Posts Tagged ‘overindulgence’

What Do I Get the Grandkids?

November 21st, 2013

I’ve got my list and I’m checking it twice. No, I’m not the jolly old Santa whose lap the kids climb on with those endless “I want” lists. Rather I am the Grandmother wondering what I can get the grandkids that they will appreciate and use. Gone are the days when it was so easy buying for the babies.

So what to do? Well I could get a list from the kids or ask their parents for ideas. Or, I could figure out ways to give of myself to strengthen the bonds of connection. Perhaps there is a combination of the two that makes sense for me.

Kristi Cooper, a co-worker, recently wrote two handouts that are filled with practical ways to create meaning.

Giving and receiving gifts is an expression of love. It can be done in a manner that is respectful to needs, wants, finances, and family values. When gift giving occasion arise – holidays, birthdays, and special events – I give from the heart. Honoring the special connection with my grandkids is priceless.

How do you handle gift giving with your grandkids?

Donna Donald

grandparenting, money, overindulgence , ,

At what age should they start chores?

August 15th, 2013

GREAT QUESTION!  How about right now?!

If you look up Children and Chores at  you will find several different articles on children helping with household chores. And guess what? They can start right now helping with all kinds of things. Even toddlers LOVE helping to put socks in the basket or towels in the drawer.

Allowing children to help around the house gives them hands on experiences for learning as well as a feeling of independence and responsibility.

It is important to share with the child how you want the task done, let the child do it and then DON’T re-do when they are done.  Did you catch that? It’s OK that there is a wrinkle in the blanket or the fork is upside down. Let them know how proud you are of the work they did and keep modeling the way you would like it done eventually. Remember, you probably had a wrinkle in your bed at that age as well.

What are some chores that you have your children helping with? Share with us!

Lori Hayungs

brothers, chores, discipline, family time, fathers, mother, overindulgence, parenting, positive parenting, siblings, sisters , , , , , , , ,

It’s Not the Same as Spoiled

December 7th, 2012

Wow – I think we struck a note (or nerve) with the opening podcast on overindulgence. Some people are responding with humor and others are seriously questioning what it means. And on occasion, I’ve heard “that surely doesn’t include a doting aunt, grandparents, and so on.”

I confess, I’ve been known to spoil my grandkids now and then. And I’m guessing some of you parents have given in to your child’s desire for that special something. That’s not what we’re talking about with overindulgence which is a pattern of behavior with too much, over-nurture, and soft structure.

Let’s start with one type of overindulgence which is material. That is having too much (toys, clothes, privileges, entertainment, activities) and not knowing what is enough. Researchers use a test of four to determine if there is an overindulgence issue. If one clue is present, then it’s time to stop and see what’s going on.  

  1. Does the situation hinder the child from learning the tasks that support his or her development and learning at this age?
  2. Does the situation give a disproportionate amount of family resources to one or more of the children?
  3. Does this situation exist to benefit the adult more than the child?
  4. Does the child’s behavior potentially harm others, society, or the planet in some way?

Do these questions make sense? Have you thought about any of these questions as you make decisions in your family?

Note: As with all our podcasts we intend to share studies and research. Then our blogs are a further look into the topic from our perspective and we encourage your comments. I invite you to check out the research listing on the web page. Links take you directly to research being done by Dr. Bredehoft and others. Another suggested reading is Study 6: Connections between Childhood Overindulgence and Adult Life Aspirations – A Preliminary Report by David J. Bredehoft and Chelsae Armao, 2008.

Donna Donald

grandparenting, money, positive parenting , ,

Where did THAT shirt come from – it wasn’t there before!

March 22nd, 2012

I have 3 girls and 30,000 pieces of laundry to wash.  (Ok maybe I’m exaggerating). In the last 3 days (yes true) I have asked the girls to each go to the laundry room, get their own clean laundry and put it away. Each of them has gone to the laundry room 3 times. Why? Because after the first 2 trips they had still missed some of their own items, which meant there was still a clean laundry pile.

How do I get them to find their items on the first trip? I’d even settle for the second? Do they not recognize their own articles of clothing?  (They certainly do when one of their sisters is wearing it?)

After a few moments of pondering the dilemma I remembered  the following technique I learned from a Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 last month.

Adding a Small Chore: Here’s how it works.

Because they didn’t accomplish the first chore – getting their own clean laundry-mind you after 3 separate requests.  – they will now have a small additional chore. When I asked them to get their clothes initially, I also asked them to fold/match 6 pieces of ‘family’ laundry (towels, wash clothes, linens, match socks etc.) They will now have to each fold 3 times the number of towels/washcloths that I asked them to the first time. So they will each have 18 family items to fold/match. Trust me there are plenty! (sock come in pairs remember!)

By giving them a small ‘additional’ chore they will learn to check and make sure their first chore was done to completion. A small chore is not meant to be a punishment or an overwhelming task (like cleaning the garage or the complete disaster of a bedroom). The goal is to make it an inconvenience so they stop and think – or at the very least DO!

What are some other ‘small’ chores that could be assigned for those minor infractions? You might be surprised how the minor infractions decrease with the addition of a few small chores here and there.

Happy assigning!


Find out about Strengthening Families 10-14 and other ISU Extension and Outreach programs here –

education, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pitching a Fit in the Grocery Store

March 15th, 2012

Do you remember a time when your child pitched a fit in the grocery store? It’s one thing to handle a temper tantrum at home. But when it’s in public – like at the grocery store with everyone watching – that’s enough to test everything you know. Some people may give you that “why don’t you do something with your kid” look while others shoot you a sympathizing “I’ve been there” look. Either way you are probably embarrassed or frustrated or tired or just ready to throw up your hands.

We are most apt to have shopping disasters when we make those stops at the grocery store at the end of a busy day. Are you and your child too tired or hungry to shop? If so, a major tantrum is a high possibility. Children usually behave better when everyone is more relaxed and happy so plan the best time for the shopping trip. Be clear about expectations before you go in the store – stay in the cart, hold my hand, use indoor voice. Also decide together what will happen if your child behaves at the store. Keep it simple. Perhaps you stop for an ice cream cone on the way home or promise to play a favorite game when you get home.

Once you’re in the store, make a game of the shopping. Or give your child some choices (this or that cereal, red or yellow apples). Give him a responsibility like holding the bread or steering the cart. Praise him often to reinforce good behavior. “You are really helping Mommy by putting the cans in the cart.”

Okay, so even though we’ve done all the planning and talking, we can still end up with an out-of-control child. If that happens, take her to the restroom or out of the store away from other people and distractions. Tell her that her behavior is not acceptable and then wait – wait for her to calm down. If she is ready to try it again, go for it. If not, go home. And don’t go back in and buy her a treat where she just pitched a fit!!

What do you do when your child throws a tantrum in the grocery store? Any tips on calming down both parent and child?

Donna Donald

positive parenting, temperament , , , , ,

Are we overindulging our children?

September 16th, 2010

Can we hurt our children by giving them too much?

Overindulgence is defined as giving children too much of what appears to look “good,” to parents or children. It also occurs when children receive too many “things,” such as material items, time, experiences, or lack of responsibilities, which are inappropriate for children’s developmental stages, interests, or abilities. More importantly, this provision of “too much” is oftentimes to satisfy an adult’s desire, longing, or need…not the children’s needs. For instance, adults may feel guilty for working and being away from their children, so they buy them an abundance of material items to lessen their own feelings of guilt. Another example is when an adult may feel badly about a life transition, such as a move, a separation or a divorce; the adult tries to reduce these feelings by not asking children to perform chores that are age-appropriate and beneficial for children’s development.

Researchers have identified three types of overindulgence, which have been classified as giving (a) too many material items, privileges, or objects, (b) too much nurturing, or (c) too little structure.

Overnurturing is classified as giving too much attention to children, doing too much for them, and helping them too much. This type of overindulgence does not allow children to learn developmentally appropriate skills or responsibilities.

Not giving our children enough structure includes not enforcing rules, not giving them responsibilities, such as chores, or not providing age-appropriate rules or boundaries.

All of these types of overindulgence can have serious consequences for children. For instance, children who receive too many material items or privileges may grow up expecting that items be given to them, as opposed to earning the items or privileges. Children who are given too much attention may develop abnormal expectations for future relationships. Also, children who have too few rules, responsibilities, or boundaries may not learn to respect authority or rules.

Research shows that overindulgence thwarts children’s abilities to develop important life skills and lessons, such as how to resolve conflict, how to persevere, or how to deal with normal life experiences. Overindulged children may not learn how to understand the difference between needs and wants and may lack social skills. Clearly, these can have serious effects that last through adulthood.

There are ways to determine whether or not an adult’s behavior is classified as overindulgence. If an adult’s behavior is characterized by a “yes” answer to any of the following questions, the behavior may indeed be overindulgence:

1. Does it interfere with the child’s development?
2. Does it use too many resources to meet the WANTS (NOT THE NEEDS) of the child?
3. Does it benefit the child or someone else (parent)?
4. Does it harm someone or something?

Because overindulged children have a tendency to grow into adults who have low self-esteems, problems making decisions, and poor social skills, adults should identify their own behaviors to determine whether or not they are overindulging their children.

social-emotional , ,