The author looks at the increasing demands of children and the youth on lavish and superficial needs, and discusses ways to combat this.
Today’s children want it all. They compete with one another and want the latest gadgets, and parents feel obliged to provide this so they are not left behind. Living in an environment where bigger is always better can be damaging to the new generation as they may tend to place more value on superficial or monetary things rather than our innate human values.
I remember watching something a long time ago about managing our finances and its message was that as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children the value of money and the following advice was provided. It was mentioned that we should teach children early on how to manage their money – whatever little pocket money that may be. In order to do so, we should advise them to split their pocket money to three parts: one for their own spending, one for future savings, and one to be donated or spent towards others. This really resonated with me and has stuck with me ever since. I felt this was a great way to responsibly enjoy our money without being reckless or frivolous and at the same be charitable as well.
If a 10 years old demands an iPhone, what will they want when they reach adolescence or are older? As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are not raised with a sense of entitlement, and instead, appreciate the value of a hard earned dirham. In my opinion, even if parents are financially secure, they should not allow their children to be blindsided by it and assume that money comes easily. We all need to work for our money and recognize its value, and the sooner children realize this, the deeper this message will be embedded.
This could also be a result of the changing times where working hours tend to be longer, and many households have two working parents, with less time available to spend with their children. Some parents could be compensating for this by splurging on expensive things as means to ensure that their children feel loved.
The occasional spoiling of our children will always be there; after all, that comes with the territory of being loving parents, but there should also be boundaries set to ensure a mature and responsible upbringing. We may be privileged to live in a country where we are given priority and support by our government, whether it comes to free medical, interest-free loans, or marriage funds (to name a few), but this should not hinder us from appreciating what we have been given and wanting to give back to society as well.
It is our civic duty to ensure that we teach our children the right morals so that the current and coming new generations do not grow up to be arrogant and self-entitled. It is important that children also learn to be grateful for what they have and not always be on the lookout for the next big thing. This will allow them to grow up understanding that abundance isn’t only attributed to superficial things but also on having an open heart, generosity, and gratitude for the little things in life. A small act of kindness can go a long way and this should not be replaced with things that only money can buy.
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.