Teaching your children contentment
The holidays are here, and for many parents, it’s all about managing their kids’ expectations. They think they need to give their kids the biggest presents, the most presents, and the coolest presents. But trust me: Little Sally won’t be scarred for life if she doesn’t get a pony.
It’s okay to want the best for your kids — we all do. But you should never put yourself in a financial bind to make their holiday dreams come true. That’s not what Christmas is about. While other parents are shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars to give their kids the “perfect” Christmas, you can teach your little ones about contentment.
Contentment isn’t a money issue, even though it has a huge impact on your child’s future. It’s a heart issue. Content people may not have the best of everything, but they make the best of everything. Without contentment, people often try to fill the void in their hearts by cramming it full of more and more stuff. As a parent, you’ve got to prepare your children to defend themselves against this threat.
There’s lots of research out there showing children are aware of what they have in comparison to what others have at a super young age. Marketers fight for their attention early on, and by default, they’re fighting for your money.
Make sure your kids know the newness of stuff isn’t what funds their happiness or their value. Their worth goes far beyond a robo-unicorn, name-brand clothes, or the iPhone 73 that everyone else has.
If you have teens, let them know if they pursue material things they’re going to be a hamster on a wheel for the rest of their lives. They’ll keep going around and around, always thinking the next thing is the one that will make them happy. But, of course, it won’t. They’ll just run in circles, wasting all their time and energy, and ultimately going nowhere. What God has in store for them is so much bigger than that!
One last reminder: contentment isn’t about age. It’s about maturity. I’ve met 8-year-olds who get this, and 48-year-olds who don’t. Your child can probably tell where your heart is regarding material wants and desires. So, be sure to give yourself a heart check and show your child what real happiness, joy, and contentment look like.
If you or your kids are struggling with contentment this season, I have a whole episode of The Rachel Cruze Show with advice on how to have more gratitude over the holidays. Remember, more is caught than taught. When your kids see you acting out of gratitude, it can have a huge impact on how they view things, too!
• As a #1 New York Times bestselling author and host of The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three bestselling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze
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