Too much consumerism and not enough quality time for our kids

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Cycle of 'compulsive consumerism' leaves British family life in crisis, Unicef study finds - Telegraph

with parents working too many hours and feeling too tired to give what their kids desire most, ie quality play time, they are making up by showering them with toys and labeled clothing .Big mistake as kids begin to equate self esteem with owning stuff.i also dont believe they learn to relate to another properly if they are left facing a tv or playing computer games as a means of keeping them quiet.
Its nothing new mind because even as i was a child i was being told children were to be seen and not heard and we could only speak when spoken to .We certainly didnt have the gadgets and mod cons most take for granted today , so, in a sense, its kind of cultural.I remember growing up in Argentina feeling envious of my friends' families because they knew how interact with their kids by including them in the family dynamic.Weekends were special family periods and I was sometimes invited by my best friend's family to their get togethers, including barbecues etc.They were times of joy for me.My father was far to preoccupied with his books ( he had a huge library) and music so the times I intereacted with him were few and far between.I often saw him as a complete stranger and a rather intimidating one at that given his unpredictable and sometimes volcanic temper.
Anyway the issue for me is not so much about the things that parents give their kids but the quality time they spend with them
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
And you have how many kids?
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
irrelevant.Other peoples kids affect me as well and i am entitled to opinions on how they are raised
Except that it is a damn sight easier to criticise the process when you have little to compare it to. Why don't you get this switched to the parenting forum and see how well you get on there?
 

dazza74

Novice Member
I think it's down to the parent's. They take the decision as to whether to play with their kids or sit down with their own entertainment and basically ignore them.
 

Kebabhead

Novice Member
It can be an easy cop out for working parents to shower their kids with luxuries rather than spending time with them. It's a lazy form of parenting by giving them something to make up for lack of interaction

Also lot of peer presure on kids to have the latest stuff otherwise it's ridicule time
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Except that it is a damn sight easier to criticise the process when you have little to compare it to. Why don't you get this switched to the parenting forum and see how well you get on there?
I fully realise that ,but this is not so much about criticising particular parents ,but of highlighting a problem within our society and one that is not so much about consumerism, but using it to substitute love and attention, which is what kids need most.Depriving kids of what they need most is nothing new . Some parents shove their kids off to boarding schools at the earliest possible moment so they dont have to have then running around their feet, and then they wonder why they end up dysfunctional.When i say earliest i mean 6 or 7 which to mind is far too young.A kid at that age would be terrified of being shoved into an alien environment without proper parental support
I remember a few years ago on a flight back home from Argentina there was an Argentine couple, with young child, sitting behind my wife and I.What first struck me was the interaction between father and child and i also became aware of my own feelings of irritation because he spoke to her in language and tone she could understand - baby talk.It went on for an hour or so and got to the point I wanted to yell at him to shut up.The message in my head was "little kids are to be seen and not heard .Tell her to shut up and behave".It was only later when she fell asleep that I realised what he was doing was correct and it was my own dysfunctional messages which had been forced into me that were wrong.

edit i fully realise i put this thread in the wrong forum so if a mod wants to move it thats fine by me
 
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MartinMiller

Well-known Member
As a father of two i find that my wife and i try to spend as much time as possible with our kids, however there are a lot of factors that could change the time spent with them, work, other family etc but we dont give them gifts rather than spend time with them as we are trying to teach them to earn gifts or money.

martin
 

kav

Distinguished Member
My wife and I try our best to spend as much time with the kids as possible, though I can't deny that it is handy sometimes to be able to sit them down in front of a DVD when I need to get something done.

In my experience the consumerism is driven more by a need to keep up with the Joneses than it is to act as a substitute for a parent's time. My wife and I regularly [-]debate[/-] bicker about this - I come from a background where we received very little in the form of gifts, except at Christmas and birthdays. She on the other hand had a relatively privileged childhood and had new toys, clothes etc on a regular basis. Her view is that as long as you teach children to appreciate what they have, they will not act spoiled. Mine is that they need to go without sometimes in order to appreciate what they have. It can lead to some clashes as often I will hear that we "need" to get such-and-such a thing because everyone else has it and it would be a shame for them to be the only child without one. For the smaller things I usually go with the flow, but sometimes I will put the foot down and I am usually accused to being stingy/a stick in the mud or whatever.

I am very conscious that my children have everything I could have ever dreamed of and then some. While it is natural that you want your kids to have a better life than you did, it does sometimes concern me that due to being continually surrounded by "stuff" they will base their happiness on this. I can only hope that between my wife and I we instil appreciation of the right things. I think we are doing okay - the kids would still much prefer to spend time with us than playing with any of their toys (some of the time, anyway).

PS Baby talk is stupid and sounds ridiculous. You can speak with normal words using an appropriate tone to a child. :)
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
My wife and I try our best to spend as much time with the kids as possible, though I can't deny that it is handy sometimes to be able to sit them down in front of a DVD when I need to get something done.

In my experience the consumerism is driven more by a need to keep up with the Joneses than it is to act as a substitute for a parent's time. My wife and I regularly [-]debate[/-] bicker about this - I come from a background where we received very little in the form of gifts, except at Christmas and birthdays. She on the other hand had a relatively privileged childhood and had new toys, clothes etc on a regular basis. Her view is that as long as you teach children to appreciate what they have, they will not act spoiled. Mine is that they need to go without sometimes in order to appreciate what they have. It can lead to some clashes as often I will hear that we "need" to get such-and-such a thing because everyone else has it and it would be a shame for them to be the only child without one. For the smaller things I usually go with the flow, but sometimes I will put the foot down and I am usually accused to being stingy/a stick in the mud or whatever.

I am very conscious that my children have everything I could have ever dreamed of and then some. While it is natural that you want your kids to have a better life than you did, it does sometimes concern me that due to being continually surrounded by "stuff" they will base their happiness on this. I can only hope that between my wife and I we instil appreciation of the right things. I think we are doing okay - the kids would still much prefer to spend time with us than playing with any of their toys (some of the time, anyway).

PS Baby talk is stupid and sounds ridiculous. You can speak with normal words using an appropriate tone to a child. :)
i passionately disagree with the keep up with the joneses ethos as to my mind it sends the wrong message and puts intolerable pressure on parents who may not be able to afford label items.Having said that I think your wife is right with regard giving presents and being generous with it provided you can a) afford it and b ) they are not a substitute for love an attention.I think being generous ion both senses is important as it will breed generosity within them.I know my wife is a veery generous person to an extent I find quite absurd at times but only because I dont know anyone like her and was not brought up to be so myself.She got it from her own mother who would scrimp and save all year to buy her only child what she could when it mattered.She was also very generous with others.
As for the baby talk ,well although it did make me cringe I had to accept it was part of a different culture but more to the point , it worked as the child was good as gold over 12 hour flight.
 
Well for once there is something I agree on with LGS, blimey :)

I find it a sad state of affair when I see the consumerism aimed at children, and also dual working parents to facilitate that consumerism.

I never see my children as having more that I could have dreamed off, well it wouldn't be possible as I am financially/materially worse off then my parents wear when I grew up, but more importantly like I had growing up they've got their loving mum be there for them during and after school, just like like both my wife and I had when we were growing up.

My daughter is 9 on Sunday, and what she really wanted was that her whole family is together and we have a nice home made roast meal that we cook together followed by a walk in the local forest.

However they are a nightmare to buy presents for as they just don't seem to be into toys at all, much prefer pen and paper the forest behind us to build a hut. Even on our holiday recently the 3DS and iPad were used for just about 30 minutes on the plane and just chat chat chat all the way. As Kav said, sometimes it would be nice if they just would sit still and watch a DVD :)
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
Is showering a child with gifts because the parents can't afford to spend as much quality time with then as they would like, better than not being able to show much love at all?

LGS, what prompted you to make this thread and your first post?

I buy my kids things because I don't get to spend as much time with them as I'd like because of work and because I want then to have nice things, and because I want them to have a better childhood than I had.

But I also try to be the best parent I can be when I'm with them and everything that entails.
 
Is showering a child with gifts because the parents can't afford to spend as much quality time with then as they would like, better than not being able to show much love at all?
IMO No, to me showering with gifts is not an expression of love intact imo if it gets packaged up as love it gives out a really thwarted view of what it is.


I buy my kids things because I don't get to spend as much time with them as I'd like because of work and because I want then to have nice things, and because I want them to have a better childhood than I had.
I don't know what childhood you had, but do you really believe buying things will make it a better childhood?

I remember bankruptcies and austere times when growing up, and also remember the ridges. Sure I preferred the nice house in the Woods with tennis court and swimming pool to the flat in the city. But was one better than the other? To me it wasn't actually, had my mum/dad/sister in both situations, had our nice sit down meals in both situations, had our walk in the woods in both situations (although a little longer to travel), still had my cuddles, help with home work and knowing that someone is there for me at any time. No I couldn't describe having things bought as a better childhood. In fact I very vividly remember the reverse at times when there was a toy car outside my bedroom door but my dad was already gone in the morning, I'd rather seen my dad even if it was for five minutes.

But I also try to be the best parent I can be when I'm with them and everything that entails.
And that is all you can do and the imo the most important thing :thumbsup:
 

IronGiant

Moderator
If you have to go away for a week on business, who is the better parent:

The one who comes home with armfuls of toys

Or the one who spends the money on bottle of Single Malt or a new camera for themselves?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
And I realise the best one is the one who spends time with the children when they get back, regardless of what they bought. :thumbsup:
 
I wouldn't class either a measure of better parenting. Armfuls of toys might make you popular for 5 minutes, but does it make you a better parent than if you didn't bring armfuls of toys back with you? I do not belief that that is the case.
 
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IronGiant

Moderator
See previous post :)
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I nearly put did or didn't buy, :).

If I had you'd probably have pipped me to the post, though, mobile app is slow.......

:D
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
dejongj said:
IMO No, to me showering with gifts is not an expression of love intact imo if it gets packaged up as love it gives out a really thwarted view of what it is.

I don't know what childhood you had, but do you really believe buying things will make it a better childhood?
:
It'll make it better than not buying things! I had a rough childhood to a degree as it was just me and my dad as he found himself a widower and single parent at 23 years of age. He did the best he could and he made some monumental mistakes and some fantastic achievements as a parent. I try to avoid the mistakes he made and build on his successes.
Getting mixed results myself and making my own mistakes. They don't come with instruction manuals..
 
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la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Is showering a child with gifts because the parents can't afford to spend as much quality time with then as they would like, better than not being able to show much love at all?
well something is better than nothing of course but to my mind its a bit of an indictment on society the fact that so many working people are work rich but time poor, so they cant spend enough time with their familes

LGS, what prompted you to make this thread and your first post?
well from a self interest point of view i would rather be surrounded by people who have been raised within a loving environment and as such are more likely to grow up to be better citizens.I used to work for this wealthy couple who lived in avery large house with 5 acres of garden, swimming pool the lot .Waht struck mne about them was the fact they had 4 grown up sons and daughters all of them married and with kids. The house served as a hub for them all and invariably each weekend and often weekdays some if not all would meet there.They were ,indeed, a very close family and the kids were all doted on, never spoilt, but they were in effect the most important members of the family.I remember listening to them chatter feeling envious not of their obvious wealth but the very closeness of that family.Money and the possessions they bought with it helped but it wasnt the be and end all.It was the kids all playing with each other and the parents aunts/uncles and grandparents taking full notice of them whilst communicating with each other. I found it quite moving really and to me it kind of symbolised what a truly functional family should be like

I buy my kids things because I don't get to spend as much time with them as I'd like because of work and because I want then to have nice things, and because I want them to have a better childhood than I had.

But I also try to be the best parent I can be when I'm with them and everything that entails
.
of course i dont doubt you do.Please, this isnt about trying to shame any parent but to perhaps reflect on the things a child truly appreciates.Maybe game of kickball with his dad a walk somewhere or joining in some kind activity. In short simple things that help to bond .It seems to me that too many parents tend to use a TV or computer as some kind of nanny to keep their kids quiet
 

kav

Distinguished Member
My wife asked my daughter to do a list of some things she might like for her birthday, from which one activity and one present would be selected. It was heartening to see that almost every activity she wanted to do involved spending time together as a family (and a relief to see that her requested gifts would not break the bank!).
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
My wife asked my daughter to do a list of some things she might like for her birthday, from which one activity and one present would be selected. It was heartening to see that almost every activity she wanted to do involved spending time together as a family (and a relief to see that her requested gifts would not break the bank!).
excellent, and it just shows kids desires are quite simple.:thumbsup:
 

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