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Low Self-Esteem Children Become Materialistic

low self-esteem children adolescents materialism; study, Richard Wiseman 59 Seconds, Lan Nguyen Chaplin, Deborah Roedder, Youth Materialism Scale , “Impression Management” scale , insecurity, low self-worth, and self-loathing

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to reveal low self-esteem children become materialistic.

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Materialism has roots in childhood

Do people accuse you of being materialistic?

What causes you to be materialistic?

You might be surprised to learn that it stems from childhood and low self-esteem!

But what causes children to become materialistic?

Is it marketing, social media, peers, poor parenting, or something else?

While all of the above contribute to materialism in children, research reveals there is a direct causal relation between low self-esteem in children and materialism. And when self-esteem is raised in children, they become less materialistic!

Low self-esteem children = highly materialistic children

Researchers found that materialism increases from middle childhood (8 – 9)  to early adolescence (12 – 13) and declines from early to late adolescence (16 – 18.) However, self-esteem runs counter to materialism, and changes in self-esteem occurring from middle childhood through adolescence affect materialism.

The higher the self-esteem, the less materialistic the child will be.

The lower the self-esteem, the more materialistic the child will be.

Materialism becomes the coping mechanism for insecurity, low self-worth, and self-loathing in low self-esteem children.

“By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth.”

Lan Nguyen Chaplin (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Deborah Roedder John (University of Minnesota)

Low self-esteem children struggle to manage impressions by others

Researchers Lan Nguyen Chaplin (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Deborah Roedder John (University of Minnesota) assessed the self-esteem of children with questions such as, “I feel good about myself”, “I am happy with the way I look”, and “I’m just as good as anyone else.”

They also assessed the children with:

Youth Materialism Scale  – statements such as “I would love to buy things that cost lots of money”, “When you grow up, the more money you have, the happier you’ll be.”

Selfishness scale such as, “My happiness depends on the happiness of those around me”, “I try to do what is best for me, regardless of how that might affect others.”

“Impression Management” scale – behaviors that children use to manage what others think of them such as, “In order to get along and be liked, I am what people expect me to be”, “I can change my behavior depending on who is around.”

As part of the study, researchers gave some of the children paper plates on which their peers had written positive comments about them such as, “cute, friendly, smart, fun, funny, helpful, shares, cool, fast, nice, pretty.”

The result: When the 12- and 13-year-olds read the simple descriptions of themselves by their peers, it drastically reduced the high levels of materialism, and it eliminated the differences in materialism among different age groups assessed by the researchers prior to the paper plate exercise.

“Inducing high self-esteem reduces materialism among adolescents so dramatically that age differences in materialism disappear…As parents, if we understand that [low self-esteem leads to materialism], it helps us cope with the frustrating experience of having a 12-, 13- or 14-year-old who is always asking us to buy them expensive clothes, and expensive computer equipment.”

How Can You Determine If Your Children Are Low Self-Esteem Children?

Here is a simple assessment you can give to your children – or use it yourself to determine levels of self-esteem.

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

Please read each statement. Then circle the letter indicating how much you agree or disagree with the statement.

 Strongly agreeAgreeDisagreeStrongly disagree
I feel that I am a person of worth. I am as good as anybody elseABCD
I feel that there are a lot of good things about meABCD
I feel that I fail a lotABCD
I can do things as well as most other peopleABCD
I do not have much to be proud ofABCD
I wish I had more respect for myselfABCD
I feel useless at timesABCD
Sometimes I think I am no good at allABCD
I like myselfABCD
I am happy with myselfABCD

Scores are calculated as follows:

For items 1, 2, 4, 9, and 10:

Strongly agree = 3                  Agree = 2                    Disagree = 1               Strongly disagree = 0 

For items 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (which are reversed in valence):

Strongly agree = 0                  Agree = 1                    Disagree = 2               Strongly disagree = 3

The scale ranges from 0-30. Scores between 15 and 25 are within normal range; scores below 15 suggest low self-esteem

Self-esteem is basically how much you like yourself. Self-esteem consists of significance, competency, adequacy, and being loved. The more that you feel significant, competent, adequate and loved, the higher your self-esteem will be. And, of course, that applies to children as well.

What can you do today to raise the low self-esteem of children in your life?

If you suffer from low self-esteem or feeling unworthy or if you have experienced abuse or trauma, you can resolve it rapidly and easily, and be set free of the pain with my SRTT process. Book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D. Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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