Over-indulgence: Too Much of a Good Thing

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.  
-Peanuts character, Lucy

Lucy is correct when she says it is okay to overindulge once in a while. For instance, during the holidays we may tend to “overdo” with our children. But a steady diet of this excess can create a sense of entitlement and affect their ability to learn many of the important life skills they need to thrive as adults. What’s the difference between overindulgence and healthy, nurturing parenting?  

Overindulgence may include:   
  •  inundating children with material things or experiences
  • doing things for your children that they could do for themselves.
  • not holding your children accountable for their behavior.
Healthy parenting behavior includes:   
  • encouraging your children to be actively engaged in productive activities
  • not over-protecting by rescuing them from their responsibilities or by making excuses for them.
  • spending time with your children more than spending money on them.
  • actively listening to their wants.
  • teaching them to distinguish between wants and needs.
  • holding your children accountable for their behavior.
  • helping your child to become an educated and critical consumer

Healthy doses of structure, limits, and expectations lead to self-reliance, high self-esteem, and a healthy relationship between parents and children (and a little chocolate every once in a while doesn’t hurt either). 

by Claire Gawinowicz
Certified Parenting Educator
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