I was ready to wring that mother’s neck.
While waiting in line at the ice cream shop, she repeatedly bent down to the order window to give the latest detail of her eight-year-old daughter’s order for an ice cream cone.
What kind of a cone would you like, honey? Oh, you want a waffle cone? Okay, sweetheart. Do you want to have it dipped in chocolate? Sure, sweetie. Do you want a single or double dip, or maybe a triple? Get whatever you want, precious girl.”
Afterwards, the girl took the top-heavy cone and skipped off.
My blood was boiling…for several reasons, one which I discovered while writing this post.
First, the mother believed the lie that love means over- over-giving to growing children and/or adults. She thought she was demonstrating the greatest love, but instead she was harming.
Actually, she was overindulging, which we’ll take a close look at.
But first, let’s apply to adoption and foster care.
Overindulgence is a factor in parenting an adopted or foster child. You love those kids of yours dearly and know full well their hard-place history. But, sometimes, a thought like this may run through your mind as you’re shopping: “How could it possibly hurt to give them one, or two, or even three extra gifts?”
You may not have been told that the “over-the-top” giving is really overindulgence.
- scarcity in the midst of plenty
- parental needs are more important than mine
- the life lesson of contentment will elude me
- pleasing me is such a task…I must be too much to handle
- I will never have enough
- I am neglected
- I will learn to manipulate
- I won’t learn the developmental lesson of “Enough”
Connie Dawson, Ph.D. and Jean Issley Clark say in their excellent book HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO STEER CLEAR OF OVERINDULGENCE AND RAISE LIKaBLE, RESPONSIBLE, AND RESPECTED CHILDREN–FRO TODDLERS TO TEENS:
“Overindulging children is giving them too much of what looks good, too soon, and for too long. It is giving them things or experiences that are not appropriate for their age or their interests or talents. It is the process of giving needs to children to meet the adult needs, not the child’s.
Types of Overindulgence
The authors say there are three types of overindulgence.
- Giving Too Much: (candy, presents, excitement, recreation, stimulation)
- Over-Nurturing (smother love…doing for children what they should be doing for themselves…it may look loving but it keeps child from fulfilling full potential)
- Soft Structure: (giving too much freedom and license. ..experiences not appropriate for child’s age. It can be not insisting that they learn important life skills.
Parents, I beg you to look at your giving this Christmas. It is extremely easy to believe that love is over-giving.
As I write this warning, I am warning myself. You see, I was like that bratty girl getting ice-cream and my mom and dad gave me e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Now, what rings in my ears is what I say often to my grandchildren when I take them out for a meal: “Get whatever you want.”
Being overindulged gets passed down generationally.
Let’s all pray for healthy giving this Christmas…myself included.
PS–Treat yourself to a copy of How Much Is Enough? Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/previously-published-Enough-Children-Teens/dp/073821681X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512937619&sr=1-4&keywords=how+much+is+enough