Parenting a teenager has been a wonderful experience of learning. I am continually reminded of the things my son needs to learn, and lessons I wish I had learned earlier in life. One of the tips I am sharing with you is How to Teach Teens the Value of Minimalism. While our son has definitely grown up privileged in many ways, we still want to instill in him the value of not needing "things" for his happiness.
How to Teach Teens the Value of Minimalism
Minimalism is something that many have embraced more over the last few years. Finding value in possessions is less important now than it was when I was younger. I have grown to understand that true value in my life comes from my relationship with God, and from the love and connection I have with others. Rather than longing for more things, I look now toward more experiences and special times with those I love. I want my son to feel the same way, and so teaching him about that has become a priority as he moves into the teen years and gets closer to becoming an adult.
Continually show them their worth is not in their possessions
One of the hardest things about raising a teen is knowing that they are continually exposed to peers who value "things" over people. Even in the best schools, cities, and even families, there are bad apples who just focus on material things and status. I never wanted to prevent my son from appreciating the finer things in life, but I do want to show him a balance.
One of the things we practice often is to make sure we as his parents, and those around him when possible, are praising him for his intelligence, talents, accomplishments, and character. By honoring him for the person he is rather than the things he owns, he is seeing how one is more important than the other.
This doesn't mean we don't buy name brand clothing or encourage him to pursue passions or collect things of value. It simply means that when we praise or encourage our son, we do so not in reference to things, but in reference to his character.
Expose them to those who are less fortunate
As a parent, one of the most valuable things we can do for our children is to help them to understand that society has all kinds of people in all types of circumstances. Building a character trait of compassion from birth onward is one of, if not the most, important value we can install in our child. Compassion goes a long way toward many other things like dignity, integrity, determination, and work ethic.
Expose your children, and especially teens, to situations that will show them different environments that others live in. This doesn't mean you take them to the unsafe areas of town. Instead, it means getting out there and involving yourself in your community and church in ways to help others. It includes embracing others of all stations not just in other places, but bringing them into your life and befriending them. Show your children that everyone is worthy, no matter what they own or where they live.
Require them to pay for their wants
As your child gets older, they will likely have a few part time jobs or earn an allowance. The more this happens, the more it is time for them to learn some financial responsibility. One of the best ways to truly teach minimalism in regards to possessions is to hold your child accountable for how they care for their belongings as well as how they spend their money.
Wants are the first thing you want to require your child to pay for as they begin earning money. This will help them to not only become more responsible with their possessions, but also learn the value of a dollar. In turn, you can set restrictions on what they can spend. Require savings to be set aside. If you attend church, make their tithe or offering come from the top of their income just as you would. Then, give them a percentage of what is left as an allowable spending amount for things they want while you help manage the things that they need.
More Parenting Tips & Life Skills to Teach Children
- How to Do Laundry
- Basic Cooking Tutorials for Kids
- How to Balance a Checkbook
- What Teens Should Know Before Applying for a Job
- How to Handle Bad Influences in Your Teens Life
- The Dangers of Teenage Vaping
- How to Teach Compassion