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  • Writer's pictureHelena Smith

How do I raise satisfied children in an unsatisfied world?

As teacher I often stand amazed when I see how many children pay with R100 notes at the tuckshop. I’m also astonished to hear how many primary school children have smartphones, laptops and television sets in their bedrooms.

We live in a society where consumerism reigns supreme. Our pressured children are influenced by friends who have the latest tech gadgets and wear the newest fashions. They feel out if they can’t compete with their friends. In some parental homes children also acquire a consumer mindset from their parents. Dad regularly gets the latest smartphone or the most up-to-date model of his car. Mom boasts the most recent clothing and fashion, and in her home as well. The children only have to snap their fingers to also get the latest tech, or the newest Adidas or Nike sneakers. How then does one raise satisfied children in a world amongst people with a consumer mindset?

In the first place it’s important to realise that your child’s emotional needs are far greater than his or her physical needs. Ensure therefore that your child feels cherished, loved and safe. Create a warm atmosphere at home so that it’s pleasant for your child to be there.

Secondly, it’s important that there are good limits at home with regards to materialistic needs. Your child must absolutely be neat and well cared for, but it’s not necessary for him or her to get everything their heart desires as soon as they ask for it. Differentiate very carefully between needs and wants. I believe that children should look forward to things. If for example your child wants a X-box, tell him that you’ll give him half of its price for his birthday and that he’ll have to save for the balance of the amount. Give your child realistic pocket money, rather a little less than more. Children must also learn that they should help with certain tasks at home to earn their pocket money. You could perhaps give your child in high school an allowance with which to buy clothes. If he just buys one expensive item, it’s his problem. If you then surprise him with a shopping outing, the joy will be great.

The example set by the parents is of course particularly important. Your children will notice if you as parent generally have a lifestyle of being content with what you have. Don’t keep up with the Joneses next door all the time. If your child sees that you’re rather collecting heavenly treasures for yourself, it’ll also influence them positively. In Luke 12:15 we read: Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.

Dear parents, may the Lord give you abundant wisdom to raise your children in this way so that they proceed in life as satisfied adults, who are not materialistically focused.

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