We all want the best for our kids, and at Christmas - more than ever - it's tempting to go overboard on giving gifts to kids. Most mums and dads I know go a bit mad with the spending at Christmas, whether that's splashing out on expensive, one-off presents you couldn't normally afford, or panic-buying loads of little extras at the eleventh hour.
But according to new research from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois at Chicago, buying your child too many presents might not do them any favours. Indeed, waking up to everything you've asked for on Christmas morning could well be a recipe for misery in later life.
The Daily Mail reports:
Missouri researchers warn buying too many presents for children can turn them into materialistic adults and cause behavioural issues in later life.
'Our research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown - well into adulthood – and this could be problematic,' said Marsha Richins at MU, who led the study.
I can't be the only parent who felt pangs of guilt at reading that. I know I'm sometimes guilty of reaching for a packet of sweets or a pack of football stickers as treats and rewards for my kids, and I've seen first-hand that doing so only seems to fuel their urge to become consumers.
The researchers conclude that using material goods in three particular ways encourages materialism in later life, and leads children to believe in adulthood that success is "defined by the quality and number of material goods an individual owns or that acquiring certain products will make them more attractive", reports the paper.
What's more, adults who define success in those terms are "at a much higher risk for marital problems, gambling, financial debt and decreased well-being".
I don't know about you, but I'm calling a halt to my endless shopping for stocking fillers as of this minute, and I might even put a present or two away for birthdays later in the year...