How Do You Point Out Overindulgence to someone You Care About? by Jean Illsley Clarke

I recently received a letter from one of our readers; I call her Good Heart Parent. She asked a very important question I think all of our readers will benefit from. Her question: “How do I tactfully tell someone they are overindulging their child?”

                                                             (Click here to download a free PDF copy of this blog)

Dear Good Heart Parent,

I am glad you found the article “What Is Overindulgence Anyway?”  to be insightful.                                                                               

So how do you tactfully point out overindulgence to someone you care about?


Please Remember:

§   It is important to remember that overindulgence comes from a good heart.

§   It comes from good intent, from a wish to make something better, to keep the child happy, to get through the day.

§   It comes from not remembering that even though a good thing is a good thing, too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

§   But the impact does not match the intent.

5 Suggestions:

1.  Hand her a copy of the How Much is Too Much? book and say, "I've been reading this author and I wonder if you think this book is helpful for parents.

2.  Give a reference. “Here is a website/video about helping your children grow into strong leaders. I thought you might be interested.”

               A Few Examples You May Find Helpful:

            - YouTube Resources on Overindulgence


            - University of Minnesota Extension Live Healthy - Live Well

            - 12 Risks of Overindulging 

            - 10 Instances When You Should Get Out of The Way to Be a Better Parent

            - How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Obsessed With ‘Stuff’

            - 7 Signs You Might Be A Helicopter Parent

3.  Start a conversation about overindulgence in the news, or in the community e.g., Affluenza, children suing Parents - Then provide her with some of the information in an article you read on overindulgence. Ask her if she thinks the information might be helpful to other families.

            A Few Examples You May Find Helpful:

            - Student blows $90K college fund, says parents didn’t teach her to budget

            - Kids of helicopter parents are sputtering out

            - Parenting/TODAY moms survey: Are your children spoiled?

            - Handout: Three Ways of Overindulging

            - Handout: How to Say No to Your Kids

            - YouTube:

4.  Invite her to a lecture, class or on-line class. “I found this on-line class on ‘Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence.’ Would you like to take it with me?”

5.  Give second hand information. “My friend Sara told me about how one of her friends started Saturday morning household tasks time. She creates a list of chores that she wants done, 3 household tasks per person. The first child down on Saturday morning gets first pick. The first child done with the tasks for the day gets to pick a family fun activity from a list the parents provide for the day. There may be a trip to the zoo, movie and popcorn night, yard games, a bike ride. My friend says the kids look forward to household task time. They think the contests are fun.”


Jean Illsley Clarke

Author of  How Much is Too Much? Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children – From Toddlers To Teens – In An Age of Overindulgence (2014, DaCapo Press Lifelong Books).

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