The Top 12 Reasons Parents Spoil Their Children

"Loving your kids to death" is an odd expression. But parents know just what it means. Sometimes the love we feel for our children is more than words can capture, more than we can bear. But what happens when that love causes us to overindulge our kids, creating effects the exact opposite of what we intended? Dr. Richard Bromfield shares the most common reasons for spoiling as talked about in his therapy office, along with some simple advice.

I fear losing my child's love or friendship. You are likely in no risk of losing either your child's love or friendship. Use whatever means or support that can help you get over it. Strong parenting usually fortifies a child's attachment and love for the parent.

I use spoiling to rebel against my own parents. Stop it. Use better methods to deal with your feelings or resentments, such as therapy, parenting groups, or share feelings with other parents or friends. Don't sacrifice what your child needs to wage a hollow battle against your own childhood.

I'm too tired. Rest, nap, and make good self-care a priority.

I'm not sure what to do. Read books and learn. Talk to other parents and seek help from a professional or groups in the community that focus on positive parenting. Parenting is a skill. Skills can be learned and honed.

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I feel guilty. Grab your guilt by the horns and put it to better use. Instead of letting it bully you into being an indulger, use your guilt to energize your unspoiling. That's what your children really need. There's no better antidote to guilt than being a good parent.

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I fear my own anger. Continue to think about and better understand the concept of unspoiling. It will make you less angry, as will your growing ability to not spoil. If abusing your child is a concern or is ongoing, get help.

I'm preoccupied with work. Parents cannot help working when they are at work. However, if you are a professional who is a workaholic, know that your children pay a heavy price. You manage to make time for everything and everybody at work. Use that same ingenuity and industry to work on you unspoiling and parenting. Recall that old adage about the fact that no one on a deathbed says that his or her only regret is not having spent more time working.

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I fear hurting my child's self esteem.
Well, by now you can anticipate me: your indulging is much more likely to cause problems with your child's self esteem than is any discipline you impose.

I'm going through marital problems. Get help, your children need you.

I'm a single parent. This is a hard one. Single mothers carry so much on their shoulders. I hesitate to say anything like, "Just do what you have to." Although I cannot tell you how to do it-or where to find more time or greater resources or a third arm-I can say that, in the long run, unspoiling your home will make your home life steadier, easier, and happier.

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I take unconscious pleasure in spoiling my children. Some parents feel deep pain and loss over not having been parented in nurturing and giving ways. Their spoiling of their child is a way to offset that hurt. Reflect on it, journal about it, or talk to others or a therapist.

I have a conscious wish to teach my child to enjoy life. Many parent who grew up in strict or unforgiving homes want to teach their children how to want, take, and know joy in ways that they, the parents, never learned. This is OK, unless it overgrows into spoiling.

Talking with a therapist or counselor might help you figure out any one of these issues. But you and your child can't afford to wait for insights into your reasons for spoiling, reasons that can run deep and far outside your awareness. You can try psychoanalysis to uncover those reasons, but by the time you get off the couch, your child will be grown up and gone. Your child needs an adjustment that begins soon, like yesterday. Remember that spoiling is not about dwelling on the past-it's about focusing on your child's future.

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