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  #16  
Old May 6, '12, 1:53 pm
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Kelfa28 Kelfa28 is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

I love this thread.

I only have an infant but my husband and I have discussed this at length anyway.

We are both very much "anti-stuff" people. My husband is very much so. His biggest purchase for himself was a very nice TV he spent over a year saving for. He never makes a purchase he can't pay off right away. He also bought a nice engagement ring for me and nice things for the baby but he is a VERY generous person and gives to charity all the time.

I really want my children to learn from his example. I think this is where it starts by setting the example yourself.
Take a step back from picking up that Ipad, TV or whatever and give the money to Catholic Charities.
Get the kids involved too and teach them to give as well as save.

They make these super cool piggy banks with different slots that include investing and donation when it comes to saving money.
money savvy pig
Tow the kiddos down to the soup kitchen or have them volunteer with the church with food drives and such.
Some kids can be extremely generous on their own if they are given a nudge.

That and real in the Grandparents.
I'm gonna have to do it since my LO's grandparents are ALWAYS coming over with something and she is only a month old!
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  #17  
Old May 6, '12, 2:10 pm
BlueEyedLady BlueEyedLady is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Let them see you part with money willingly and graciously.

I grew up poor. Very poor. Like the electricity and water were frequently off poor. But when my grandmother, brother, family friend, or even stray animal needed help we always found one more corner to cut, and when I asked why the answer was always that that person needed it more and/or that they had been so good to us in other ways that it was the least we could do. So sometimes that meant I couldn't go on a field trip, or that I had to wear horribly patched jeans, or even that dinner for the next week would be ramen noodles with soy sauce and bell pepper or broccoli. And it frequently meant that my mom was walking two miles to work because she couldn't afford gas and that we would turn off the furnace in the middle of winter and set up camp in our living room with a space heater. We couldn't afford preschool, so to keep me from falling behind my mom bought a chalkboard and taught me numbers, basic arithmetic, and how to write. She also bought a huge box of books at auction for a buck and got me very several years ahead in reading. But I look back on that period of my childhood with nothing but smiles. My mom showed me what a single, hardworking mom looks like. And she always had the attitude of people before money. Heck, even stray animals before money.

I overheard my fiance bragging to his dad one day about how he was lucky to find someone who put love so far ahead of money and things (after I insisted that he not buy me a diamond engagement ring) I teared up and called my mom to thank her for my childhood.
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  #18  
Old May 6, '12, 2:42 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Have lots of children and don't buy them everything they want. If you have enough children, you won't be able to afford the luxuries anyway. If they want stuff, they can get jobs to pay for it. Teach them all that family is much more important than money. NEVER give more attention to your money than you do to your children. Save and pay cash for things as a rule. Use credit very sparingly if at all. Reward your children with your TIME and not stuff or cash. Give to the Church and charities. Remind your children that there will always be others who are worse off than they are.

Don't be a poormouth, though. Be generous with what little you do have.
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  #19  
Old May 6, '12, 3:30 pm
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kristacecilia kristacecilia is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
Have lots of children and don't buy them everything they want. If you have enough children, you won't be able to afford the luxuries anyway. If they want stuff, they can get jobs to pay for it. Teach them all that family is much more important than money. NEVER give more attention to your money than you do to your children. Save and pay cash for things as a rule. Use credit very sparingly if at all. Reward your children with your TIME and not stuff or cash. Give to the Church and charities. Remind your children that there will always be others who are worse off than they are.

Don't be a poormouth, though. Be generous with what little you do have.
I know not everyone *can* have a larger family, but I know that is one thing that has really helped us with the emphasis that people are more important than things. We have had many a conversation with the kids because their friends are going to Disney for the winter and we will probably never be able to go. We never ever put anyone else's family choices down, but we say that we have chosen to have more babies and have mom stay home so we don't have as much money as other families. We have more than enough money to buy what we *need* but not everything we *want* (we really get plenty of wants, though. We aren't hurting for money, just living on a single income means living on a budget, right?)

We always ask them if they are happy having lots of siblings and if they want more and they ALWAYS say yes, they would rather have more siblings than be able to do everything that they see their friends doing. At least so far. Actually, they say they want to have 10 siblings.

We'll need a bigger table for sure!!
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  #20  
Old May 7, '12, 8:12 am
SamH SamH is offline
 
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

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Originally Posted by amandamary View Post
What are your tips here for raising children who don't constantly want or value materialistic "stuff"? I'm afraid of my in-laws influence as well as "the culture". Thanks!
I fail to see the issue.
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  #21  
Old May 10, '12, 3:17 am
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Sillara Sillara is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

I can speak to the efficiency of having several children in keeping children from being materialistic. We have six, and that means not always being able to have the "stuff" that other people get. Our children wear hand-me-downs, don't get loads of gifts, and don't even watch television.

They have learned how to share, and indeed, when the older ones have earned some money, their idea of something fun to is to take their buddy-sister (each older one has a younger buddy) on a "date" to Starbucks. Definitely time and people before things.
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  #22  
Old May 11, '12, 6:38 am
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Irishmom2 Irishmom2 is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelfa28 View Post

We are both very much "anti-stuff" people. My husband is very much so. His biggest purchase for himself was a very nice TV he spent over a year saving for. He never makes a purchase he can't pay off right away. He also bought a nice engagement ring for me and nice things for the baby but he is a VERY generous person and gives to charity all the time.

It is very important for children to see these things growing up. We always pay off our credit card bill as soon as it comes in. We use our cards only to not have to carry cash. Our kids know this. We don't tell our children how much we make or spend, but sometimes, my husband will say to our kids, how much do you think Mom spent on groceries this month? He wants them to know that things cost money and you need to have a plan in life.

It is wonderful for your children to see you give to charity, even if it is just donating unwanted things to Goodwill or charity. They also know that you can get a bargain at those places too. My 22 year old daughter frequently gets very nice items at Goodwill. She prides herself on looking nice, but not spending a lot.
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  #23  
Old May 11, '12, 9:49 am
Em_in_FL Em_in_FL is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

My advice - Don't SHUN the grandparents gifts!!! They're simply trying to show their love in the only way they feel they can at that time in their lives.
Yes, "stuff" can start to take over, so you have to become practical when it comes to proper storage and determining what to keep/save for future kids vs what to pass on to others, but it's not fair to hurt feelings in the process. This can all be done discretely and with a kind and loving heart. It's also important to really evaluate WANTS vs NEEDS. Communicate your NEEDS to the grandparents and let them participate in the ways that they can. Also, suggest practical investments like savings bonds and such - those are GREAT ways to help!
Live by example for your kids... that's #1.
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  #24  
Old May 11, '12, 1:23 pm
KCT KCT is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Em_in_FL View Post
My advice - Don't SHUN the grandparents gifts!!! They're simply trying to show their love in the only way they feel they can at that time in their lives.
Kids need to learn gratitude. How can we be grateful if we don't allow opportunities for it?

Also, offer suggestions for gifts. Memberships to the zoo, aquarium, museums and such are wonderful. The grandparents might not think of it.
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  #25  
Old May 11, '12, 1:27 pm
Em_in_FL Em_in_FL is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCT View Post
Kids need to learn gratitude. How can we be grateful if we don't allow opportunities for it?

Also, offer suggestions for gifts. Memberships to the zoo, aquarium, museums and such are wonderful. The grandparents might not think of it.
Exactly... and those are great suggestions that encourage family time and don't add to the "stuff" in the house!
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  #26  
Old May 11, '12, 2:25 pm
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SMHW SMHW is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

Coming late to this thread... Lot's of good stuff.

I will offer one more suggestion. Expose your children to other families who are happy without lot's of stuff.

Your own family values are obviously of primary importance but when children get to be adolescents they will compare themselves to others of their own age and no child wants to feel abnormal. Make sure that your children know Catholics are joyful, giving, and caring people, whether they have lots of money, or not so much.
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  #27  
Old May 11, '12, 3:29 pm
shainski shainski is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

I don't want to come across that our kids are suffering materially. Because we were the last to have children, we inherited all the hand-me-down toys. Plus we had many single friends and childless couples that saw themselves as aunts and uncles to our children.

It was apparent at a very early time that we would be drowning with all the toys and gifts.

We begged others to cut back. That didn't really work. So we took a different path. We asked that instead of something material, people considered giving our kids a gift that was their time.

Consider doing something with the children that reflect you. If you like to fish, teach them to fish. Knit, sew, go to plays, take a walk, gardening, woodworking, baseball games, etc. You are all talented in different ways. When you share what excites you, then you give some of that excitement to our children.

And we explained to our kids that things are just things. People are more important. And even when my oldest was very young - I think just 2 or 3, we were taking a walk with a dear friend back to her home. She was kind of an adopted aunt to our kids - but she didn't have a lot of money. (In fact, she subsequently lost her home).

I knew i was taking a chance, but i asked my oldest so she could hear it. "Would you rather have "B" give you a toy or would your rather have her spend an hour with you?" Then i held my breath, because I wasn't sure what he would say. Almost immediately he replied. "I would rather spend an hour with her.". I think she could have cried.

She and her mother still buy gifts for our kids - and we still beg them not to. But they have seen that they don't need to. They go to Goodwill and get inexpensive dress-up clothes.

Other people have done the adventures where they will take the kids to some kind of event. Sometimes they spend more than they would have on a gift - and i feel bad about that - but I try not to be controlling.

And it's not just for the kids. We have convinced the in-laws to fix things around our house instead of a Christmas gift. Since with 4 little ones, we never seem to have time - and my FIL loves to fix things.

But I think it is working. My kids will often tell me "Grandma thinks that she always has give me something when i go there. I try to tell her not to, but she insists - why does she do that?". I do tell them to accept it graciously - and that some people just seem to need to demonstrate their love.

it can get very complicated.
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  #28  
Old Apr 11, '13, 7:18 am
Xantippe Xantippe is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

People have some very good suggestions. The stuff about having the kids spend their own money is very good--my big kids are very financially conservative when it is their hard-earned cash at stake.

I'd add:

1. It's not the quantity of items that makes the kids materialistic, it's their attitude toward them (how willingly they part with them, how acquisitive they are about getting more).

2. Some of this stuff is developmental. I think my kids were most acquisitive in the 4-8 age group (although one is wise beyond his years and quickly learned to prefer cash savings to another toy). At that point, they were continually purchasing cheap junky toys with their own money. Eventually, that stopped. I think younger children just enjoy having a lot of stuff, with that being less of a moral failing and more of a housekeeping problem.

3. We have a somewhat complicated financial system at home, but when the kids have any earned income, approximately 10% goes in their giving boxes (often 5 cents at a time). When the giving box has $20, we have a discussion about what to do with it. They generally give to Heifer.

4. I also keep a travel savings fund (on paper) for the kids. This is to avoid the problem of being on a trip, having an unusual opportunity, and having no funds to pay for it. We put 10-20% of the kids' earnings into travel fund, as a deduction.

5. My 8-year-old has a money market account. When you ask him what he wants to do with his birthday money, the answer is often that he wants to put it in his account. (We opened an account for him around the time I realized he had over $100 in cash savings in his room.) He likes to save up to put more of his earnings in the account, but I insist that he does it in $50 increments. It's amazing how much a kid with no living expenses can save, $1 or $2 at a time. He's currently got $250 in the bank, I believe. Now, we don't want him to turn into a junior miser, but we are instilling the habit of charity, as well (see #3).

6. If we sell a toy, that money belongs to the child.

This isn't probably feasible for every family (even I find the math for some of this rather taxing, as well as keeping appropriate change at home for bookkeeping for the kids), but our kids are giving, spending, and saving, and I don't think they are horribly materialistic.
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  #29  
Old Apr 11, '13, 8:57 am
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PetiteFoi PetiteFoi is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

My husband and I are minimalists by choice and necessity.
We don't have a lot of space, and both of us are committed to being debt-free.
As for raising children not to be materialistic, you just have to get rid of that expectation of entitlement.

I grew up in a beautiful home (6 bedrm/3 bath) in the country, my Dad made quite a bit. (though I didn't know this until I was an adult)
- I bought my own car
- I paid for my secondary education (and a part-time job while I was in school)
- I was expected to have a summer job at 16
- If I wanted something I had to save for it.
- My clothing was bought second-hand or hand-me-downs for most of my childhood into early teens
- I received a basic cell phone at 17 when I got my driver's license, and it was for "emergencies only."
- I was gifted my first laptop when I was 18 and going into college.

My parents could have EASILY paid for all of that and more - but they wanted us kids to know if you wanted something you worked for it, and don't hold your breath on mommy or daddy shelling out for you to get it!

I buy almost all of my daughter's clothing second-hand (or hand-me-downs), and gifting is kept very simple in our families.
Every child gets ONE gift and stocking stuffers (and by stuffers I mean things like socks/candy/razors/handcream etc)

Keep it simple, don't breed the expectation of entitlement, and teach those kids how to work.
Weekly chores, summer jobs, paying for all (or at least part) of school (ditto with car)

Best of luck!
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  #30  
Old Apr 11, '13, 2:44 pm
newf newf is offline
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Default Re: Raising Children who aren't materialistic

As a grandparent, I am astounded at all the toys my grandkids have. And I don't want to contribute to the heap.

So for our grandson's 3rd birthday last weekend, we gave him a shaving kit to be like 'dad' and a check for his 529 college plan. That's it.
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