All parents in the world want our children to be happy. The big issue is how to achieve it. Many times I spoke about the importance of our children becoming stronger to tolerate difficult situations and levels of stress higher as they grow, and the courage to achieve it. To accompany them to wait, to get frustrated, to strive to find what they want, and also in the inevitable pains and setbacks of their lives. This way they will have a strong self and resources with which they can be happy despite adverse circumstances and not because we remove the stones from their path. Because we are not always going to be with them.
Among the factors that undermine this unavoidable task of parents – and that can distract us from our objective – is the consumer society., who often types our decisions and actions like a puppeteer to his doll. If this happens to us, thinking adults with life experience, how can it not do the same with our children! who, due to lack of experience, easily buy colored stones believing they are diamonds.
Many times it is done subliminally, without us realizing that it is happening, so we cannot defend ourselves from that silent “brainwashing” that leads us to seek happiness by satisfying needs that are not needs but simply desires. To believe that doing and having are essential to achieve it, distracting us from our true being. The consumer society seduces us, invites us, pushes us to buy and spend what we have and also what we don’t have (with credit cards or taking long-term loans).
Its objective is not the happiness or well-being of ourselves or our children but rather to increase consumption. Its influence was growing slowly without us being aware, with enormous support from advertising, screens and networks, the best possible partners to achieve it, and we allowed ourselves to be convinced that only in this way can we be happy.
At every step they show us objects, trips, and all kinds of stimuli, and they insist until they catch us. It is not easy to maintain good judgment in the face of this bombardment of studied and planned stimuli that invade us.
Adolescents and children emerged as a new market in which parents spend a lot, more than on themselves, that is why they target them. And to attract them they use all available means, which today are very varied and attractive.
How important it is not to get carried away! Recover our critical thinking and our personal judgment and awaken it in the children. We are in the best position to achieve this because we are a beacon for them, they trust us and our way of thinking and acting, which is why they imitate us and also ask us questions.
Until adolescence we have time to accompany them to recognize the many ways in which society tries to convince us. And beyond adolescence we continue to influence our actions and attitudes, even though adolescents prefer to believe that they do not listen to us and that they are free in their thoughts and decisions. It is not only about opening their eyes but also about not letting ourselves be fooled by that same society.
Zygmunt Bauman says: “In affluent societies, the work of the teacher is frequently devalued because, in the richest countries, this investment in one’s own children, which is long-term, It would require active participation that parents, too busy and caught in the consumption trap, are not willing to do. And then they give gifts to their children to replace their presence, but they have to earn more money to buy them and that takes them more time and distances them from their children and creates a vicious circle from which it is very difficult to get out. unless we are very attentive and willing to do something different.”
Bauman continues: “Submission to consumer temptations is an act of voluntary servitude. And this is what, perhaps, makes the trap exceptionally difficult to resist, and even more difficult to disarm. After all, a life of consumption is lived as a supreme expression of autonomy, authenticity and self-affirmation. And these are the sine qua non attributes of a sovereign subject.”
Let us be careful not to enter into this “act of voluntary servitude”, Let us choose for ourselves and for our children a way to seek true happiness, which is not a race to earn more and more and give our children more and more, but spending less and less time with them. To strengthen themselves, they need our accompaniment and presence and not our presents (gifts) even though they, due to the influence of their environment, may believe otherwise.