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From angels to spoiled brats – how to avoid the latter this holiday season

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 30-11-2011

The holiday season is in full swing, which means that families everywhere are gearing up for Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations. While this can be an exciting time of year to give and receive presents, sometimes holiday cheer can border on materialistic obsession. For young children, TV commercials, cartoons, the internet and video games can all overshadow the communal aspect of the season in favor of must-have toys and electronics – leading to greedy or ungrateful behavior.

As a dad, the holidays provide a unique opportunity to instill positive values of appreciating what you have and helping those in need. However, it can be difficult to communicate these ideals when children seem to be brainwashed by marketing messages. Here are some tips to help educate your children about the real meaning behind the holiday season.

TV, radio, print and internet advertisements abound with the latest high tech devices, games, toys and clothing during the holidays and children can have trouble distinguishing the marketing fantasy from reality. Make sure to discuss the messages these ads and commercials send with your kids and question the value and necessity of the products they're selling. Just because children realize they're watching a commercial doesn't mean they're picking up on the hidden messages contained within. The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends that dads explain to their children how advertisements convince people that they need products that they actually don't require. It may seem extreme, but by questioning a commercial's message with your children, you may be able to help them think more critically on their own.

Of course, all of this doesn't mean you can't shower your kids with gifts during this season and make them feel special. And if they deserve a few presents from Santa, so be it! Still, it may not hurt to also remind your little ones that there are people less fortunate than them living in the world who don't get Christmas presents at all.