This is the easy way to avoid raising your kids from being materialistic in the future.

Hey there! Do you want to own a Rolex watch? The latest iPhone (whatever it is now)? Or what about the latest bimbo dress everyone is buying right now on FashionNova?

If you’re answers to any of the questions is yes, then, not only are you optimistic, but also materialistic, as well. Forgive us if you think we’re being harsh on your taste and preferences towards life, but in a nutshell, that’s the hard truth. Kids nowadays — that’s to you teenagers — are becoming very materialistic with having stuff; but sometimes it can blossom into a lack of generosity, and a lifelong mental health issues. So how can parents make sure it doesn’t last?

Related media: Are We Too Materialistic?

 

The Gratitude Journaling Survey

In a 2018 study in The Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers tried to do-away-with at least one the efficient yet effective tool of dealing with materialism: gratitude. In their two-part study, the researchers found that teenagers with ”grateful disposition[s]” were less likely to be materialistic. They also found that teenagers who kept a daily gratitude journal for a couple of weeks minimized their chances of being materialistic, and made them develop the attitude of generosity.

In the first part of the study, the researchers surveyed 870 teenagers, ages 11 – 17, and presented them with 14 statements about material things and thankfulness. The teens had to rate the statements on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” The statements included, “When I grow up, the more money I have, the happier I’ll be,” and, “It’s easy to think of things to be thankful for.” Surprisingly, the results showed a robust negative correlation between materialism and gratitude.

In the second part of the study, the researchers took it a step further. They sampled 61 participants — again, all teenagers — and had them take the first survey all again. This phase, half of them kept a gratitude journal, where they wrote down who and what they were thankful for; as the control group, whereas the other half kept a daily journal with no particular theme.

After a couple of weeks, all participants took the gratitude-materialism survey again. Initially, the two groups of “journalists” had comparable scores, but after the journaling test, teenagers who kept a gratitude journal became more grateful and less materialistic.

 

To Give Or Not To Give

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Image: Aleteia / iStock / Getty Images Plus

This particular group — the group that kept journals — was more generous than the control group. By the end of the study, each teenager was given ten one-dollar bills. The researchers asked the teenagers that they could either keep all or donate any amount they wish to give out into a deposit box. The teenagers who kept gratitude journals donated 60 percent more than their peers.

Intuitively, it sounds obvious that gratitude journaling promotes … gratitude itself. The results of this study has really proven that indeed, a positive attitude toward being grateful is more effective than whatever disciplinary tactics most parents deploy as to raise their kids from being materialistic. It has establish a causal link between gratitude journaling and a decrease in materialism. So your mom can now shout at you for not being nice to that neighbor, rather than stopping you from buying that $500 sneakers. You just have to be a little bit generous.

 

Thanks Given Your Manners

Psychological experts are trying their best by all means to quash materialism. In the United States, its been on the rise for generations, and has been linked with many health issues — including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Academicians have even argued long enough that materialism is somehow (controversially) linked with marketing strategies, and that the only way to curb it is to more tightly regulate advertising. But that seems like quite a hard policy to implement, though.

Gratitude journaling is easy (and free!). It also has a huge influence on society’s most susceptible to materialism: teens. Materialism and insecurity often go hand in hand, and there’s no more insecure time than middle and high school. As a matter of fact, middle school is the age at which the stereotypical teenager kid is at their most materialistic. In other words, focusing on gratitude journaling could be the most efficient parenting solution in our materialistic world of today. And that’s not only meant for teenagers, adults could start gratitude journals, too!

 

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Mar 02, 2019.

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