How Materialistic is Your Teen?

What Materialistic Children Say About Your Parenting

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Giving a child the finer things in life, doesn't necessarily make them materialistic. Materialistic children are less generous and more financially irresponsible than their peers. There may be ways you can give your child everything, but still raise a thoughtful, well-rounded kid. There are ways you can avoid having materialistic children, according to recent research.

Materialistic Children Have Less Supportive Parents

In a study of tweens and teens, parents who were emotionally unsupportive had more materialistic children than supportive parents.

By support we're talking the ability for the parent to talk to, encourage, and be there for their child in good and bad times. Self-esteem is key to understanding this finding. Supportive parenting increases adolescents' self-esteem. The higher a child's self-esteem, the less likely they are to look to items to bring them happiness and a sense of worth; they get their self-worth from relationships, instead. You can teach them the value of relationships by paying them with your time, energy, and interests. This will help them see their worth as a good friend, and child of yours. And even if you do buy some things for them along the way, maintaining the relationship will lead to higher self-esteem which leads to lower materialism.

Materialistic Children Have Less Supportive Friends

Similar to the findings about parents, the support of peers is also important for counteracting materialism. In the study, kids with supportive friends had higher self-esteem and, in turn, fewer materialistic beliefs.

"Supportive friends" are those who are understanding, who help out in times of need and who do not get angry or upset for no reason. Supportive friends also avoid relational aggression and subtle bullying. Encouraging your child to find and maintain these types of friendships may help your child think less materialistically.

Materialistic Children Often Have Materialistic Parents

Your own behavior also affects how much goods and money matter to your child. Children learn by watching, so if they see you valuing money as a source of happiness, they are likely to do the same. In addition, the researchers discovered that the more materialistic a parent was, the lower their child's self-esteem. Since low self-esteem is linked to higher materialism, it follows that materialistic parents had materialistic children.

Materialistic Children Also Have Materialistic Friends

Similarly, the attitudes and behaviors of peers affect materialistic beliefs. The researchers found that adolescents with materialistic friends had lower self-esteem and, in turn, higher materialism themselves. Encouraging your child to find supportive friends who don't put a high value on money and things may therefore help your tween avoid being consumed by consumption.

Source:

Chaplin, Lan Nguyen and John, Deborah Roedder. Interpersonal influences on adolescent materialism: A new look at the role of parents and peers. Journal of Consumer Behavior. 2010. 20: 176-184.


 

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