Have you ever met a parent who did not what to do the best they possibly could for their children? Unfortunately, sometimes that beautiful wish gets translated into massive piles of consumer goods. Stuff. And it might not be the right stuff.
Our intentions may be good, but over-spending, “over-gifting” behavior can teach our children a number of things we might not want them to learn. I don’t think, for example, that any parent wants our children to define our love for them by the gifts that we buy for them.
What other messages can we send when we repeatedly overindulge our kids’ material wants? Are they learning about the difference between “wants” and “needs”? How about saving versus “buy now, pay later”? And, if everything they want just “shows up” are we teaching them to expect “something for nothing?”
We all love to give our children nice things, but the things we buy for them can never replace the pride that comes with earning their own money and making their own decisions about how to spend it. Things they are given without work or personal effort have little lasting value for them. When children purchase something by contributing at least a portion of the cost with their own hard earned money, they learn valuable lessons in money management and the self-esteem that comes from realizing that there is a relationship between their work and the result.
And those are gifts that keep on giving.