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Materialistic Children - Parenting Problems and Solutions

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Materialistic kids are easy to spot. Today we'll share 9 ways of identifying materialism in kids and 7 ways parents may be promoting it.

To combat worldliness we'll also share 11 fun parenting discussions with your child, 12 simple non-material rewards, 10 positive self-talk mottos, and 12 easy ways to raise a happier more spiritual child.

First let's find out if your child values materialism over things that matter.

9 Signs Your Child Is Materialistic When He:


1. Cares more about things than people.
2. Bugs you for more toys or the latest fashions.
3. Brags to others about his possessions.
4. Puts down kids who have less than he does.
5. Judges kids' importance by the home they live in.
6. Acts like he's better than others because he has more.
7. Gripes if he doesn't get paid for helping at home.
8. Wants money for earning good grades.
9. Envies kids who have more than he does.


If your child appears to be materialistic, let's find out if you're accidentally promoting it.

7 Ways to Raise a Materialistic Child


1. Give your child toys instead of your time.
2. Pay your student too much money for good grades.
3. Believe you must pay your child for helping you.
4. Replace broken or mistreated toys with new ones immediately.
5. Stop whining by rewarding it with what he wants.
6. Model materialism by often getting yourself the latest grown-up toy or fashion.
7. Complain in front of your child that neighbors have better possessions.


If you'd like to deprogram your child's worldly views then have these chats that help him understand their shallow values.

11 Parent/Child Discussion Questions about Materialism

These questions help your kids use their own reasoning to see the hollowness of materialism. Ask, listen, and appreciate their insights. Don't over-talk your point of view. Rather, ask more thoughtful questions.


1. What would you rather have, more time with Mom and Dad or more toys? Why?
2. Can kids be happy with fewer toys? Why?
3. Are TV advertisers honest about all the fun you'll have with their new gadgets? Why?
4. What would you rather have, a good friend or a new toy? Why?
5. What's better, spending your money right away or saving it for something special? Why?
6. What's more fun, an outing with your family or time on your cell phone? Why?
7. What's more satisfying to you, giving your unused toys to the poor or keeping them? Why?
8. Are kids with lots of toys the happiest? Why?
9. Should a child who has few toys be envious of others who have more? Why?
10. Could a person who gets everything she wants become unhappy and selfish? Why?
11. What do we really need to be happy? Why?


Instead of rewarding your child with toys, gifts, and money, give him more fun time with you. Your caring connection will give him the loving bond he really wants.

12 Non-Material Rewards to Do Together


1. Ride bikes.
2. Play catch.
3. Read cartoons.
4. Tickle each other's feet.
5. Put a love note in her lunch.
6. Gaze at the moon and stars.
7. Play a board game of his choice.
8. Go to the park and find pretty rocks.
9. Color or paint a picture for the fridge.
10. Tell her 7 things you appreciate about her.
11. Tell each other 5 things you love about each other.
12. Lie on the grass and pick out shapes in the clouds.


How your child thinks about materialism can help deprogram him from its clutches. Here are some self-talk rhymes he might consider using.

10 Non-Materialistic Mottoes for Kids


1. The “I Must Have” is an ugly freak. It fills my mind with stuff to seek.
2. “'Gimmie' Monsters” aren't my friends. They don't save. They just spend.
3. Toys are fun for a short time. But most are not worth a dime.
4. When I buy toys I'm not content. I'll want more when my dough's spent.
5. “Never Enough” wants lots of stuff. I'll say “No!” and call his bluff.
6. I don't want cash for a good mark. I want my brain to think and spark.
7. My best friend is worth much more than all the stuff from the toy store.
8. I won't judge kids who have no toy. Our friendly play's what I enjoy.
9. Advertisers lie with glee, “Buy my toy to be happy!”
10. If my mom needs help, I won't scream and yelp.


Of course the best self-talk ditties come from your child. Encourage him to create his own to repeat often. Then encourage him to develop spiritually with the mindsets that follow.

How to Raise a Spiritual Child

These ideas are inspired and paraphrased from parts of the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, a lawyer and poet who died in 1927. Chat about each with your child.


1. Foster peace and love for beauty like flowers, trees, and animals.
2. Help her avoid dark thoughts and to spread a cheerful attitude.
3. Teach him to develop self-discipline and be kind to himself and others.
4. Encourage her to set goals and enjoy the steps to achieving them.
5. Speak about avoiding both pride and envy by not comparing himself to others.
6. Chat with her about the value of being herself and feeling at home on this earth.
7. Urge him to admire true heroes and treasure their qualities.
8. Talk with her about the problems of burning bridges or holding grudges.
9. Teach him to be a good listener and treat others with respect.
10. As far as possible, help her see through aggressive ads and noisy people.
11. Help him treasure the peace that quiet solitude offers.
12. Encourage her to stay connected to the Loving Spirit within her.


If you do, you'll be nurturing a loving child who is strong and able to cope with the disappointments and materialism in the world.

Conclusion - Turning a Materialistic Child into a More Spiritual Person

If material things could make your children happy, they wouldn't keep begging for more stuff. They wouldn't feel pride that they have more than others or envy because they have less.

To become contented and satisfied, teach them to value nature, family connections, friendships, and love. These are the true spiritual keys to character and happiness.

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Watch How Parents Discuss Materialism with Kids to help your kids find the real keys to happiness.

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