Generation Z has many advantages over Generation Y individuals. The most obvious one is that they have comparatively richer and more generous parents. Therefore, children nowadays have everything – clothes, food, gadgets, toys, books – in abundance. If we look around, we feel happy that scarcity is not a problem anymore among skilled and educated middle-income people.
Nowadays, parents buy everything in abundance for their children and feel good about it. Parents think there is no need for their kids to struggle like them for the trivial pleasures of life, especially when they have enough money to spend. They have money so they can make their kids happy.
However, the bitter truth is that this is not the right attitude as it makes the children overwrought, jittery and indifferent. Consequently, children experience only momentary pangs of thrill and joy whenever they get something new. They are happy, as if intoxicated, for a few hours. Pangs of happiness pass quickly and then there they are with sad faces and sobbing eyes again – a déjà vu moment for parents!
Buying is a pleasure for Generation Z, but keeping and caring is cumbersome and boring. They are heading toward a culture of “use and throw” because they know that they will certainly get a replacement. The kids of this generation do not know how it feels to cherish and enjoy for years the pair of brand-name shoes or the wrist-watch given after months of convincing and persuading parents. They don’t know what maddening pleasure it is to get that one expensive dress or that one badminton racket after pleading earnestly for weeks to parents.
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Having overly benevolent parents should certainly be a benefit for children but the irony of today is that the magnanimity of nouveau-riche parents does not help their children to turn out to be happy and responsible individuals. They have ample things around them but they are sullen, discontented, indifferent and irresponsible.
First of all, stop buying things for kids just to pacify their trifling tantrums because most of the times these outbursts can be controlled with a few kind words. Ration the impulsive purchases and make heart-to-heart talks free and unlimited.
Second, stop equating happiness to buying things. Rather, find contentment in cherishing the things you and the kids already have. Show them their old belongings which have emotions attached to them, like their first soft toy or the dress they wore on their first birthday. Please do not sell them in garage sales.
Third, stop giving choices to kids all the time regarding food, toys and clothes. You can even celebrate a “No Option Day” once in a week.
Fourth, establish a “New Thing Celebration Ritual” in the family. One of my friends has this very interesting way to rejoice every new thing they buy by dancing for a while. Odd but useful!
The pivotal point is that we should make our kids realize that to lead a happy life, the virtue of having enough is better than adundance; because if excess of everything is bad, abundance of even a few things is awfully fatal. (wng)
Writer and educator Dr Sonia Vashishta Oberoi hails from India. She has a Ph. D. in African-American literature. Her interests vary from kids‘ literature to writing academic articles. Many of her articles and poems have been published in various newspapers, magazines and literary journals. Check out her blog at https://thinkotopia.wordpress.com. (https://thinkotopia.wordpress.com)