Parenting correctly is the most important thing we will ever do. If we get it wrong, whatever else we do potentially won’t matter very much. But parents’ over-indulging their child is the easiest way for parents to mess up their child.
Parents may start to overindulge, because their parents under-indulged them; they want their children to have what they didn’t have. But over-indulging a child isn’t just a monetary thing.
Even at the toddler stage, toddlers know how to wrap their parents around their little fingers, and on the part of the parent it’s easier not to say ‘no’ when a child is throwing a tantrum.
There are other over-indulgences like telling children how special they are, but that doesn’t work, because parents are sending out a message that their children are untouchable. Telling a child something they may not feel will add to that child’s lack of self-esteem and confidence.
But in the short term where a child may struggle, over-indulging may help bring about confidence: but 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 go on to develop narcissistic tendencies. Those children often have parents who are overly permissive 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.
But as parents it’s important we ask ourselves why we’re choosing to over-indulge, because it is a choice. There has to be a balance on how much we over-indulge.