Over-indulged children

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.


9 Feb, 2019

6 thoughts on “Over-indulged children

  1. You couldn’t have described the polar opposite of my childhood if you tried, but I certainly recognise the traits you describe from my observations of others and I agree an over indulged child grows into an over indulged adult.

    If that is the foundations for a narcissistic personality then parents have much to answer to.

    1. Thank you. Yes, over-indulgence is the foundations for a narcissistic personality, but I’m not sure parents understand that.

      All parents see is that they’re giving their children what they didn’t have. It stands to reason that the more over-indulged children are, the more they want, the more they won’t do without those things and they come to expect.

      This is when behaviour traits change, new ones are formed that take on narcissistic characteristics.

    1. Hi Carol and welcome to the site. Yes, you’re absolutely right. What is being kind is a parent saying ‘No’ and explaining why what they’re asking has to be a No.

      In the longer term it’s exactly what is kind. I look forward to seeing you on the site again.

  2. Yes, I was one of those but there was always a high price to pay for my mother spoiling me. She expected complete loyalty and obedience in return, which was inevitably followed by crushing disappointment when I couldn’t do enough to make her happy.

    This caused mommy issues, which has led to failed relationships as I ended up with the same type of women. With so many mixed messages it’s no wonder I haven’t been able to function out in the real world, or in any meaningful relationship over the years.

    It’s a nightmare I am trying to break free from at 50 years old, when most people are focusing more on their retirement.

    1. I love how you’re prepared to own the things that belong to you Randy.

      You know the pattern and the drill of your childhood and knowing what you know, you know how you should have been parented.

      Knowing what our parents have done wrong means we can change those wrongs. So an over-indulged child mustn’t be over-indulged, in the same way having no boundaries will ever work. Children must have boundaries, etc.

      But as the adult regardless of our past, we have to be able to create and live our lives so that we fit into the life we create with the people we want to have in our lives.

      If we don’t have that we must work on making sure we do. It’s up to us reinvent ourselves through new healthier patterns that will help us make better choices around the people and the life we want to live.

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