Make memories instead of buying more stuff

One of my friends recently had a dilemma about what to buy her son for his birthday.  As she was rattling off the list of possibilities, I was unable to concentrate on what she was saying because I was wondering why she was considering spending so much money on this “stuff” for a little person.

This of course is just one of my parenting theories but I don’t think it is necessary to spend a boatload of money on designer fashions and expensive gadgets for kids.  Kids have no sense of material value until their parents instill it in them.  They don’t know the difference between a $1.00 magnifying glass from Dollar Tree and a $200.00 science set.   Most of the kids that I know would rather have experiences that build memories with their parents than all of the “stuff”.  They would rather have a 1,000 hugs than a $1,000.00 because they have no concept of money. 

I don’t feel sorry for parents of teenagers when their kids are demanding the best of everything because somewhere along the way, the parents put it in their head that this stuff was valuable.  My son is still a toddler and has not been influenced by peer pressure at school yet so I am not sure if this theory will hold up as he gets older but I don’t see myself changing my strategy.  I want him to value participating in activities that will create memories between his family and friends over having a bunch of “stuff”.

I do believe that we should try to give our children the best that life has to offer but I think a large part of the problem with Generation Y is that they have had it too good.  I constantly hear employer’s complain that this generation has little to no work ethic and they think for every action there should be a reward.  This thought process is a direct result of their parents giving them “stuff” as a reward for each good deed.  It is not good for the children because as they grow into adults, they will  not be rewarded for every good deed or accomplishment.  In fact, sometimes doing the right thing might result in a negative consequence and other times their goodness may go unnoticed which could lead to frustration and a loss of interest in the project/job.  By encouraging children to value the experience over the reward or the stuff, they may develop a healthier work ethic and outlook on life.


4 thoughts on “Make memories instead of buying more stuff

  1. I totally agree. I think that’s what’s contributed to my resilience. My parents provided me with my needs, but they insisted that I earn the things I want on my own,which is why I started working at 13. My good grades was REQUIRED to live in my home:) I wasn’t rewarded for good grades with money. I also learned how to be frugal when necessary and budget conscience during rough times. We need to start teaching children now the real value of a dollar and teaching them what to do with the minimal. Times are hard now and while they will definitely get better…life is cyclical, so the hard times will return again. If we can enlighten them on the meaningful things, they’ll happily survive when they do.


    • You are so right! I see so many “kids” that don’t understand the value of a dollar and work ethic which is because they are being spoiled. This spoiling is often out of good intentions but it is not producing a good result.


  2. That’s right. My kids know good grades are expected and they may get an extra pat on the back but no rewards because I tell them the ultimate reward will be them being able to go to college. Yeah they get nice gifts but they know that they aren’t entitled to them and they know they have no rights to demand anything. And even thought my kids are older they still appreciate the little things I do for them that cost no money like if it’s their birthday I make pancake numbers or I color them for the holidays. Those are the things that they will remember.



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