Wish lists for birthdays and holidays may seem harmless, but new research shows that a child’s unhappiness can go hand-in-hand with a running tab of wants.
Kids who reported being dissatisfied are more likely to become materialistic than children who are happy with their lives, says a new study published in the September issue of Pediatrics. Commercials, researchers found, are at the root of the problem.
According to study’s lead author, Suzanna Opree, children in the US are exposed to around 40,000 TV ads in one year alone. Opree, explained to HealthDay that, "Advertising seems to teach children that possessions are a way to increase happiness.”
Research further suggests that materialistic children may become less happy later in life too. "Previous studies among adults indicate not only that people with lower life satisfaction become more materialistic, but also that more materialistic people become less satisfied with their lives," Opree said.
Taking control early on might prevent a cycle of dissatisfaction and materialism in adulthood. Researchers advise parents help kids focus on other sources of happiness, like love, friendship and play, while de-emphasizing the importance of possessions.
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