The co-author of a parenting book recently warned an audience at Orange High School about the dangers of overindulging children.
“There’s three kinds of overindulgence: too much, over nurture, and soft structure,” said David Bredehoft on Sept. 16 during a talk hosted by the Olentangy Local Schools’ Parent Programs Team.
The talk was based on the book “How Much is Too Much: Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children — from Toddlers to Teens — in an Age of Overindulgence,” co-written by Bredehoft, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson.
Bredehoft is a psychology professor at Concordia University in Minnesota.
Too much overindulging includes over-scheduling and an excess of toys; over-nurturing was when parents did things that the child should do themselves; and soft structure involved no rules from parents. In some cases, the parents overindulged their children because they may have had just the opposite experience when they grew up, or are feeling guilt.
Bredehoft said these forms of overindulgence led to behavioral issues for the children. Among the problems were disrespect, trained helplessness, irresponsibility, ingratitude, money management issues, being less spiritual and thinking they are the center of the universe.
“It is more challenging to raise kids than ever before,” he said, citing the bombardment of advertising and brand placement that children are subjected to.
He showed clips from three films to show different ways of parenting. The authoritarian character played by Robert Duvall in “The Great Santini” and Robin Williams’ permissive dad in the beginning of “Mrs. Doubtfire” were contrasted with the authoritative father played by Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Among the handouts given to parents was on ways to correct the overindulgence. They included: assigning age-appropriate chores; learning to say “no;” and deciding which rules are negotiable.
“Change only one thing at a time. Once you’ve done that, move on to something else that needs changed,” Bredehoft said to the audience. Making a reference to the late Minnesota Twins baseball great Kirby Puckett, he added, “You only need to raise your batting average to .300.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.