How to keep one’s perspective on our basic value structure?
The world we live in grows increasingly more complex and diverse. In the fifties, having a television was a big attainment along with Mattel’s introduction of Barbie and Ken dolls. In the sixties and seventies, telecommunications became more advanced. In the eighties and nineties, the advent of the cell phone and the internet, sophisticated radio, television, DVDs, and many other gadgets emerged. Now the twenty-first century has brought us things that we could never have dreamed would exist. With the development of more and more technology, including video and internet games, we have become a more materialistic society.
How do we guide our tweens?
Children need a clear-cut set of values. How do we set limits on our tweenagers when constantly faced with the temptation to spend and explore? Fantastic and user-friendly things await us at every turn. Do we attempt to keep up with the neighbors? Do we deny ourselves to show our children a sense of discipline? It might be better if we simply prioritize and decide which technology is a necessity and which is a luxury. If children believe that they can get everything that is available purely because their parents can afford it, they will never learn the value of money. They will never know that delayed gratification makes the prize sweeter.
How does a child learn the value of money?
There is no easy answer to this question. If parents can communicate that gaining possessions comes only after earning the money, tweens might be motivated to earn money themselves to buy things. When they really understand how hard it is to work for your money, they might feel differently. Instill the work ethic into your children. There are many parents who reward their tweens with money or gifts after they complete chores or do something extraordinarily well. This does not, however, keep the tween from being materialistic. When they see a friend with a cell phone or an i-touch, they don’t understand why they can’t have one as well. How many American Girl dolls does a girl need? How many video games does a boy need to add to his collection? If You Had To Choose, What Would You Do? (MacAnswerPros, Inc., 2008)isa series of twenty-five stories by Sandra McLeod Humphrey and is an excellent resource for parents.
Values are taught at home
Parents have a very difficult job. They must teach children values and ethics that include sharing, giving, respecting, being kind, understanding, and considerate, the importance of an education, and earning money. We have to remind ourselves that we are the role models for our children. They will imitate our value system and expect to be rewarded whether they deserve it or not. If you teach a child by example to love and respect others, he or she will most likely follow your lead. If you show tweens we set limits for ourselves, it will be easier to set limits for them. No matter how materialistic the world out there has become, we can prepare our children by giving them a sensible and realistic foundation.