Parents are expected to love and care for their children. But, how would you know that you are not overindulging your child? Read on to know more about overindulgent parenting and how to avoid it.
By Arun Sharma
It’s 8:00 p.m. and the Ramanathan family, which includes grandparents, parents and two children, is sitting at the dining table to have dinner. Devi, the children’s mother, serves meals to her daughters Kritika and Ganga.
Kritika: Mama, I won’t have paneer sabzi.
Devi: (concerned) But why, Kritika? You know paneer is good for health. Have it today and I’ll cook your favourite pongal tomorrow, dear.
Kritika: (stubbornly) I won’t. I can’t have this. I am going to sleep on a hungry stomach tonight.
Devi: Oh no, please don’t do that! Just wait for a few minutes and I’ll prepare pongal for you. You shouldn’t go to bed on an empty stomach.
In many families across our country, and the world, there is a child like Kritika and a parent like Devi, who is just too willing to give in to the child’s demands to make her happy.
It is certainly the responsibility of parents to love their children and ensure their needs are met; however, it is not their duty to always act in a manner that makes their child have her way. For, overindulged children grow up to suffer from serious issues like being self-centred, greedy, selfish, and unwilling to adjust — to name a few unpleasant behaviours.
If reading about Devi makes you doubt that you too may be guilty of overindulging your child, then read on to know about the seven things that most overindulgent parents do.
1. Neglecting to teach life skills: Every overindulging parent tries to make the life of their child as comfortable as possible. As a result, their children fail to learn the life skills necessary to live on their own. Some of the things that parents do, which prevents their child from picking up life skills are:
2. Allocating a disproportionate amount of resources: You want to give your child everything, which includes what she needs, what she wants and what you feel she should have. As a result, you end up giving her significantly more than what is required in terms of your attention, money, and so on.
3. Giving things that are not age-appropriate: You tend to give your child things that are beyond the requirement of his age. For example, you make him dress like a rock star, give him an expensive smartphone while he is still in primary school, or allow him to ride your car because you think he is capable of doing so.
4. Giving too much and expecting virtually nothing: You give your child all she needs and pamper her by doing everything for her, but you do not expect anything from her – for example, helping you around the house. As a result, your child grows up to be incapable of taking decisions or taking the right decision, not willing to accept any responsibility, seeking attention and being stubborn.
5. Delivering empty threats: You know your child needs to learn discipline and become responsible. So, you lay down the rules and set the consequences. But, when your child flouts the rules, all you do is issue empty threats – never willing to make him face the consequences. As a result, very soon, it becomes clear to him that, no matter what he does, you won’t take him to task.
6. Bribing the child: As you have always pampered your child and never disciplined her or made her realise her responsibility, it is very difficult for you to make her do almost anything. So, you take the easy route – you bribe her. You offer her rewards for doing almost everything that you want her to do. But, over time, the rewards you usually offer look less and less attractive and fail to motivate her. As a result, you are forced to increase the rewards.
7. Condoning disrespectful behaviour: You never care to make your child follow the rules or face the consequences or enforce your authority. As a result, he grows up without facing the consequences of bad behaviour. And, with time, he becomes so emboldened that he doesn’t think twice about cocking a snook at you.
Overindulgent parents and spoilt brats go hand-in-hand. If you want your child to grow up to be an asset to the society, make sure that, while you treat her with love and respect, and take care of her needs, you don’t overindulge her.
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