As the holidays near, are you finding yourself buying more and more gifts for your children, telling yourself it's the final purchase only to continue shopping? You are certainly not alone. Many parents overindulge their children, especially around the holidays.
Tracey Sutton, MSW, of Bradley Hospital, explains why giving your children too much is counterproductive and how to get off the overindulgence express.
Going overboard with presents can be problematic because it can result in an emotional domino effect. Sutton says, "Children can become easily overwhelmed by too many gifts, which can lead to negative behaviors or acting out. This, in turn, can cause parents to become distressed because they believe their children do not appreciate the effort put into saving money, shopping, wrapping and presenting gifts."
Sutton says that parents who overindulge on a regular basis often inadvertently reinforce negative behaviors in their children. "Many children who are indulged regularly come to expect that they will get what they want, when they want it. This is not the way of the world," says Sutton. "When they come in contact with another adult who refuses their requests or demands, these children become incredibly indignant, confused and frustrated, all of which looks like a temper tantrum. Unfortunately, these children have been set up by their parents to expect all adults to respond similarly, and when met with healthy boundaries, they react intensely."
Additionally, children who are overindulged tend to lack appreciation for their possessions. Suttons says, children become "careless because 'there is always another where that came from.' This attitude can then be projected onto things that do not belong to them, such as classroom materials, school equipment, friend's toys or other items that somehow become broken or lost."
Why do parents overindulge >>