We all want our kids to be happy. Parents often think that by giving their child stuff or having an abundance of freedom, they are making them happy. Unfortunately this is very short lived stimuli. What we need to be doing is teaching them to be capable and to feel good about themselves for who and what they are, not what they have.
So how do we do this? Well let’s identify what overindulging means. In the old days, we called this being spoiled. Of course this is purely my opinion (and I can’t even speak for Alan). I’ll provide you what I think is overindulging. I’m certainly not saying I’m innocent or have never done any of these things:
- Unlimited screen time (hours and hours of games or television)
- Doing your kids responsibilities for them (cleaning, dishes, trash, etc.)
- Buying a 16 year old a brand new expensive car
- Buying too many toys
- Having rules but not enforcing them
- Allowing young children to dress much older
- Routinely giving money to children or teens so they can spend it/have fun
- Routinely buying expensive and trendy clothes for them
- Allowing younger children to watch mature content (language, violence, nudity)
- Carrying your 4 year old, tying a 6 year old’s shoes, or carrying their backpack if they are in school
- Children eating excess junk food or candy
So what happens if you overindulge your child? What are the consequences?
- It can make the children ungrateful
- They are less able to delay gratification – they need it now!
- Leads to materialism – putting tremendous value on thing
- If its junk food/candy – can lead to unhealthy eating habits, obesity
- Spoiled brat / attitude problems
So how do we avoid overindulging our kids?
- Create rules and expect your child will follow them. Enforce the rules
- Make sure your child is a contributing member of the family. They should have age appropriate responsibilities and be held accountable
- Be ok with saying no – See episode 66 on tips on how to say no
- Provide them guidance, love, and support rather than material things
- If they want something, have them set a goal and create a means to achieve it.
- Teach them the difference between needing something and wanting something.