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When Did We Start Teaching Our Children That Excess Equals Love

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now…. when did excess begin to equal love? And what are we teaching our children by showering them in excess?

Maybe it has more to do with me maturing in my role as a mother. Or maybe my eyes have just been opened. I’m not really sure, but I was never more aware of this theme of excess equalling love than this past weekend.

I Also Bought Into The Conditioning.

For years, I spent a fortune on my children’s birthday parties, birthday presents, Christmas presents, and Easter baskets. I think it’s a great failing of our modern society that we are somehow conditioned to believe that unless we are showering our children in excess, we somehow don’t love them enough. But I’m learning that in fact, the opposite is true.

Less is more!

Over the past year, I have really focused on toning down my kid’s parties because I realized that all that prepping and money was never for them. Actually as far as my kids concerned, so long as there’s a couple of friends and a cake, it’s a party. The gift doesn’t need to be the most expensive, they enjoy it all anyway. The same applies to Christmas and Easter.

Let’s talk about Easter excess

This year, I worked really hard at NOT going overboard on all the Easter eggs. And guess what? My kids were fine with it! They were still as excited that the Easter bunny had visited our house, nobody was disappointed, nobody died.

Then I logged onto social media and all my doubts crept in and I have been thinking about how this is potentially the route of the problem. Is this about Keeping Up With The Joneses? Creating these Pinterest/Instagram worthy moments in life, instead of just enjoying these precious moments. Have we really become more focused on creating content-rich lives, versus authentic rich lives? Some of the excesses I saw was…. well quite horrifying. And again, it got me thinking about what we’re teaching our children and what we’ve been conditioned to believe ourselves?

SO I Asked

 I ran a couple of polls on my Twitter and Facebook pages, here are the results:

I’m not sure how accurate these results are. Perhaps some people didn’t feel comfortable to share honestly. But really guys, what are we teaching our children? What are we setting them up for as adults? How are we teaching them to manage and limit their expectations around gifts? How are we going to maintain this excess in an economy that gets tougher and tougher? Not to mention, how to raise a child that is not a spoiled, self-entitled brat?

So what is the impact of excess? 

I went to read up on this as, believe it or not, it’s a topic that seems to be a concern for many. And the impact of excess on kids is quite startling.

One article even stated that excessive gift giving could cause the following negative effects in children:

Increase in destructive behaviors

Lowered self-esteem

Robs children of lasting happiness.

And another study found that excessive gift giving could lead to problems for children as adults.

“Our research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown—well into adulthood—and this could be problematic,” says Marsha Richins, professor of marketing at the University of Missouri.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Have you, like me starting thinking about this and consciously choosing to tone down the excess? 

 

Feature image credit:Sharon McCutcheon

One Comment

  • stephanie videira

    April 7, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    yep completely agree with you on this post, my daughter who just turned 5 is the youngest cousin so she gets all her cousins toys they have outgrown and as much as i appreciate its become to much and guess what she hardly plays with them, so i have started putting them aside to give to an orphanage and only keep 1- 2 of them, this year for her birthday i told grandparents and family members no more toys, only clothes ( which she loves ) books and crafty things only and guess what she was so excited with what she got and more excited with the Barbie cake her Grandmother made for her, i feel they just get way to overwhelmed with the amount they get, usually our own doing and yes what are we teaching them by this

    Reply

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