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To ask how to discourage my daughter's rampant materialism?

(51 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Dec-12 18:22:04

Especially now it's near Christmas. I do enjoy buying her the occasional treat from the pound shop or some sweets but at the moment every time we go out she wants me to buy her something. She's alwsys asking if I have bought her a present and it is so wearing. Of course I normally say no but sometimes I cave in. We found a good toy in the charity shop for £3.00 for example and I bought her that. Now it's Christmas her list is longer than my arm and there is no way she is getting everything on the list but if she sees something she likes she wants to write it down.
Another thing is that whenever we go shopping in the nearest big town with my dad he buys her something from the Disney shop. She now expects it. She kicks off if we don't go to the Disney shop. I told him today that we have to stop doing it. It is only a small something but still it is tat that she dosn't need. I just want her to apprechiate presents rather than expecting them.

RedHelenB Sun 02-Dec-12 18:23:31

I think it is the age we live in, she certainly isn't the first or the last!

HairyGrotter Sun 02-Dec-12 18:23:39

How old is your DD?

ImperialSantaKnickers Sun 02-Dec-12 18:26:27

How did your dad react to being asked to stop buying stuff from the Disney shop? Do you think he understands why you want to knock this potential for 'spoilt little madam' syndrome on the head early?

Gingerodgers Sun 02-Dec-12 18:31:00

How old? My kids don't get pocket money, but at school holiday time etc, i will give them around 50 quid. When they want something, I say ok, where's your money? Suddenly, they don't want it as much! I tell them that if they don't want to spend their own money on it, they can't want it that much, so they do nt get it. It kinda works......

GhostShip Sun 02-Dec-12 18:31:13

Christ she sounds like a spoilt brat - not your fault, it seems she's just got this entitled attitude.

Its weird because my mum always bought me little presents, but I never expected them. Each time I was always surprised.

If she 'kicks off' there should be serious repercussions, this needs to be stopped now.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Dec-12 18:33:15

She's 4.

BitchyHen Sun 02-Dec-12 18:34:12

For a start I think it is worth telling her that Father Christmas doesn't bring all the presents, but some are bought by parents. I did this while my DC were small. That way you can tell her that her list is to give you ideas for what to buy and she will get some, but not all of the presents on her list.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Dec-12 18:35:02

She called me mean that I didn't buy her something yesterday when I had already got her the charity shop present. I put her on the naughty step. Next time it will be bed.

pingu2209 Sun 02-Dec-12 18:38:00

It is simple. Say no to her requests throughout the year. Stop buying her things every time you or your husband go shopping. Just say no, so when you say yes it is a lovely treat.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Sun 02-Dec-12 18:38:48

i think christmas lists aren't particularly helpful either... it does rather give the impression that it's a free-for-all. i've never done them with mine, but that might be more to do with my general slackness.

we always do a pre-christmas clear-out for other boys and girls who might appreciate a shot of the dds' toys as well, in fact anything they don't look after pretty much wings its way to the charity shop.

CaliforniaSucksSnowballs Sun 02-Dec-12 18:40:24

She's only 4 still time to improve her behavior she's hardly a lost cause grin
I's sit her down and talk about children who have less than her or nothing, I did this with Dd, and told her it's time to clean out the toy box and toy shelves to donate to the charity shops toys that are in good nick that she no longer played with, had outgrown, or just didn't want. We put together a couple of huge boxes and it put a big dent in the collection. We've made this something we try and do a couple of times a year. I also got her to pick out a new toy at the shop for the local toy drive, and talked about how the toys will be given out to families who are having a hard time buying food let alone Christmas toys. Now she's 7 she has become much more generous. When she does start with wanting at the shops, I remind her to put it on her Christmas list. She is aloud to put absolutely anything on it, and knows that Santa doesn't bring her everything she wants, just some toys she would like if she's lucky and some that he thinks she might like.

BalthierBunansa Sun 02-Dec-12 18:40:49

I agree with pingu. My Mother hardly got me any gifts besides birthday/christmas. I remember once she brought a packet of my favourite sweets for me when I was young and a colouring book and I was absolutely thrilled!

HildaOgden Sun 02-Dec-12 18:42:04

Start her 'earning' her spending money now by filling in Star Charts for simple chores.She's old enough to help around the house (even if she have to re-do it afterwards!!),it will teach her that things cost money,and money needs to be earned.

HairyGrotter Sun 02-Dec-12 18:43:21

My DD is 4, there is no way on earth I'd tolerate that behaviour or attitude.

Reign in the gift giving, from all parties. Also, Christmas list? at 4?! No chance

Pochemuchka Sun 02-Dec-12 18:51:17

No ideas as such but I sympathise.
My DD is nearly 4 and her dad's side of the family are very materialistic and always go over the top.

For example, her Granny doesn't really have a relationship with DD because she doesn't make an effort (even when she's here) so what she does is ring up lots before she's due to see her and go on and on about the presents she's bought DD.

It got to the point where DD was constantly asking to go and get presents at Granny's. hmm. Like you said it was mostly useless plastic tat that I'd end up sweeping into the bin broken etc in a couple of weeks/months.

I've banned the talking about presents now and talk about seeing granny instead and have said only one small thing/chocolate as she used to feed her twice the adult daily allowance of chocolate plus cakes and no 'proper' food every visit too (her son is obese, surprise, surprise) and we'd get the same whinging about chocolate for days afterwards.

I've banned watching channels with adverts in the morning (only cbeebies allowed) and made DD participate in a toy cull before Christmas this year explaining that some children have nothing.

I also try not to use 'taking things away' as a discipline as I think that just reinforces the 'importance' of things.

Aside from all that, I do remember writing down very long Christmas lists I clouding the Argos catalogue page/number every year but never got those things and looking back at my school diary, aged about 7 my favourite present was a 'Make mosaics' book! I'm not materialistic in the slightest now. smile

SushiPaws Sun 02-Dec-12 18:51:43

I'm shock at saying spoilt brat.

Seriously if you are comparing a 4 yo's behaviour with your own memories of gifts, then you need to ask your mother.

We were poor growing up and I remember always being grateful for the few presents we got. But when my dd (4yo at the time) had a melt down in the supermarket because she wanted a £20 barbie, my mother told me I was the same.

My dd is now almost 6 and is beginning to understand she doesn't need everything. She understands she gets treats from grandparents but if she acts like a spoilt or ungrateful brat she'll get nothing.

You just need to put your principles in place and stick to them, it gets easier and they do learn if you keep telling them. I'm just entering this massive consumer phase with ds but he seems to be much more accepting of it. I guess you have a strong willed daughter like mine.

MissPB Sun 02-Dec-12 18:53:41

It is hard - but she is only four so can easily learn new habits and realise she can't have everything she wants. One other thing to think about is perhaps showing her to find pleasure in the things money can't buy. Show her the full moon, a sky full of stars, talk about a blue sky, sunny day or whatever else is free. Something/anything she can get small pleasures from without having bought them - does that make sense confused

FreudianLisp Sun 02-Dec-12 18:56:18

Also think about what messages she's getting from you. (Nothing personal, because obviously she doesn't know you.) But if she sees you getting pleasure from 'things' and from shopping, rather than from people/kindness/nature/experiences/music/colour etc, then she'll learn that it's 'things' that matter.

TheCrackFox Sun 02-Dec-12 18:57:07

Weekly pocket money will be your friend.

The first month will be hell as she is do used to getting bits and bobs all the time, but she will soon get used to having her own money and saving up for what she wants. The one big thing, for pocket money to really work, is for mummy and daddy to clamp down on all the constant gift giving but other significant adults like grandma etc can carry on regardless.

Iggly Sun 02-Dec-12 18:57:24

My 3 year old can be like this. We've been working on it.

A really helpful thing is taking him to a toy shop just to look. First time he was not impressed but now he can look around and (reluctantly but not screaming etc) leave empty handed.

I also tell him father Christmas only brings one present for him.

It was my fault he was do entitled as we had a new baby so in my sleep deprived haze, I'd buy stuff for a moments peace. I will admit he's not perfect and still asks for a "surprise" occasionally but we're getting there.

altinkum Sun 02-Dec-12 18:58:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brawhen Sun 02-Dec-12 18:59:29

I think it's probably a phase they get to. My 5yo DS got noticeably materialistic & grabby at the start of this summer. It's really wearing, but just keep saying no most of the time. We started him on £1 week pocket money so that he'd have some autonomy to decide if he really wanted something he could get it / save for it. Would your DD be old enough to try that??

I also get a bit exasperated with my DM who is ALWAYS bringing presents for the dCs. Almost always just charity shop bits & pieces, but they now have strong sense of expectation / entitlement to get new 'stuff' every time they see her.

ImperialBlether Sun 02-Dec-12 19:00:43

You need to warn her before going out that she's not getting a present. If she kicks off, don't go out - go and do something that she will find boring and let her cool her heels.

Talk to her about children in our country and other countries who don't have as much as she does - most supermarkets collect gifts for disadvantaged children - make her put something in there.

Encourage her to take some of her own things to charity shops.

Teach her the value of money and allow her a set amount per week or month that she can spend. Get your dad involved in this, too.

OnwardBound Sun 02-Dec-12 19:11:58

My DS, 3.5 yrs, is also like this.

But he knows he only can have a toy occasionally, and then it's usually a 50p battered up matchbox car from the charity shop which he's thrilled by!

But I think it's natural that children at this age want everything and want it as soon as they see it. They are by nature impulsive and oblivious to the concept of cost [hence equal delight at charity shop bargain and expensive Hamley's toy].

It is up to us as parents to manage expectations and introduce the concept of 'treats' vs 'everyday essentials'. Easier said than done though I know.

My Ds also has a Christmas list [in his head] which includes a bicycle, a toy car, a fire engine, anything 'Fireman Sam'...

But I have told him that Father Christmas has only limited space in his sleigh and hence DS has to narrow down his present options. Or it makes too much work for the reindeer as the sleigh gets too heavy...

So far he has seemed to accept this explanation grin

Long may it last!

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