Are You An Overindulgent Parent? Take care
Woman's Era|January 2022
Parenting is a sensitive job, do it responsibly.
Santosh Pattanaik
There are various styles of parenting, such as authoritative, nurturing, neglectful, overcritical, and supportive. In today’s busy lifestyle, one more style of parenting has come into existence - the “Overindulgent Parenting”, also known as “over-nurturing” parenting. Overindulgence may be defined as ‘giving too much, for too long, too soon’.

There are mainly three types of overindulgence:

Giving kids too much (toys, activities, etc. - children who are overindulged with too much often fail to learn the skill of knowing what is enough).

Over nurturing (doing something for your child that she should be doing for herself - your baby daughter is creeping across the floor to get a toy, you pick it up and give it to her).

Soft structure (not having rules, not enforcing rules, or not requiring kids to do chores. Soft structure is giving children too much freedom).

Overindulgence can take the form of one or a combination of the above three types. Occasional indulgences add colour, joy, and even excitement to life, but when they become a pattern, they become overindulgence.

As parents, we want to see our kids smile. When they're happy, we're happy. This intention emanates from love for our child but it is coupled with a belief that “My child should not lack or fall short of anything he or she wants.”

But there's a fine line between that and going over the boundary of the too-empowered child, who thinks he has the right to every toy he points to.

All children need nurturing to survive. But over-nurturing is doing things for children that they could or should be doing for themselves. It deprives the child of the thrill of achievement or experiencing consequences.

Remember, your goal as a parent is to guide and direct your child into responsible behavior as they journey into adulthood. It is your job to prepare your children for the road, not prepare the road for them !

How do you know that you are overindulging?

Simple answer is: use the ‘Test of Four’.

Ask yourself the following questions: First, does it get in the way of a child's developmental task?

For example, if a parent carries his 4-year-old child into preschool, that child will likely need more attention than her peers in her class.

Second, does it use a disproportionate amount of family resources? When you give your child things – whether it's time, money, energy, or something else – you are giving your child significantly more than you have or can afford and by doing so, saving less for other family needs.

Third, whose needs are you meeting? Whatever you are doing, are you doing it for yourself or for your child?

Fourth, does it deplete or harm others in some way?

If your answer is ‘YES’ to one or more of the questions, you may need to take a hard look at what you can do to turn things around.

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