One of the myths that seems to be accepted broadly
these days is that our kids want more things than they
want time with their parents--that they're more interested
in toys than affection, that they desire material goods
more than they desire the company of people who love
them. Nothing could be further from the truth,
though. Kids want the affection and the love that
their parents can give them, but sometimes they put up
walls and masks when those things are withheld as a
defense measure, and we mistakenly think those walls and
masks are the real thing.
A kid who doesn't get affection is almost always going to
develop coping strategies, and those usually entail
creating the illusion that they neither want nor need the
affection that they aren't getting. So a parent who
isn't spending a lot of time with a kid is going to get
the message that the kid doesn't want to spend time with
them anyway--which isn't an accurate message at all.
As adults, we need to be in tune with the needs of the
young. We're the ones with experience and education,
so we really should know better than to neglect young
people, be they our children or children who are part of
our lives somehow. Buying things for kids will get
us that momentary satisfaction, and allow us to see that
momentary glee that comes from getting something new, but
spending time with a kid will give us lasting
results--both for us and for them.
Most people will tell you that the adults that had the
strongest positive effects on them when they were kids
were the ones who made time for them, who listened to
them, and who encouraged them, not the ones who bought
them anything they wanted and then left them alone with
their new toys.