Newsletter: Parent logic: Over Indulgence
Watch your children grow and they will teach you what you have taught them
Parents are very busy these days, working full time jobs and sometimes even two jobs or going to college just to make ends meet. All too often they feel pressured and overwhelmed and end up parenting from moment to moment. The feeling of helplessness in managing their children’s needs and wants cause them to take the easiest way out of a conflict situation. It is easier to give in rather than taking the time to enforce limits and boundaries with their children. Giving in temporarily avoids the guilt of not having enough time with their children but this can lead to over indulgence. Parents often give to their children to define their love for them, to make up for lost time, or mend a conflict or just out of frustration. The children will then expect from them in order to feel loved. It is a vicious cycle of giving in too easily, buying too frequently and over indulging.
Parenting can be very exasperating. You want to be a good parent and then you realize what you thought was an act of showing your love is actually causing the reverse effect in your children. Being indulgent and giving in to your children’s wants will backfire. If you are too lenient, inconsistent and/or over indulgent your child learns to take advantage of you. Their behavior becomes uncontrollable. They will display temper tantrums and fits of anger if you say no and don’t stop until you give in and say yes. What they learn is you can be manipulated. They feel unsafe, confused and even frightened because they learn they can’t depend on or trust you. Children need to feel secure by knowing you are the adult. They want you to provide boundaries and limits and when you don’t their world is shaken, leaving them just as frustrated and confused as you. The cycle of not being able to say no, or saying no without consistent purpose, perpetuates their behavior in a never-ending cycle of defiance. Contrary to their behavior they actually are looking for you to give them appropriate boundaries and limits. They want you to say “no”, appropriately to their age and development. This will make them feel safe and able to depend and trust you. Teaching your child the logical limits and boundaries of life is part of a good parenting plan. (See past newsletters on developing a parenting plan)
One of the most frequent problems I have observed in parents who over indulge their children is they over indulge themselves. When a parent cannot say no to themselves they are likely not to say no to their children. A parent that cannot make boundaries and limits, who act impulsively and indulgent with themselves are likely to do the same with their children. Indulging your child and yourself is easy. Making clear, consistent, and logical boundaries and limits is much more difficult. You will not always get the reward of a happy smile or cuddle hug but in the end you will be raising a child with self discipline and the tools to be empathetic, self motivated, the skill to delay gratification and to accept the consequences of their decisions. They will also learn appreciation and gratitude.
Preparing your child for adulthood is the number one role of a parent. Allowing them to experience natural consequences to their choices may be unpleasant and painful but the rewards of seeing how this strengthens their character will be enormous. By over indulging our children we are setting them up for low self esteem, lack of confidence, inability to cope with stress and inability to set realistic limitations in their life. Children of over indulgent parents as well as overly strict parents have a higher incidence of defiance, anger problems, depression, low self esteem, low confidence and lack of self- control, leading to risky behaviors involving drugs, alcohol, stealing and lying.
If you find you are an over indulgent parent it is not to late to change. Depending on the age and develop of your child you can begin to make small changes. One of the best ways is to parent with a purpose. Knowing what you want to teach your child, setting clear rules and then following up with being consistent. For example, if you don’t want them to go outside before they have completed their homework or cleaned their room then this is the rule. Say it, mean it and stick to it. They will soon learn to clean their room/do their homework before asking to go outside. If you want to teach them responsibility and the value of earning privileges then set up situations so they will learn responsibility. One example is setting up chores and then providing them with an allowance. This will give them a sense of self worth and esteem, a measurement of their accomplishment and the ability to manage their money and plan ahead for things they would like to buy. When gift giving situations arise, they will understand what it means to work for something and they will be appreciative for what you do buy them. They will understand when you say no and will find ways to earn money to buy the item they desire. As you can see, over indulging or any extreme parenting stops your children from learning life skills that are needed to be successful adults.
You are your children’s greatest influence. Their behaviors and responses are directly related to what you have or haven’t taught them. Let them be your greatest motivation to parenting with purpose. There are many more ways to parent successfully and it isn’t as difficult as you think but it does take effort and a willingness to parent your children with a plan for success. Stay tuned into this website for more helpful parenting and mental health tips.
- FACES, INC on facebook hit over 200 likes. The goal was 200 for the year. Thank you to all of you that logged on and "liked" my page. Pass the word to your friends.
- November marks the second month at our new location. Please make a note of the new address: 5524 S. Saginaw Street, Flint, MI 48439