Last updated on 11/04/08
Is my child too materialistic?
The primary message of commercial culture promotes the false message that the things we buy will make us happy. Research has proven that our sense of wellbeing depends on relationships, a sense of community, spiritual nourishment, and/or job satisfaction, not on acquiring “things.” Children who are more materialistic are less happy, more depressed, more anxious and have lower self-esteem. This generation of children is the most brand-conscious ever. Teenagers today have 145 conversations about brands per week, and 44% of fourth through eighth graders report daydreaming “a lot” about being rich. Every day, children are bombarded with advertisements promising lifelong happiness if they buy a certain product or go certain places. Parents should limit their children’s exposure to advertising and teach their children the value of money. It is also important for parents to model a non-materialistic lifestyle; a child will not understand why they cannot have a certain fad if the parent regularly buys unnecessary brand-name products.
In the Jewish Community
Materialism is a problem that hit the Jewish Community full force. A casual stroll down Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, shows the intensity of materialism in the Jewish Community. Jewish owned clothing stores for babies and adults alike sell mostly brand-name products priced by the animal emblem as opposed to the quality of the merchandise. Their clientele, both wealthy and average, sport Burberry scarves, custom wigs, and leather handbags whose price could feed a needy family for a month. Children tend to model their parents; in this case, the results are already out in the open. The Jewish Community must work together to curb materialism before the problem becomes worse. Parents should educate their children to find pleasure with simplicity as well as model appropriate behavior for kids to copy. Materialism is a weed that spreads rapidly unless it is completely uprooted.
Use the following links to educate yourself about materialism in children. Learn about the dangers of materialism, what it is caused by, and how to remedy the problem.
Frequently Asked Links
What causes kids to be materialistic?
How does materialism develop in young children?
What are some of the dangers of advertisements?
Which kids are less likely to be materialistic?
Does materialism harm kids?
What are some of the negative effects of materialism?
How can I discourage materialism in my child? more
How can I move my child’s focus away from materialism?
How can I teach my child to avoid materialism?
Why is it important for parents to say “no” to children?
Why do some parents have a hard time saying “no” to their children?
How can I learn to say “no” to my children?
Do you need presents for family and friends? You can make them happy without spending much money! Find out more in this article for kids.
How Can I Help My Child Develop Healthy Self-Esteem?
I often hear my 16-year-old daughter putting herself down, saying things like "I'm so ugly" or "I can't do anything right." I try to assure her that none of these things are true, but nothing I say seems to make a difference. How do I know if my daughter is suffering from something more serious than insecurity? In addition, what can I say or do to make her feel better about herself?
Raising Confident Kids
It takes confidence to be a kid. And while each child is a little different, parents can follow some general guidelines to build kids' confidence.
Developing Your Child's Self-Esteem
Healthy self-esteem is a child's armor against the challenges of the world. Here is how you can play important role in promoting healthy self-esteem in your child.
Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community
Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
AACAP offers up-to-date information on child and adolescent development and issues.
Center for a New American Dream
This site has a section with ideas on simplifying the holidays and countering the commercialization of our culture.
Alliance for Childhood
A partnership of individuals and organizations committed to fostering and respecting each child's inherent right to a healthy, developmentally appropriate childhood.
A proven plan for adults to help children develop the life skills and internal discipline necessary to learn and thrive in today’s society.
Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.