Question: My 10-year-old daughter has commented several times that her friend’s house is nicer than ours. This distresses me because I don’t want her to focus on materialistic things. How should I respond?


You have a great opportunity for teachable moments here. First, identify your daughter’s focus. Is the difference between your home and her friend’s as simple as "the grass is greener over the fence"? Unique and unfamiliar things are often attractive simply because of their freshness. Or is she artistically sensitive, and beginning to express her own ideas about colour and design? Consider ways to let her explore this within your family’s means and comfort.

However, if your daughter’s comments are expressive of discontent, envy and judgment, it’s important to invite her toward focusing on Biblical principles of thankfulness, generosity, contentment and patience. Children, like adults, struggle with sinful self-centredness, and it’s difficult to change simply because we know we should.

Creating opportunities to add practical lessons in contentedness is important. Consider involving your family as helpers at your local food bank, start a "mom and me" gratitude journal, talk about the differences between want and need, or do an inventory of "extra stuff" and donate it to bless others.

For more ideas on helping shape thankfulness, generosity and contentedness in children from ages 3 to 10, check out our free resource

© 2015 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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