by James Druman
Many articles have been written about expecting too much from your children, and this can be a danger for some. But a far greater risk is the tendency for some parents to be a little too indulgent with their kids. In these cases, rather than expecting our children to achieve anything worthwhile, we just take care of their needs, make sure they are comfortable, and wait for them to “find themselves.”
It’s important to give children freedom of thought and some time to arrive at their own decisions about life—in fact, it’s crucial. But children also need structure. Here are some ways you can curb the tendency to indulge your children too much and push them just a little bit more.
1. Push Them to Pursue Hobbies.
One of the best things you can give to your children is the gift of engaging interests. Children left to their own devices will often follow the herd and lose themselves in a fascinating world of video games, movies, and mainstream media—and there is enough content there to keep them busy for a lifetime.
It used to be that parents expected more out of their children’s character-building pursuits. They enrolled their children in music and pushed them to practice often. They had them study art and participate in sports for the sake of just moving around and staying active.
Even an interest in puzzles or games like chess and reading books can be more positive for your child than many technological endeavors.
2. Expect More.
Simply expecting more out of your children can make a difference. Many children are expected to participate in school and not get in too much trouble, and that is enough. Expecting a little more can result in much greater rewards. Make it clear to your children that you expect them to strive and thrive.
Push them to get better grades and push for improvement in everything they do. You don’t have to push too hard, especially if their natural abilities make your expectations farfetched, but they should be expected to try harder than what’s necessary to just get by.
3. Hold Them Responsible.
Hold your children responsible for their actions. Teach them accountability. If they fail to follow through on obligations or if they misbehave, they should learn there are consequences for their actions. If they make a big mistake that ends up costing you money, have them work to pay for it.
Often, parents leave these actions unpunished or even un-discussed, simply because they want to deal with the current stresses of the day and try to keep the peace. This type of reaction teaches children nothing.
4. Show Them the Future.
Teach your child at a young age to think toward the future. Many kids do not consider their adult years at all anymore until it is time to graduate high school. Only the “over-achievers” prepare by taking the right courses, joining the right clubs, getting the right grades, and cultivating the right skills.
The pre-adult years are a very important time, because most kids have less responsibility and can put energy into preparing for a better life. It’s important to take advantage of this time. But if you don’t explain this concept to your children and push them to plan, they are not likely to do it on their own.
Basically, curbing child indulgence is as simple as holding children responsible for their own personal development making them see from a young age that they have to try a little harder than the average person if they want above-average results in life.