Cutting back on consumerism

Now that the holidays are over, we’re dealing with a major case of the “I wants” from our pre-schooler. He got so much for Christmas, and he’s already making his list for next year. And it’s a long one. Most of the stuff he wants, he doesn’t need or would even use.

But he still wants everything he sees — on TV, in the newspaper, in magazines, etc. He sees stuff and he wants it.  The ads target him, and he needs whatever they are shilling.

Those Pillow Pets were everywhere before Christmas, and if he saw one, then he would tell me just how much he needed and wanted one. This is from a child who does not do stuffed animals. He doesn’t need one, and it would just gather dust next to all of the other stuffed animals we’ve accumulated in our house.

How do you teach a child that he doesn’t need everything he wants?

Consumerism has come up in several different instances recently. In this month’s cover story in the National Geographic, the writer discusses how people in developing nations see the “American way of life” and want to emulate it, but the Earth can’t handle that many people producing that much waste.

We were talking about this with some friends, and we discussed how one of the biggest obstacles we face is the resistance to change. Even though we realize that our consumerism is bad for the planet, it’s comfortable and it’s easy. We are familiar with it. And it’s easy to justify — wouldn’t people lose their jobs if we stopped buying everything that we’re told we must have?

The easiest way to keep our son from wanting everything is to stop him from watching commercials. And for right now, we’re ignoring his constant dialogue of wants. Thankfully he is young enough that he forgets most of his demands shortly after he makes them.


One comment on “Cutting back on consumerism

  1. Jen
    January 13, 2011

    I avoid commercials, and I also have no problem telling my kids that we will not be buying something they ask for. They ask me and I just say, “no, you don’t need one.” or “maybe if you still want one on your next Xmas/birthday you can ask for one then.” I am not mean about it, but pretty firm and that’s that. They get over it pretty quickly.

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2011 by in At Home, Green, Light Green, Medium Green and tagged , , , .

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