What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
        
 
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  

Resources

   

HOW TO NOT SPOIL YOUR KIDS

     Home  >  Articles  > How To Guides
by Richard Bromfield, PhD

Related:


   In my clinical experience, people who are over their heads in debt notoriously find themselves unable to face their predicament.  But doing so is as hard and painful as it is necessary.  Only by seeing what the reality is can one start to fix things and change.  Only by confronting the hard truth can one turn over a new leaf.

   The same goes for parenting and overindulging.  The pressures on modern parents are extraordinary.   This generation of grandparents critically rolls their eyes and tsk-tsks when they see us, today’s parents, give in to our children.  But, as a father and child psychologist, I am certain that they, our own parents, would fare no better in our modern world than we do.  It’s easy to say that we as parents shouldn’t bend to corporate advertising, peer pressures, keeping up with the Joneses, and so forth.  Easier said than done.  Way easier.

   After all, we actually agree.  I have yet to meet one parent who wants to spoil her or his children.  It happens, though, doesn’t it?  Although I could offer dozens of ideas and strategies for unspoiling your child, but my experience tells me that most parents know exactly what they have to do.  Only somehow they just can’t do it.  They just can’t deliver the unspoiling goods (though they sure can deliver those other kinds of goods and goodies).



   My advice instead is for parents to try their best to keep their eyes wide open and see what the score is.   I find that parents are quick to confess that they overindulge their children.  When I ask how so, these same parents find themselves thinking hard.  Usually, they cite birthdays and holidays to demonstrate the excessive gifts they bought.  Somehow those instances of spoiling feel more acceptable and less guilt-ridden.

   Instead, I invite parents to keep a record of everything they give their children.  Try it yourself.  Reconstruct your past day or week and tally every cent you’ve spent on the variety of things you’ve bought your kids.  Of course, you should include toys and games and obvious treats, like candy and ice cream cones.  But I also mean things like movie tickets, CDs, mp3 songs, movie and videogame rentals.  I mean things that can seem like givens in a child’s life, like music and dance and sports lessons.   Include sporting equipment (and footwear), and even educational items like books and back-to-school supplies.  Add in treats like bakery goods, like the banana bread at Starbucks or a muffin at the local café.  And don’t forget to throw in clothing, especially clothing that you think is too expensive or unnecessary but that you buy anyway.  And then, of course, there is your chauffeuring.

   What’s my point?  I guarantee that you will be amazed at what you spend and how often you spend it.  I also think you will be surprised by how much of that spending you perceive as an unavoidable part of childhood.   Our children may take that spending for granted, but we do, too, in a different kind of way.  Unfortunately and sadly, our open wallets come at an even higher price than the credit card bills that follow.

   Children who get too much — and that is a majority of today’s children — appreciate less.  It isn’t because they or their parent are bad people.  It is how human nature works.  The less we get, the more we appreciate.   By buying too much too often we may be robbing our children of the inner good feeling and life skills that the capacity for true gratitude can bring.   Maybe you can well afford all that you buy, but ask yourself this: can your child’s development?

Harvard Medical School psychologist Richard Bromfield is the author of How to Unspoil Your Child Fast and Teens in Therapy.


Be the smartest parent in the 'hood

Receive our weekly highlights newsletter · Over 1,000 local activities

More How To Guides Articles

How To Help Your Child Tackle Homework
How to Keep Kids Focused in School When Spring Fever Hits
How To Throw an 'Up' Birthday Party for Kids
How To Keep Kids Healthy at Camp
How To Pack for Camp

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local How To Guides Sponsors


Kehillah School for Early Learning (in partnership with Bright Horizons)
1000 Pinebrook Blvd.
New Rochelle, NY
914-637-3808
Both part-time and full-time education, with a chi...

Convent of the Sacred Heart
1177 King St.
Greenwich, CT
203-531-6500
Founded in 1848, Convent of the Sacred Heart is an...

Dicker Reading Method
75 Brook St.
Scarsdale, NY
914-472-0600
Your child will achieve 1-3 years of reading impro...

Music Together of Fairfield County
76 Walbin Court
Fairfield, CT
203-256-1656
Music Together classes are held in more than 2,000...

Little Gym, The - LI
2890 Hempstead Turnpike
Levittown , NY
516-520-4455
For every stage of your child's development?from f...
See Our How To Guides Directory

local zones

Nassau

Nassau cont.

Suffolk

Suffolk cont.

Westchester

Westchester cont.

Fairfield

Rockland

Rockland cont.

Queens

Queens cont.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn cont.

Manhattan

Copyright 2014 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE