Parenting correctly is the most important thing we will ever do. If we get it wrong, whatever else we do, won’t matter very much. But parents’ over-indulging their children is the easiest way for parents to mess up.
Parents may initially start to over-indulge, because their parents under-indulged them; they want their children to have what they didn’t have. Over-indulging a child isn’t just a monetary thing.
Even as toddlers children know how to wrap their parents around their little finger, and on the part of the parent, it’s easier not to say ‘no’ when a child is throwing a tantrum. Then there are other over-indulgences like telling children how special they are, which sounds reasonable, but often sends the message that their children are untouchable.
Conversely, if a child is struggling, over-indulging in the short-term may help bring about confidence. Long-term, this type of parenting may backfire, because an over-indulged child will fail to learn about self-control. They will also fail to understand the needs of others, or will choose to give up at the first hurdle when a task becomes too difficult.
Children who are continually over-indulged may develop narcissistic tendencies. Those children often have overly permissive parents who will have continually put their child on a pedestal.
Even if children don’t show full narcissist character traits, indulgent parenting can cause problems when that child realises they’re not the centre of the universe anymore. There has to be a balance on how much parents over-indulge.