Holiday Season in the Age of Marketing
While the Holiday Season is often a period of joy and giving, we at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics have been saddened by the degree of commercialism and by how early (and aggressively) it has started the last few years. We hope that this email will help provide you and your family with some perspective and serve as a counterbalance to living in the “age of marketing.”

Who Are Your Heroes?
The elementary school years have been called the “Age of Conscience.” Between five and twelve years of age, children are at a formative period of development, laying down the foundations of morality and self-esteem. It is also an age when your child is aggressively marketed to by businesses and the media.

The average child in this country may see as many as 40,000 television commercials each year, a significant portion of which will be viewed over the next four weeks (this number does not include radio, internet, and magazine advertisements). Such a media onslaught can make parents feel powerless and overwhelmed. However, all is not lost!!!!!

We routinely ask parents at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics “who are your heroes?” Many parents are unable to give an answer. For most of us, the word heroes conjures up images of Spiderman and Superman. True heroes, however, are people we respect. They may be famous or not.

Ask your children who their favorite singers, actors, or athletes are. Then ask if they know who your heroes are. Who is doing the better marketing job?

Who do you respect and why?
Take this holiday season to teach your children about your heroes. Buy them age-appropriate books or DVDs about a famous person you respect. Go to your local children’s librarian or bookstore (or an online bookstore) if you need help. Don’t forget that the visual is a very powerful marketing medium. Fight commercialism with your own brand of commercialism. 

As parents, we are not powerless, but we have our work cut out for us. Teach your children (of all ages) about your heroes and help them acquire life skills and self-esteem.

Have a very happy and healthy holiday season!

All of Us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates

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