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Overindulged Children: How Much is too Much?

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I am struggling with a quandary right now. My friend has suggested we purchase a family pack of season tickets to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which not only includes year-round admission to the theme park, but to Hurricane Harbor as well.

My first thought: “My boys will love it, and it’ll be fun for me too!”

Immediately followed by: “But does that create overindulged children? What would be the consequences?”

After all, I’m still holding onto tickets to Santa Monica’s Pacific Park because I don’t want to spoil them. And it’s hard to ignore my inner super nanny shaking her finger, “no, no, no.”

Yet, to spend hours of good times with our friends all year? It’s hard to pass up.

Plus, I observe other parents taking their children to amusement parks on the regular.

Time for a little Google action to see if I can find any words of expert parental advice on the subject. This article is an oldie but goodie that highlights excerpts from the book, “How Much is Enough?: Everything You Need to Know to Steer Clear of Overindulgence and Raise Likeable, Responsible and Respectful Children.”

 The Consequences of Overindulged Children

Seattle residents Jacque Coe and her husband, Rusty, make a conscious effort not to overindulge their 20-month-old son Blake.

“We have seen many others whose homes seem to be overrun with toys and gadgets,” Coe said. “Instead, we try to go short on toys and long on personal experiences such as reading, walks, feeding birds and playing at the park.”

The article states three main ways of overindulging:

Giving too much. “With a constant barrage of too many and too much, children often experience a sense of scarcity because they fail to learn the vital skill of ascertaining what is enough.”

Over-nurturing. “There is no such thing as too much love. But true love does not hover or intrude or deprive a child of the opportunity to reach out, to learn new skills, to feel the thrill of achievement, or to experience consequences.”

Too little structure. “Soft structure is giving children too much freedom and license. Firm structure includes establishing and enforcing rules, creating firm boundaries, monitoring children’s safety, teaching children skills for living and insisting they do chores.”

Whining and demanding might be the most obvious traits of overindulged kids, but as they grow up, they might:

-lack life and self-care skills

-have an overblown sense of entitlement

-have trouble learning how to delay gratification

-expect to be constant center of attention

-be reluctant to take personal responsibility

-have difficulty knowing what’s normal or enough

-have an unrealistic sense of their strengths and weaknesses.

What really spoke to me was a sidebar that addressed those overindulged children. “If every day is a high, those highs become flat and the highs are never high enough.”

Hmmmm, so decision time is near as those Six Flags tickets are only offered through next week. Naturally, I’m leaning toward “no,” especially after posting this.

My final thoughts: If it’s Six Flaggs season tickets at ages 3 and 5, what could top it in two years? Or in 10 years? Where would we go from here?

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