Do your children "earn" the things they get?
Some parents "reward" children who aren't actually doing anything to earn a reward. Dr. Robin says chores are a good way to instill a reward system, even in a 5-year-old. "He could pick up his toys in his room; he could pick up his clothing; he could help his mother take the trash out," she says. "Not because you need [the help], but because it's cultivating being competent and thoughtful."
Does your child value "things" more than people?
Unchecked, a craving for possessions will become insatiable, Dr. Robin says. When this happens, it can stifle real emotional development. "I'm not really interested in whether or not I'm building great, healthy relationships," Dr. Robin says. "I'm interested in how many more gadgets I get."
Are you trying to soothe your child with things?
While new clothes and toys might make your child happy temporarily, that happiness will not last. "I don't want them to be just happy now. I want them to become whole individuals," Dr. Robin says.