Most Parents Overindulge Their Children

Published: 03rd August 2010
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While traveling for various speaking engagements, I frequently stay overnight in the home of a family and am assigned to one of the children's bedrooms. In it, I often find so many playthings that there's almost no room--for my small toilet kit. And the closet is usually so tightly packed with clothes that I can barely squeeze in my jacket. I'm not Thomas Sabo Charms complaining, only making a point. I think that the tendency to give children an overabundance of toys and clothes is quite common in American families, and I think that in far too many families not only do children come to take their parents' generosity for granted, but also the effects of this can actually be somewhat harmful to children.

Of course, I'm not only thinking of the material possessions children are given. Children can also be overindulged with too many privileges--for example, when parents send a child to an expensive summer camp that the parents can't really afford. Why?

One fairly common reason is that parents overindulge their children out of a sense of guilt. Parents who both hold full-time jobs may feel guilty about the amount of time they spend away from their children and may attempt to compensate by showering them with material possessions.

Overindulgence of a child also happens when parents are unable to stand up to their children's unreasonable demands. Such parents vacillate between saying no and giving in--but neither response seems satisfactory to them. If they refuse a request, they immediately feel a wave of remorse for having been so strict or ungenerous. If they Thomas Sabo Bracelets give in, they feel regret and resentment over having been a pushover. This kind of vacillation not only impairs the parents' ability to set limits, it also sours the parent-child relationship to some degree, robbing parents and their children of some of the happiness and mutual respect that should be present in healthy families.

But overindulging children with material things does little to lessen parental guilt (since parents never feel that they've given enough), nor does it make children feel more loved (for what children really crave is parents' time and attention). Instead, the effects of overindulgence can be harmful. Children may, to some degree, become greedy, self-centered, ungrateful and insensitive to the needs and feelings of others beginning with their parents.

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