Do the latest gadgets make kids happy?By Jodie Benveniste | Aug 02, 11 09:41 AM
Buying toy after toy for your youngster to make up for those long hours at work may be an easy way to placate your guilt, but can we really fill the time gap with a piece of plastic? Jodie Beneviniste explores…
The Australian Institute of Family Studies reckons that kids of today are suffering from affluenza – that is, an unrelenting focus on consumption and accumulating more stuff.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising given that modern-day society as a whole has been accused of the same thing. But are there repercussions for our kids?
Will a focus on spending mean our kids will be a slave to the dollar? Will they miss out on life’s other pleasures because money and consumption is seen as all important? And how can we teach our kids values around money?
Susie O’Brien from the Herald Sun asked me about this recently, and this was my response:
“We teach our kids the value of money by being aware of how we spend money ourselves.
Kids need to learn that money is earned, it must be managed, and that spending has its limits.
Although buying ‘stuff’ can be enjoyable, research has shown that what’s more beneficial is spending money on experiences as a family.
Time together is often what’s remembered from childhood rather than the latest gadget.”
Susie also asked me for a few top tips, and here they are:
- Give your kids pocket money so they learn the value of money, and how to save.
- Spend money on experiences together rather than stuff.
- Reinforce that there is a difference between things we want and things we need.
- If your kids keep pestering you for the latest gadget, set a goal for them and make them earn the reward.
- Don’t let your child move out of home without knowing how to budget.
But what do you think? Is affluenza a problem for our children? And how can we teach them the value of money?
Jodie Benveniste is the director and founder of Parent Wellbeing. She is currently working on her new parenting book, The Parent Manifesto, which will help parents to define their own approach to parenting and life. Jodie is offering parents exclusive access to chapters as they are being written, and the chance to give feedback, contribute stories, and connect to like-minded parents. More info at www.parentwellbeing.com/parent_manifesto.