I didn’t really see it coming until it hit me in the face directly.
I was having a mommy and me day with my youngest child, complete with a trip to the American Girl store that just opened up and then tea at a lovely hotel. While holding a doll named Sue I became giddy over all the little doll shoes, pint-sized picnic sets, and soccer clothes that this grand store was trying to pawn off on us. Although I’d set a fixed price before we left to commemorate our special day, I was so swept up in the moment that we ended up bringing home much more than I intended.
My middle child immediately cried foul that his sister got “soooo many goodies,” whereas he got only one souvenir from our day together earlier this summer. So he did what all good big brothers do: he bragged that he was going to a movie and lunch with me the next day when my daughter went to her camp. This naturally sent my daughter into hysterics about how unfair it is that her brother gets everything and she gets nothing, even after my credit card was still smoking from our day’s purchases just hours before.
I stared at the two of them and realized something: my kids are greedy.
Then I did what any good mother would do: I began to yell about how greedy they were, and informed them that there were children searching for food under the rubble in Haiti. I think the fact that my kids still wanted so much after all that they had been given put me over the edge. How could they want more?
After I calmed down I sent us all to some quiet time to figure out how to handle this ongoing issue that so many parents struggle with. Hopefully these suggestions will help you as well.
Most of us have kids who have an over-abundance of stuff. Between parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles and birthday parties it sometimes feels as if there is no end to the amount of gifts received! While this may never end completely you can set boundaries with your kids (and yourself!) to show them how to live a life that isn’t centered around material goods.
Dr. Joan Simeo Munson earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. She has worked with incarcerated individuals, families, adolescents, and college students in a variety of settings, including county and city jails, community mental health centers, university counseling centers, and hospitals. She also has a background in individual, group, and couples counseling. Dr. Munson lives in Colorado with her husband and three energetic children. She currently has a private practice in Boulder where she sees adults, couples and adolescents.