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Are You Overindulging Your Child?
Ever wonder if you're giving your child too much? Giving in
too often? Or doing too much for your
This month, I had the honor of meeting Jean Illsley Clarke,
an internationally known parent educator
Q. Let's start by defining what you mean by "overindulgence?"
A. The definition we use in the book is
this: "Overindulgence is giving too much of what looks good,
Overindulgence is giving a disproportionate amount of family
resources to one or more children in a
Overindulgence is a form of child neglect. It hinders
children from performing their needed
Q. In the book, you say that overindulgence springs
from the needs of the parents. What do
A. That is what our research told us. We actually found 36
different reasons why parents overindulge
Q. You state that there are three types of
overindulgence and that each causes pain to a
A. The first type is "too much" which relates
to having too many things. The pain is best
The second type is "over-nurture" in which the
parent says "I'll do it for you" and gives too
The third type is "soft structure" which means there
are no rules or if there are, you don't
Chores for children are critical in this area. There are two
outcomes from this. The first is subtle.
Q. How can a parent identify if they are overindulging a child?
A. In all three areas, the child will
believe that they are the center of the universe, they expect
In the book, we provide four clues that help parents.
1) Does this decision get in the way of the developmental task that my child is facing?
2) Does this decision take a disproportionate amount of
family resources such as money, time and
3) Whose needs are being met by this decision? The child's or the parent's? Am I projecting?
4) Is there any possible harm to the environment? To other people? To the community?
We also have a tool in the book called "The Nurture/Structure Highway" that can help parents evaluate their decisions.
Q. What was the most surprising result of the studies?
A. The secrecy of this problem. Also, the incredible pain that it causes.A
Q. What percentage of U.S. kids are overindulged?
A. I don't have percentages, but it feels prevalaent to me
because it is. Because of the secrecy, we
Q. At what point did our society shift to overindulgence?
A. When we shifted from a producer society
to a consumer society and the marketing influences
Editor's Note: The book can be purchased on www.overindulgence.info.
Positive Discipline Options
Each month a positive discipline option is offered. Collect them all and expand your repertoire!
Definition: The word "discipline" is from the root word "disciple" which means "one who teaches." The essence of discipline, therefore, is to provide a learning experience for the child to grow. (Provided by Dave Hudson)
It should be noted
that children may not like either choice. You can firmly repeat their
options and tell them if they don't pick one, that you'll decide for them.
Or if they offer a third option that's acceptable to you, you can accept
Take these classes from the comfort of home! You'll join other parents, via telephone, for parenting tips and a lively discussion all while sitting in your favorite armchair! There's no need to waste time driving to classes when you can participate from home in a "teleclass."
ìFive Practical Steps for Boosting Your Childís Self-Esteemî While self-esteem is a complex matter, this class will provide practical suggestions on helping your child feel confident and capable. Concrete tools that will help your child grow stronger in five areas will be provided. Tues., Aug. 16, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, 8:00 - 9:15 p.m. ET ($25) To register: Send an e-mail to email@example.com or call 612-810-8687 with any questions.
ìOverscheduled? Take Action to
Improve Your Work/Family Balanceî
"How to Win the Chore Wars and Find Peace in the Family" Ever have problems with you children doing chores? This 60-minute class will give you tips on how to motivate your kids, how to make it fun and how to keep your plan working! Recent research has uncovered that one of the most important indicators of your child's success as a young adult is whether they participated in household chores! Participate in this class to get your child's feet on the path to success and enjoy the benefits of a cleaner home! Wed., Aug. 10, Noon to 1 p.m., Working Family Resource Center, 325 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN. To register, call 651-293-5330.
This is a place for parents to exchange ideas. Would you like to get ideas from other parents about a parenting concern? Do you have good ideas that might help another parent? Feel free to contribute!!
For Sept.:Q. My kids are bugging me for a pet. Any advice on bringing a new pet into the family? T.K.
Readers, give us
your ideas!! How have you successfully handled this problem?
Readers responded with these ideas:
"I have 2 boys, ages 7 and 9 1/2. I also have noticed that children do experiment with telling lies as they grow older. When this happens, we talk about it very honestly and openly. I don't water it down, like: Did you fib? or Were you mixed up? We use words like "That doesn't fit with our family values" or "We're Christians, and we choose to be honest people." We also try not to overeact, since this seems to be a normal stage of experimentation. We guide our child to "correct" whatever the lie was, and we might punish with a time out period or a withdrawal of a privilege. We hope that we can continue to develop our children's "Moral Barometer" as Stephen Covey points out in one of his books: "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Families". Another good read for us has been: "The Discipline Book - How to have a better-behaved child from birth to age ten" by Sears and Sears. They offer pages about lying in their chapter: Morals and Manners. " Submitted By: Janice Kern, former teacher for 12 years
" I try to find out the reason behind the lie first. Are they scared? Are they failing a class? Do they think they'll be punished? And then we can work backwards from there. If I come at it that way, I find that they usually end up telling the truth in the end because we're problem-solving together." B.T.
"I call a spade a spade. I hate lying and so I ask my kids if they're telling me the truth? I tell them if they're lying to me that they'll receive two punishments rather than one. I tell them that lying breaks down trust and that trust is a hard thing to build up again once it's been broken. They usually end up confessing to what's happened and then I tell them that I'm very proud of them for telling me the truth." A. S.
A Good Read
What's the name of a parenting book, website or article that you've enjoyed? Please share your thoughts with other parents! Please include the name of the book, the author, and the year it was published. Also, include what you liked about the book.
"I like two things about "Living with the Active Alert Child." Number one, it seemed to give an accurate account of the behaviors and actions I see in my son like no other book has. Number two, it says realistically, here's a temperament that's challenging. It's just part of their personality and you need to be aware of it.
This book doesn't pretend to have all of the answers. It says there are some things that may or may not work, but you're not alone. Here's how they describe the temperament: a high energy person who is intrinsically kinesthetic, who has high intelligence but doesn't see the world the way that others do. They have difficulty shutting out the world that provides them with stimulation so winding down to sleep is hard. They also challenge all of the time. They believe they are equal to adults and they will debate and debate and debate.
Some of the pointers that I found helpful were recognizing that these kids have a need to move. They have kinesthetic needs that are ingrained. So, you can't just tell them to stop moving and expect that they will. You have to seek out opportunities to let them blow off some energy. For instance, after four hours of exercise my son is just beginning to tire out. Also, when they are really tired they'll get even more hyper and wound up and can't or won't shut the world out. As parents, we try to recognize when he's getting too revved up and leave time for a long wind down period.
A point that made my jaw drop is that they won't grow out of this and that the teen years will be even more challenging.
I think that the best advice is that they don't need fixing and it's my job to be even-keeled and see those times that I need to intervene." Cushing Hamlen
"Living with the Active Alert Child: Groundbreaking Strategies for Parents" by Linda Budd
What does your family do for fun that doesn't cost a lot of money?? Let's share some ideas!!
Backyard Camp Out
"We had a father daughter backyard camp out with some neighbors. We went swimming first and then set up five tents. We grilled our dinner, made smores with the remaining coals, told scary stories and did some star gazing. The girls had a blast and some of the neighborhood dads got a chance to get acquainted, so it was really fun for everyone."G. S.
Publisher, Families First Coaching Newsletter
Toni Schutta is a Parent Coach with a Master's Degree in Psychology and 11 years experience working with children and families. She's also the mother of two wonderful children, a Licensed Psychologist, a certified graduate of the Mentor Coach Foundations Program and a member of the International Coach Federation.
Families First Coaching is an organization devoted to building strong families by empowering parents with practical information, easy-to-use tools and helpful resources that will help you be the best parent possible. Individual parent coaching sessions are available along with parent-to-parent support groups and parent education classes. Check out the website at http://www.familiesfirstcoaching.com for a complete list of services.
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