12 Reasons Why You Do Not Want To Overindulge Your Child By Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft 

No Parent wants to raise an overindulged child with an overblown sense of entitlement! Here’s 12 reasons why you don’t want to. They are based on ten studies involving a combined 3,531 participants. Here’s what we found.                       Click here to download a free handout: 12 Risks


                12 Risks of Overindulging

1.  Center of the universe syndrome: A child should understand early on that the world will not solely focus on them.

2.  Disrespectful attitude: Having disrespect for one’s own things easily leads to disrespect for other people’s things.

3.  Helplessness: Doing for children what they should be learning to do themselves takes away the opportunity for them to learn how to be competent.


4.  Confusing wants and needs: Young children can’t tell the difference between wants and needs and have to be carefully taught.

5.  Overblown sense of entitlement: Adults who were overindulged as children often feel that they are entitled to more of everything and that they deserve more than others.

6.  Irresponsibility: Constantly protecting children from experiencing the consequences of their actions and not holding them accountable for completing tasks leads to irresponsibility.


7.  Ungratefulness: Soft structure in the home can lead to individuals being less likely to be grateful for things and to others.

8.  Poor self-control: Parents need to insist that the child learn self-management skills including delayed gratification.

9.  Relationship problems: Issues that result from overindulgence—such as poor conflict-resolution skills and expectation of immediate gratification—spill over into all other relationship forms, from friends, to family, to workplace.


10. Materialistic values and unhappiness: Children who were overindulged as children are more likely to develop materialistic values in adulthood (selfish and greedy) and grow up to be more unhappy.

11. Personal goals distortion: Studies show that the more an individual was overindulged as a child, the more likely it is that their personal life goals are externally motivated—fame, fortune, vanity—as opposed to internal aspirations such as developing character and cultivating meaningful relationships.

12. Spiritual involvement: Overindulged children are more likely to become adults who are not interested in spiritual growth, have difficulties finding meaning in times of hardship, and are less apt to develop a personal relationship with a power greater than themselves.



ü There is more help about avoiding overindulgence in How Much is Too Much? Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children – From Toddlers To Teens – In An Age of Overindulgence (2014, DaCapo Press Lifelong Books).

 üParenting with a Good Heart Online Course - University of Minnesota Extension

üSetting Limits for Responsive Discipline — Limits provide a sense of security for children.

ü5 Tips for Parents to Avoid the Damaging Effects of Overindulgence — In this article, Jean Illsley Clarke discusses the concept of overindulgence, offering five tips on how to recognize it and what to do about it.

ü Tim Kasser - The High Price of Materialism

ü The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser.

           Do all things with Love, Grace, and Gratitude

All Photos from Pexels Lisc. CCO

© David J. Bredehoft, Jean Illsley Clarke & Connie Dawson 2004-2024;  bredehoft@csp.edu