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The Dangers of Overindulging Your Kids: How to Stop and Set Boundaries


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Are You Overindulging Your Kids? Here’s What You Need to Know

When your child is having a meltdown in the grocery store aisle or at the restaurant dinner table, it can be hard to not appease them. However, overindulgence can have consequences down the line, according to child psychologist Lauren Silvers.

Overindulging is not the same as spoiling your child. Silvers explains that spoiling is about fulfilling their needs and wants, while overindulging is about making your own life easier as a parent.

The Test of Four

There are different forms of overindulgence. Material overindulgence is buying your child everything they want, while relational overindulgence involves doing more for your child than necessary. Lastly, structural overindulgence is struggling to set or enforce rules.

To determine if you’re overindulging your child, you can take The Test of Four. Ask yourself the following questions:

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  1. Are my actions hindering my child’s development?
  2. Am I giving an unfair amount of resources to one or more of my children?
  3. Do the choices I make benefit me more than my child?
  4. Does my child’s behavior potentially harm others or the environment?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be coddling your child to a harmful extent.

Teaching Responsibility

Self-made millionaire Barbara Corcoran and billionaire Mark Cuban have taken steps to ensure their kids don’t become spoiled. Corcoran encourages her kids to get jobs instead of spending money on day camps, while Cuban refuses to give his children unlimited access to money.

Child psychologist Silvers agrees with these approaches. She advises allowing kids to do age-appropriate tasks, which teaches important life lessons and problem-solving skills. Setting and enforcing specific rules is also crucial.

While pulling back on overindulgence may initially result in a negative response from your child, it will ultimately help them become responsible and independent adults.

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