It’s that time of year again where parents go out of their way, and over their budget, to accommodate the wants of their children. No parent wants their kids to be sad on Christmas, so they break out their credit card to pay for toys, clothes, and technology—knowing good and well that they won’t be able to pay the cards off for months.
The sad part to all of this is that once the excitement of the new gifts wears off, kids begin the process of begging their parents for something else. It becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to break, according to Debt.com. “Over 73% of parents purchase items for their children during Christmas that they can’t really afford,” says the report on parental purchases.
“Most parents find themselves in debt from one holiday and they compound that debt by allowing it to roll into the next holiday the very next year,” the report continues. While parents are spending all of their money for items, their kids don’t necessarily need, their children are growing into a sense of entitlement that gets out of control as their child gets older.
How does this cycle end? Is it even possible for such a “spend wheel” to discontinue? The experts think so.
Stop the madness by cutting your giving in half
The Wall Street Journal shared a report that revealed how children that received less (in terms of gifts) from their parents were more grateful, did better in school, and were less depressed. “My husband and I wanted to give our children things that we did not receive when we were young,” stated one parent who shared her story of having ungrateful and spoiled children.
“We did not want them to want for anything because we remembered what it felt like to have nothing…we didn’t want that for our kids,” she continued. Many parents shared their story of why they wanted to provide their children with a lot of gifts during the holiday season. The one thing that most of the parents had in common, however, was their desire to find a balance that would somehow eliminate the sense of entitlement that their kids were displaying. “I’m doing harm to my kids and that was never my purpose,” said one parent who found that his gift giving began to extend to also providing his kids with sweets on a daily basis.
“In the past, until about the mid-20th century, kids joined families in the kitchen, helping to prepare food, setting the table, and washing the dishes,” said Susan Roberts, a pediatric occupational therapist and author of My Kids Eat Everything. “Nowadays, kids are free to eat anything, and they don’t have to do anything to get treats…this isn’t far from how they are able to get gifts from parents, as well,” Roberts continued.
Most experts suggest that parents either stop the overspending or run the risk of raising children who feel they are deserving of things merely because they ask for them. “It is important for children to understand that they must earn things. This is what will assist in their being raised to appreciate what they have,” said Roberts.
To help parents curb their desire to spend excessively this holiday, Roberts suggests that parents learn the value of balancing their gift-giving with being rational. “If parents want to end the process of raising children who expect everything without earning it, then simply stop giving them everything,” Roberts shared.
According to Roberts, parents are guilty of using gifts to compensate for other things when it comes to their children. Although most parents will find it hard to believe that their generosity is a result of some inner weakness, one thing is for sure…they will create a much bigger monster if they do not limit the spending.
We all love our children and want to see them happy. To ensure that your child is still joyful upon receiving their gift this holiday, without forgetting the importance of gratitude, you must keep yourself in check first. Slowly wean off the number of gifts you give your child this holiday so that you can both spare yourself the debt as well as teach your child that excess is not the goal.