After reading this article this morning UK Children stuck in "Materialistic Trap" and also watching it on the news last night before bed, I thought I would write my views. In particular I like the line "The results were startling. Children in all three countries told researchers that their happiness is dependent on having time with family and friends and having "plenty to do outdoors". Really? This is startling? That children want to see their parents/family more and play outside? Surely this can't be that surprising? Haven't children always wanted this, I certainly don't think its a new development. Whilst its lovely that in places like Spain, extended family share childcare what if that's not always a possibility? My own parents work full-time and so do my in-laws and my children have rarely been cared for by anyone other than myself or my husband. Not that I'd actually want it any other way, I actually enjoy spending time with my children, but it wouldn't have been possible anyway. After reading this I'm even more certain that our decision to home educate was absolutely the right choice. We do go outdoors lots and see lots of friends and family. I think the "materialistic trap" it speaks about is much more rife at school and always has been, I notice it more during the holidays when my children see their old friends from school and it makes me quite sad. I had a conversation recently with my 9 year old daughter about how long your actually a child for and how long your an adult. When I put it to her like that she really thought about it differently. I think/actually I KNOW if my children were at school, they wouldn't be rushing home to play Playmobil, Lego and Barbie's.
What is to blame then-spending cuts from a new government? parents feeling guilty and buying more? society? Maybe all of them are. I think its not just children that are sucked in, I think we all are a bit. I know I have spent a large portion of my life being like that because I really didn't know any better, sometimes I still don't. Sometimes I forget the bigger picture of what I/we are providing for our children by allowing them the freedom to play, learn at their own pace and be themselves, sometimes I get caught up in what we can't have because there is only one of us with a wage. Because its everywhere! Especially on the street where I live anyway, its very much 'keeping-up-with-the-Jones'. We are the only people on our street who home educate, (quite possibly in the whole village,) the only people who have an old car, the only one's who rent rather than own our home. And because of that I feel we do get treated differently/sometimes ignored. However, they don't know us, they don't know how happy our children are and what a lovely family we have, so I figure its their loss not mine
This article makes me feel sad but to be perfectly honest I don't think its anything that I didn't know before it was published. It would be great if all the years UNICEF spent on this report something positive were to come out of it but I have a feeling things will just continue to go along the same way. Just for today though I will feel as if I'm doing my bit so that my children won't be one of the children giving out "startling" information to UNICEF in their next report.