I see a lot of greedy stuff-obsessed kids this time of year. Well, to be fair, I see greedy consumer-driven adults too. But the kids make me more depressed. In any case, this always makes me think that maybe people like and want consumer driven kids around. If you’re thinking, “Yeah I sure do” then here are some tips to get you started.
1. Make the holidays all about buying stuff
Forget family time and fun activities. The holidays should be ALL about stuff. The more stuff the better. Also, make sure they know that it’s not just more stuff, but the cost of stuff that counts. Cheap gifts are super lame. Encourage your kids to make long expensive wish lists early and then be sure to get everything on the list. Allow your child to make fun of people who get your child something not included on the list (i.e. a dumb present). I shudder to think what your kid should do if someone gives them a homemade gift.
2. Spend more time making money
If you can’t afford to buy your kid all the stuff on his holiday or life wish lists, duh, work more hours so you can. Kids don’t need time with parents. They do, however, need a bigger TV and the latest iPhone products.
3. Upgrade incessantly
It’s really dumb for your kid to own last year’s cell phone. If a newer, better version comes out, upgrade immediately, even if the older product still works, so your kid will be in the loop.
4. Don’t encourage common niceness
Niceness is fairly overrated. Saying “thank you” or “please” is so unnecessary – your kid deserves gifts just because.
5. Encourage life goals based on money making
Kids should go to college and learn new things so they can make lots and lots of money. Encourage them to get through school with decent grades in order to do so. Don’t encourage kids to forge a happy path in life if it pays less – that would be really dumb.
6. Money matters are for adults only
Treat money like porn and alcohol – i.e. not for kids. Kids are too stupid to understand budgets, checkbooks and bills. If you discuss these issues with kids, you’ll probably just confuse them. Allow them to keep thinking money really does grow on trees.
7. Celebrate stuff
Celebrate holiday events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These events build important skills in children like fighting off other consumers for stuff, standing in lines vs. hanging with family members and impulse purchasing.
8. Always reward with stuff
If your kid helps out around the house give them stuff. If they get good grades – give them stuff! If they do something nice, make sure they know that it should be rewarded with more stuff. If your kids whines and begs, this is the best time to give them stuff, because it helps to teach them how to manipulate even more stuff.
9. Be very brand-conscious
If you don’t teach kids early on to love brand names they might grow up and shop at thrift stores, or worse, garage sales (egad). Is this really what you want for your child? If your child runs into advertising, don’t discuss it with them, other than to agree with said advertising. Remember how kids are too dumb to understand money matters (see 6 above), well, kids are also way too stupid to understand that not all commercials are honest. Just let them believe – that’s the magic of childhood!
10. Encourage a disposable lifestyle
Drive home the fact that more stuff is a god-given right. If your child breaks something, replace it right away with your own money – they’re just kids, they should know that stuff is 100% replaceable. Product care and maintenance is only for older, wiser people. Teach them that fast and disposable is the way to go. For example – teach your kids that reusable water bottles are for wimps and damn hippies, fast food is king (easy and commercial driven) and be sure to hide landfill information from them – it’s not like you want to scare them. A good motto is to teach your kids that there’s always more stuff, and when it’s used up, it simply goes away magically!
BONUS POINTS if you can be super consumer-driven yourself
Most importantly - parents can make a big impact. If you get new stuff all the time to be like your friends and neighbors, your kids will catch on. Money and stuff should matter more than just about anything in your house – if not, you need to shape up!