At first glance I thought this was yet another book about affluent parents giving materially to their
already entitled kids and thus warping their character development. I was wrong. The type of overindulgence
the authors write about here has little to do with a parent’s earning power.
With data from extensive research amongst adults who deemed themselves “overindulged” as children,
the authors identified the different ways in which well-meaning parents can make huge mistakes raising
kids. It also discusses the ramifications of such mistakes and offers clear guidelines for preventing them.
As the authors so wisely point out:
Over-functioning parents raise under-functioning kids.
Overindulgence is when your parenting choices do not match your parenting goals. You want your children
to grow into likeable, responsible and respectful adults. But when you overindulge and do too much of what
kids ought to be doing on their own, or when you offer your kids squishy family rules AKA “soft structure” you
do your children a disservice without meaning to. As a result, the kids suffer by not developing as they
should. They are less confident, less able to trust their own decision-making skills, less able to set
a goal and achieve it, less able to deal with frustration and resolve conflicts. As the authors so wisely
point out: “over-functioning parents raise under-functioning kids.”
How Much is Enough?
a terrific handbook for parents of any age child. I loved the use of scenarios to demonstrate what is and
what is not over-indulgence. (It’s not always what it appears
to be to the casual observer.) Likewise I enjoyed the clear language and the 4 question “test” for
over-indulgent parenting, the first question of which is “Does it prevent the child for mastering age
appropriate tasks?” For example, when the loving Dad carries his 4-year-old daughter into preschool,
hangs up her coat and puts her lunch in her cubby for her, is he preventing her from mastering age appropriate
tasks? If she can walk, you bet he is! Same goes for the well-meaning mom who continues to take responsibility
for getting her 15-year-old son out of bed and to school on time even to the detriment of her own sanity
and on-time arrival at work. Both are clear cases of over-indulgence. If you recognize yourself or someone
you know in there, you’d find this a very valuable read.
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