Scheduled for publication in January (Palgrave Macmillan), Donna Bee-Gates’ I Want It Now: Navigating Childhood in a Materialistic World is ambitious in its scope, depth, and mission. Bee-Gates forcefully argues that too much consumerism is hazardous to children’s health. She documents the rise in materialism in our culture (and throughout the world) and the risks it poses, and she presents the rewards of letting go of our excessive focus on material goods and focusing instead on inspiring wonder in children. Bee-Gates shows how parents can regulate the extent to which consumption becomes a dominant focus. She demonstrates that children don’t have to equate possessions with self-worth, that they can learn to value belongings rather than depending on them. Using “the spending cure”—soothing discomfort with a little something new—is just one of the many ways we sell children short. Instead, children need to develop the capacity to tolerate some discomfort, and they need to be soothed by relationships and activities. Parents who take to heart the wise counsel of Donna Bee-Gates, buttressed as it is by the solid research findings she seamlessly interweaves with her own thinking, will change their own lives and the lives of their children.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.