and she was looking at the candy all displayed there. She doesn't know it was candy or something tasty and forbidden b/c we don't eat like that. Yet she had a desire for me to buy her something unknown.

I want so much to teach her NOT to be beholden to her desires for stuff. I have personally had such struggles always wanting what I don't have, and thinking that if I could just buy the right clothes or decorate my house I'd be happy. It was a struggle all through my early twenties to overcome those feelings and beliefs. If I pass on one value to my daughter I want it to be that she doesn't need to buy stuff to be happy.

To meet this goal dh and I have been striving for a simpler lifestyle. We sold a car, we walk places, we don't have a lot of toys out at one time, I try for the toys to be natural, we shop at Goodwill and the farmers market and so forth. We don't watch Tv and I plan to homeschool.

What do you do with your young children to prepare them for our consumer culture? I was so shocked and sad when she said, "mommy you should buy me something." I thought we were taking steps to help her not have consumer desires.

(I know, I am probably overreacting and she isn't already tainted beyond repair and doomed to be a mass consumer filing bankruptcy before she is 12.....)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,567 Posts
This could be way off but here goes
It was really her phrasing that makes me think of this- mommy you should, not I want.

In the book the Five Love Languages, he talks about how there are these five main ways you show love for someone else and how each person really has one way that speaks to their heart the best. The five ways are-- physical touch, acts of service, affirmations, quality time, and gifts. He talks about how children need all of them and especially at 2 years old there probably isn't one special way yet. When he talks about the gifts it isn't the actual item so much as all that goes into it that really counts. The special wrapping and bows (those candy displays do get more exciting every day), just the knowledge that you spent time getting this for her and in making it important.

So I guess what I am saying is if you gave her some other gift from you, perhaps something you made or 10 of the prettiest fall leaves you could find, wrapped up as a gift for her, maybe that is really the desire she has.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
What a great, thought-provoking post, Mallory!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,182 Posts
Quote:
I want so much to teach her NOT to be beholden to her desires for stuff...[snip]...If I pass on one value to my daughter I want it to be that she doesn't need to buy stuff to be happy
Same here. About a month ago, we were waiting in the checkout line to pay for groceries. DS saw another little boy holding one of those overpackaged media toys and started asking about the toy. I told ds that the boy was buying a new toy. Ever since then, ds always asks about buying 'new toys' whenever we're out.

It's completely freaky how much impact that the media has on our children. Only 2 years old, and boo is already in total consumer mode. <shudder>

I'd also be interested in any ideas of how to help our children appreciate what we already have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,532 Posts
I do just the same, lilirose!

I think it is ok to buy them a little something if the cart is filled with adult stuff and nothing for the child.

But you don`t need to buy candy or toys. Maybe a magazine they like? Or their fav. fruit?

I usually buy Noah his fav. yoghurt. And then we sit out side the store afterwards and eat it while we look at all the people.


And I also loved Mallorys post!

I have actually read about what you wrote, Mallory.
I don`t remember where though...

The article said something about children valuing themselves (young children, that is) from what they recieve.

But I DO understand your concerns too, Grumo!
I will also try to teach my son that happines can`t be bought.

But on the other hand, I get happy when I buy good food and prepare a great meal...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,182 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by lilirose
I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but if there is really NOTHING in the cart that the child will be using themselves, and it's all "adult" things that you can't involve the child in picking out, I WOULD buy my child something. Not an expensive toy, but something small- maybe a 60-cent bottle of bubbles. Why? Because I think it's really, really hard to be two years old, and be taken into a place that is full of wonderful shiny new things, and then having a parent tell you "No, you can't have anything at all" while she goes about buying whatever she likes. That must seem really unfair, from a 2-year-old's viewpoint.
I think what you're saying here is very valid. And i actually agree with you 100%

Quote:
But you don`t need to buy candy or toys. Maybe a magazine they like? Or their fav. fruit?

I usually buy Noah his fav. yoghurt. And then we sit out side the store afterwards and eat it while we look at all the people.
Those are great ideas Tamara!


So, back to the happiness cant be bought thing, is this a concept that a 2 year old isnt going to be able to understand? Or maybe happiness can be bought...boo sure seems pretty happy when he's playing with a new toy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,311 Posts
Disagreeing with the idea that it's unfair to not buy children something when you're at the store buying stuff "for yourself."

Our budget is beyond tight, and we just can't give in to their whims. Not to say that we don't occasionally buy a new box of crayons, or something like that ... but we've gotten that "you should buy me ..." or "please can we buy ..." regularly. And our children have gotten well accustomed to our "no, we can't today," response.

That doesn't mean we can't ever; it means we can't today. And not only do they accept it very well, they don't even get upset at it anymore. Really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow! I lost the little reminder email in my inbox and I was sad for a couple days that no one was responding to this topic. I'll have to pay closer attention next time, because there is a lot to respond to in all your posts.

I'd like to make clear that I am not wondering how to get out of the store without buying her whatever it was she wanted to impulse buy. I want to help her to learn how to not want to buy stuff for the sake of buying or having. (I think most of you got that, but it is worth repeating)

While I agree that ...

Quote:
you don't teach a child that concept by refusing to buy them things.
It is also hard to teach them to be non-consumers if you are buying them trinkets and inexpensive throw away items half the the time you go to the store. For the most part, the items in the cart are not adult items. They are food. Except when we go to Home Depot!

I too remember how hard it was to be 2 and see all these neat shining things. I do let her touch and handle things that interest her that we are not going to buy. But I really prefer the idea of perhaps getting a special food item and sharing it outside. Or even bubbles to blow outside together, because in those instances I don't think I am buying her stuff. I am purchasing a tool to make a special or unusual moment in our day. Which is exactly the type of thing I want to teach her is valuable. As I think about it, I am really excited about countering her desire for "something" with concentrated moment of attention.

Mallory, your post reminded me of some perspective I gave to another Mom who was bemoaning that her 4 yo would jump up and down at the TV saying I want that. I want that. I suggested that perhaps her son was primarily telling her that he thought the item on TV looked neat and exciting and the only way for him to express those feelings was to tell her he wanted it. I'd forgotten I had those thoughts once! I think they apply here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,039 Posts
I think I would take that as a statement of wanting a sign of love more than wanting something (at least at that age).

With my kids, at that age, I would of also thought that was a sign of time to eat and or drink.

Going from my kids, that statement so says I need/want something else.

My son is 9 and he gets a major case of the "I wants" when he is needing extra attention from me. I tell him no but we can do the library/park later just him and me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,311 Posts
Along the same lines, we often get catalogues from toy companies (sure n'you all do, too ...
) and we enjoy looking at them. Kids say, "I want this" or that, and I say, "It is fun to pretend to have that, isn't it," and "wouldn't it be fun?"

They can imagine. They close the "toy magazine" and forget about it (or at least I think they do ... :LOL)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,743 Posts
I must get the book Mallory mentioned, but want to share what we've done since Dd was about a year old. We go to stores and look but not buy. If I am going for one specific item, I get that, but stop and admire sometihing that catches my eye, without buying it. Dd (so far) knows that stores have fun things to look at and put back.

She does understand buying things and taking them home, and has many requests. Purple cheese, babysize chopsticks...she knows stores have things we don't have and might need.

She can say "buy, take home," but she also says, "good price!"...she's awake!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,339 Posts
Respectfully, I can understand that you had struggles with wanting things so that you could then be happy. However, I think that you are now punishing your daughter for your mistaken belief.

I totally understand that you want a simple lifestyle and want her to know that you don't need to buy stuff to be happy. But isn't there some middle ground where you could buy special little things for her sometimes?

I do believe that you could still pass on the value that you don't need stuff to be happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by faithjd
I do believe that you could still pass on the value that you don't need stuff to be happy.
How? That is the question I am asking in this post.

I am not sure what I've written to give people the idea I never buy my daughter things. Cripes, somehow I've ended up getting her far more gifts for her 2nd birthday than I'd planned. I feel like I already buy her more than I ought to. Her comment struck a chord in me and I thought it very sad that she was already tainted by our culture of consumerism. I have since reconsidered and some posts have given me food for thought, and I think my daughter was expressing some other emotions she couldn't otherwise verbalize. I am glad for the early kick in the pants to consider how I want to guide her away from consumerism.

I have personally found Center for the New American Dream quite helpful towards that aim. Others may as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,182 Posts
I've been thinking about this a lot in the last couple of days. I think that the issue is about teaching values, any kind of value, not just that "you dont need stuff to make you happy". So, how do we teach our own internalized values to our children? I guess first we have to live what we believe. We need to talk about our values with our children and why they're important to us. We need to teach our children thru what we do in day to day life. (ps, grumo, this is not directed at you, i'm just typing out loud, trying to get my own thoughts to gell, and maybe get some input back) So, how do we teach our children thru everyday life? I guess that takes a bit of planning. If i want to teach boo that stuff isnt necessary to be happy, then i need to look at what is necesary to be happy...I'm thinking about maslow's hierarchy of needs and that kind of thing here. To attain self-actualization there is an entire base of other needs that must be met first...and i think as ap'ers we probably are doing a pretty darn good job of making sure those needs are met in our children. So once basic needs are met, then it frees us up enough to direct energy into our pyschological needs, ie happiness.... I think we're probably all at that point.

For me, maybe i'm not living what i want to teach boo, maybe that's why this has been on my mind so much lately. The only time we go into town is when we're doing errands, adn that always includes grocery shopping. So, how am i supposed to teach him about the dangers of consumerism when i'm exposing him to the practice of consumerism on a consistant basis? I guess i need to talk to him a bit more about the choices that i make when i'm buying things. I need to explain to him why we buy certain items, etc etc etc

Ita that there are a zillion of ways to have fun and teach children that happiness comes in many different forms. It's important to have a sense of humour (i'm way guilty of being too serious), and goof around, sing silly songs, play in the park, spend time in nature, bake things, plant a garden and watch it grow then eat it, do something nice for someone, smile, etc etc etc...
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top