ParentTalk - A Blog Dedicated to Helping Parents Navigate Our Overindulgent World


Do What You Have To Do - So That You Can Do What You Want To Do! by David Bredehoft


I was listening to a TV interview recently and heard some very wise parenting advice from a well known Hollywood actor, Denzel Washington. “Do what you’ve got to do so that you can do what you want to do.”  (Click here to download a free PDF copy of this blog)

He continued, “Because it’s not the other way around. I was just talking about homework that day. They wanted to go out and play, I said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do, then you can do what you want to do. And then you’re free to do what you want to do - to a degree,”’ Washington explained.

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Positive Reinforcement 

Denzel may not have realized it, but he was using the time tested psychological principle of positive reinforcement. When something positive follows a behavior, it strengthens that behavior. In this case, the completion of homework was reinforced with the activity of play. “Do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do.” 

A word of caution. Some parents do it wrong, They give their children the positive reinforcement first and then expect them to do what they are suppose to do. They say, “That positive reinforecement suff doesn’t work!” Wrong! They got it backwards. The behavior first, then the reward. When the reward follows the behavior, the behavior is strengthened. It goes up! It is as simple as that.

Related: When to Parent Like a Vending Machine - When to Parent like a Slot Machine by David Bredehoft

Another thing I often hear from parents is, "I don’t want to reward my kids with candy or money.” Well, Denzel got it right again! Use activities instead, things that your children want to do. Make a list of all of the activities your children like to do. Use them. You can also expand your list by going to the Child Development Institute where you will find lists of age appropriate activities for preschoolers, elementary school children, and teenagers.


Parent Tapes

“Do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do.” reminds me of a  second psychological principle called Parent Tapes. We all have parent tapes. It’s like a recorder plays in our head. The voice over the recorder is usually of one or both of our parents. For me it is John”s voice (my dad), or Elsie’s voice (my mom). The tapes can be positive or negative. for example, “Look both ways before you cross the street.” “Remember who you are.” or  “Work before pleasure.” “You are a loser.” A message like“Do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do”  becomes a good parent tape when you say it over and over to your children. The plan is that they will replay this tape indefinately in their head and it will teach them good habits.


Teaching Good Habits

How do your teach your children the good habit of doing what they have to do before getting to do what they want to do? Unfortunately, we often con ourselves into believing that if we say it one time, or if we show our children how to do it one time, they have learned it! Not so. As the saying goes, repitition is the mother of all learning. So, just like any other important lesson you want your children to learn, “Do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do” has to be repeated over and over again! (see Reinventing the Habit Loop by Jenni and Jody for a quick primer on how to teach a habit to your child)

Second, I like the idea of assigning age appropriate chores to your children. As time passes and younger children are ready to assume a new job, have the older child teach the younger child how to do the chore and monitor it. This builds a team with everyone contributing to the family with a sense of pride and purpose.

Third, teach delayed gratification. A few examples:

1. CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH SELF-CONTROL IS CONSISTENTLY REWARDED.

2. MODEL SELF-CONTROL FOR YOUR CHILDREN.

3. TEACH CHILDREN TO USE DISTRACTIONS. 


Related: 10 Stratigies To Teach Delayed gratification By David Bredehoft


The Connection to Overindulgence

Participants in our research who were not overindulged as children were more likely to be “Patient Postponers” rather than “Instant Gratifiers”.


WHAT ARE PATIENT POSTPONERS LIKE?

  • Patient postponers are very task oriented.
  • They plan ahead and complete their work before they allow themselves to have fun.
  • They are never impulsive shoppers.
  • They almost always save for things they want rather than buy them on credit and pay for them later.
  • Patient postponers rarely get frustrated or angry when they have to wait for things or when others interfere with their plans.


WHAT ARE INSTANT GRATIFIERS LIKE?

  • Instant gratifiers are not task oriented.
  • They rarely plan ahead and routinely procrastinate. They put off the things they should do for the things that they really like doing.
  • They are impulsive shoppers. They want things now.
  • They never save for things they want; instead they buy them on credit and pay for them later.
  • Instant gratifiers routinely get frustrated and angry when they have to wait for things or when things do not go their way.


Related: Is Your Child An “Instant Gratifier” or A “Patient Postponer”  By David Bredehoft


“Do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do” is a very powerful message that you will want to teach your children. Thank you Denzel Washington for sharing this important message with us!


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


Photos from Wikimedia Commons

Our Children Are Back Home Living With Us Again!!!!!! A Contract For Young Adults Living At Home is What You Need! By David Bredehoft


Empty-Nesters No More!                           (Click here to download a free PDF copy of this blog) 

The holidays are a great time to catch up with family and friends. This year one thing that came to my attention was the increasing number of friends whose adult children had moved back home. Not one, two, three or four, but five now have millennials living with them at home. They thought they were empty-nesters BUT NO! To my surprise, adult children coming back home to live is becoming a very common living arrangement.

Our Children Are Grown But Now They Are Back Home Living  With Us Again!!!!!! Now What? By David Bredehoft www.overindulgence.info photo#1


Millennials Returning Home to Live in Record Numbers

According to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of census data, "living with a parent is the most common young adult living arrangement for the first time on record.” Male millennials are more likely to live at home with parents (35%) compared to females, but females are close behind (29%) and if trends continue  will catch up. The report finds that “for the first time in modern era, living with parents edges out other living arrangements for 18- to 34-year-olds.”  

Why is this becoming more common? The report suggest the following: 

1. Postponment of Marriage. Millennials are waiting much longer to get married.

2. Employment Status. Employed millennials are less likely to live at home with parents.

3. Falling Wages. When wages go down, more mellineals head home to live.

4. Level of Education. Fewer millennials with a college degree live at home.

5. The Great Recession and Modest Recovery. Unemployment and stagnant wages.

     I would also add to the list:

6. Greater Social Acceptance of and Lower Stigma towards living with parents.


The Confluence of Overindulgence and the Failure to Launch

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One pitfall for parents when adult children come home to live is overindulgence, especially overnurture and soft structure. This reminds me of the movie “Failure to Launch” in which Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw, parents of a their thirty someting young adult (Matthew McConaughey) hire an interventionist to help them get him out of the house. Mom and dad make it way too easy for their son by doing his laundry, cleaning his room (overnurture)  and not having a clear set of rules to follow (soft structure). It is very easy for both parent and child  to slip into old roles, parent-child roles that have evolved over time but may be outdated. You are still parent, but now your child is an adult and many of the old roles don’t work and as a result conflict happens! One solution is to sit down with your adult child and write a contract.



A Contract is What You Need

Rent, food, chores, alcohol, pets, and romantic relationships are only a few of the hotspot issues that can spark conflict between parents and an adult child returning home to live. Parents and children simply make assumptions about each other. Frequently they fail to raise these issues until conflict arises, and when it does habitually both parent and child fall back on old roles that don’t work. This situation calls for new roles for both parties. They need to negotiate a new set of rules for living with each other. Spell them out. Write them down on paper.  Agree and sign them! When parents do this, it is out there in black and white for everyone to see. Clear expectations and boundaries.

Our Children Are Grown But Now They Are Back Home Living  With Us Again!!!!!! Now What? By David Bredehoft www.overindulgence.info photo#2


Contracts For Young Adults Living At Home

There are numerous helpful resources for writing contracts at your fingertipps on the internet. Whichever one you use, they all have some common elements such as; (1) names, (2) dates of the contract, (3) rules about paying rent, chores such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, (3) having guests over and quite hours, (4) use of alcohol and tobacco, (5) and consequences if the contract is not being followed. One useful resource you should read before writing your first parent/child contract is “What To Do When An Adult Child Moves Back Home, Or Has Never Left” by the online parenting coach.


Examples of Parent/Child Contracts

1. Parent/child contract for an adult child living at home from Printablecontracts.com.  

2. Free printables for parents with an adult child at home from boomerangkidshelp.com.

3. Child Moving Back Home Contract from Printablecontracts.com.

4. YouTube:




A Difficult Task

Many parents find that writing a contract with their adult child can be a very challenging because many parents are use to being a caretaker, making sure that their children are always happy, and doing things for their children that they should be doing for themselves. If the task is too daunting I recommend hiring a parent coach.


What Is a Parent Coach?

"A parent coach is a highly-trained and knowledgeable professional whose primary role is to support and gently guide parents and caregivers as they deal with the challenges of raising healthy, happy, and successful children.” 



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).


Photos from MorgueFile free photo, Video from YouTube

Confession Is Good For the Soul by David Bredehoft


At the start of every New Year many people make resolutions, I on the other hand am more inclined to make a confession and receive absolution. You see, this is a very familiar ritual because my father was a Lutheran pastor. Each Sunday he led the congregation through the Lutheran liturgy; confession and absolution was part of that process. 

I agree with the Scottish proverb; “confession is good for the soul.”

ConfessionIsGoodForTheSoul www.overindulgence.info #1


                      The Overindulgent Parent’s Confession

Sometimes I wish I could wave my magic wand and change our entire overindulgent culture.

The problem is I don’t have a wand, and even if I did – the scope of the problem is too huge.

Instead, I have to remind myself that the only one I can change is me.

I haven’t been a perfect parent. I sometimes make mistakes. I forgive myself for those errors, and wipe the slate clean so that I may do better.

In doing better, I can set standards and expectations for my children. I can hold my children accountable. 

I am capable of saying “NO” when I need to. It is OK for me to set reasonable rules and expect my children to follow them.

I realize that experiencing unpleasant consequences, following rules they may not want to follow, and not getting what they want all of the time, are very important experiences that help children grow up to be healthy and responsible adults.

I am a capable parent!  (Click here to download a free copy).

ConfessionIsGoodForTheSoul www.overindulgence.info #3


Being a parent today, trying to raise children to be responsible and respectful is a very difficult job. And if this confession rings true for you, I encourage you to read it often. Say it out loud so that you hear yourself saying the words. Print it out and post it in a prominent place so that you see it every day


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


Photos from MorgueFile Free Photos



Ideas No. 41-50 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season By David Bredehoft


During the last number of weeks I shared 40 ideas to help parents curb overindulgence during the holidays. HERE ARE IDEAS 41-50 DESIGNED TO HELP STOP OVERINDULGING YOUR CHILDREN DURING THE HOLIDAYS. Please open your FaceBook Page and then click our share button in the upper right hand column of this page to share this with your friends. (click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

Click here for related story: Start Connecting and Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season - 10 Great Ideas by David Bredehoft


41. WATCH YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES AND MORE

Spend time with the people you love. Do things together as a family that you love to do. Decorate the house, play games, listen to holiday music, or watch a favorite holiday movie together like “White Christmas”, “Love Actually”, “The Holiday” or “A Christmas Story”. If you don’t own them check them out free from your local library or tape them on your DVR for playback at your convenience.

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42. SLOW DOWN

Savor your conversations with friends and family. Look for opportunities to sit and talk with neighbors and family, especially people you don’t see much of throughout the year. REMEMBER - SLOW DOWN.


43. PAY IT FORWARD

Share your time or money. Acts of kindness not only help others, they change your soul. Volunteer and help feed the homeless at a place like the Dorothy Day Center. “Adopt” an older person who’s alone during the holidays or invite  family to contribute to a charity like the “Heifer International”. Together you could buy a flock of chickens, or even a goat for a family in Africa.

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“Giving an animal is like giving someone a small business”  Heifer International


Click here for related story:  Ideas No. 11-20 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season by David Bredehoft


44. REMEMBER “ADVERTISING WORKS” LIMIT TV

Put limits on how much TV your children watch during the holidays! Advertising works. You are in control of how much TV your kids watch, and how many advertisements they see. Use the parental controls on your smart TVs. Make rules about TV watching and enforce and follow them. I encourage you to read and follow the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions in “Screen Time and Children - How to Guide Your Child.”


45. READ CLASSIC CHRISTMAS BOOKS TO YOUR CHILDREN

If you do not already own them, go to the library and check out a dozen or more children’s classic Christmas books such as The Polar Express by Chris Van Alsburg, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Rick Bunsen, and The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan Berenstain. For a list of additional titles check out Top SoKind Holiday Books for Children. Read a new one to your children each night before they go to bead. You and your children will enjoy the stories anew!


46. TAKE THE PLEDGE TO SIMPLIFY THE HOLIDAYS

Go to the simplifyholidays.org and take their pledge: “This holiday season, I pledge to focus on more of what matters and less of what doesn’t: More love and less waste…More fun and less stuff… More joy and less stress.” Check off 3 or more options specifically designed to help you follow this pledge.


Click here for related story:  Ideas No. 21-30 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season by David Bredehoft


47. GO ON A FAMILY POST CHRISTMAS SHOPPING TRIP

Christmas was a very busy time in the Bredehoft household when I was growing up largely because my dad was a Lutheran pastor and he had to conduct services Wednesday before Christmas, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Add to this holiday parties and my birthday on December 29……there was little time to shop for gifts for all of us. So mom and dad came up with a wonderful idea - a Family Post Christmas Shopping Trip! They gave each of us children a set amount of cash. Then on the fist shopping day after Christmas we hit the mall as a family. Deep discounts abounded! We got great bargains! Most of all we learned to stay within a budget! Afterward we headed home and had a wonderful time doing show and tell as a family! Submitted by David Bredehoft


48. DOWNLOAD THE “SIMPLIFY THE HOLIDAYS CALENDAR"

A wonderful resource for families is the Simplify the Holidays Calendar from The Center for a New American Dream. Each week has a theme like “Living Within Your Means” and More Love, Less Waste”. Within each week’s theme you will find specific suggestions like “curbing the gimmies” and “staying on a budget”. It is free, just download it.

Click on image to download this interactive calendar from New American Dream 


49. STOP UNWANTED JUNK MAIL

Everyone is inundated with catalogs and junk mail especially during the holiday season. They are trying to sell you things! One helpful idea is to stop the junk mail before it even arrives. Simplify Your Life and Stop the Junk Mail for Good.


Click here for related story:  Ideas No. 31-40 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season by David Bredehoft


50. REFOCUS ON THE REAL REASON FOR THE SEASON

Refocus on your true family’s values. No matter what your family’s traditions and values are, I think we all can agree on the following sentiment expressed by Hamilton Wright Mabie: 

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”


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).


Photos from Amazon, Heifer International, and The Center for a new American Dream

Ideas No. 31-40 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season By David Bredehoft


                                              (click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

The last three weeks I shared 30 ideas to help parents curb overindulgence during the holidays. HERE ARE IDEAS 31-40 DESIGNED TO HELP STOP OVERINDULGING YOUR CHILDREN DURING THE HOLIDAYS.


31. RE-GIFT TO OURSELVES

A few years ago we had a "lean" Christmas. So I told everyone that they had to find 3 things in the house that we had either never used or hadn't used in a long time - a book, game, puzzle, etc. Everyone dragged their feet - but once they got into it - we had LOTS of wrapped gifts under the tree and "re-gifted" them to ourselves. Our kids saw how much they already had and didn't need more. This is still something that we do each year. The kids are older and don't get all the gifts they used to get from relatives - so it makes them appreciate all they have and their "abundant" life. Submitted by Eileen Piersa & Steve Dahl

31-40 Ways to Help You Stop Overindulging this Holiday (3) www.overindulgence.info


32. SHARE 10 THINGS YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT EACH OTHER 

That same lean year we each wrote out 10 things we appreciate about each other and read them to each other on Christmas eve. It teaches the kids how to express their appreciation for others. Submitted by Eileen Piersa & Steve Dahl


Click here for related story: Start Connecting and Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season - 10 Great Ideas by David Bredehoft


33. MAKE MEMORIES RATHER THAN GETTING STUFF

Now that my kids are older - we talk about what is most important to them for traditions and then we do those. It changes as they get older. We are more into "making memories" than "stuff". It’s really nice. People ask me if I'm done shopping and I never really start. The kids write up a list - they get one "big" thing and then stocking stuffers. I don't buy for nieces and nephews anymore since they are all older. I'd rather give them a gift when I see them and enjoy it. Submitted by Eileen Piersa & Steve Dahl


Click here for related story:  Ideas No. 11-20 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season by David Bredehoft


34. ENGAGE IN FOREIGN TRAVEL

I curb overindulgence during the holidays by going each year to India where I can celebrate Christmas in a spiritual environment far away from the materialistic processes that occur here.  There I experience being happy and exceedingly grateful for the small piece of cake that my spiritual teacher personally gives us to commemorate the day.

31-40 Ways to Help You Stop Overindulging this Holiday (2) www.overindulgence.info


35. MAKE A MEMORY SCRAPBOOK FOR YOUR CHILDREN

I am giving each of my three children a scrapbook that I'm trying to catch up on -- for my second-grade son, it'll be his 1st grade scrapbook. For my middle child, who is in kindergarten, it'll be her baby book (which has been half finished for years now!) For my 15-month-old daughter, it'll be an album of her first year. I find it's helpful for me s a mom to have a deadline (Christmas Eve!). I imagine it will be fun to look through these books on Christmas Day, and the books will be treasures in years to come, too (I plan to give the kids books for each year of their life up until they graduate from high school). I hope to give them each scrapbooks on birthdays and Christmases from now on. Submitted by Molly Guthrey Millett


36. PRINT UP GIFT CERTIFICATES

Our daughter is the only child of two only children. So she has a lot of “stuff”. So we try to get her experiences instead throughout the year. We print up gift certificates to “a day of ice skating with two friends” or a “professional manicure”. This way, we don’t have to come up with all the money up front, making it so we don’t overspend, and we have fun things to do with her the entire year! Submitted by Candace Scott


37. VISIT YOUR LOCAL ART MUSEUM

As a family we always visit our local art museum and go through the “period rooms” which are decorated for Christmas. It gives us an opportunity to talk about how families from different times in history, some with more, some with less celebrate the holidays.


Click here for related story:  Ideas No. 21-30 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season by David Bredehoft


38. HAVE A SPECIAL BAKING DAY

Every year we designate a special “baking day”. The whole family bakes cookies and other holiday treats. I make it a point to bake my mother’s sugar cookie recipe written in her own hand and talk to my children about when I use to do the same with grandma. It is a wonderful generation touchstone. We bake enough that we give 5-6 dozen to the local soup kitchen.

31-40 Ways to Help You Stop Overindulging this Holiday (1) www.overindulgence.info


39. COUPONS WORTH AN HOUR OF UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

We spend time not money by making coupons for our children. Each coupon is worth an hour of our undivided attention. My children can trade them in any time during the year to do an activity of their choice, with the parent of their choice.


40. HAVE CHILDREN RESEARCH LOCAL CHARITIES

Value giving rather than receiving. Have your children research local charities and pick one they are most interested in. Have them decide on a dollar amount they are going to give the charity from their savings. Encourage it by making a pact with them that you will match their donation dollar for dollar.


Look for 10 more great ideas to come next week.


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).


Photos from MorgueFile free photo

Ideas No. 21-30 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season By David Bredehoft

                                       (click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

21. SAY “NO” TO SOME OF THE HOLIDAY INVITATIONS

We decided to say "no" to a lot of the invitations and activities of the season. We decided what the most important things about the holiday season were and then selected one adult-only activity for the month of December, and prioritized the rest of the family activities. Submitted by Bonnie Buckley

21-30 Ways to Help You Stop Overindulging this Holiday (1 ) www.overindulgence.info


Click here for related story: Start Connecting and Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season - 10 Great Ideas by David Bredehoft

22. MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

Make a new year's resolution to overindulge your children less this year and to reread “How Much is Too Much?" to understand what to do instead. Submitted by David Bredehoft


23. READ UNPLUG THE CHRISTMAS MACHINE

I'd recommend the book Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season by Jo Robinson, Jean C. Staeheli.  An especially good time to read it is right after the holidays when everything is fresh in your mind and there is time to evaluate how things went for your family and reflect on what you might want to do next year. Submitted by Bonnie Buckley


24. CREATE A GIFT SUGGESTION NOTEBOOK

When my youngest son was 3 1/2 he wanted everything he saw or heard about during the holiday advertising bonanza. He would come running to show me the latest item in a catalog or to tell me about an item from a TV ad. At first I tried to reason with him about the pluses and minuses of each item and to remind him of the limit our family had on presents. I quickly realized that this strategy was not working. Instead, I got a little notebook and started writing down each of his suggestions. He still came running to me several times a day with a new gift item but was satisfied to have me add this to his list. He didn't really want all these things; he just wanted me to listen to his ideas. When the holiday rolled around, we had nearly filled the little notebook with gift possibilities. Yet he was happy with those few special things that he actually received. Submitted by Kathie L. Dormanen

21-30 Ways to Help You Stop Overindulging this Holiday (2) www.overindulgence.info


25. MAKE PUTTING UP HOLIDAY DECORATIONS SPECIAL

Make the time you spend putting up holiday decorations a time to spend with the family in doing so choose to make it a fun family activity rather then a holiday duty or chore. Submitted by Leanne Weyrauch


26. MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER

We make our own wrapping paper with inexpensive roll paper, sponge shapes and paint. Submitted by Cindy Gardner


Click here for related story:  Ideas No. 11-20 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season by David Bredehoft


27. PLAN WAYS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY TO CARE FOR OTHERS

First, take half or more of the money that would normally be spent on presents in the family and spend it on presents for those in need. Going shopping could be a family event. Second, draw names for Christmas in the family and put a limit on the amount of money spent. Third, give back to the community: soup kitchens, habitat for humanity, United Way, etc. Submitted by Melissa Melby


28. WATCH FAVORITE MOVIES ALL DAY

One of my son's favorite holidays is when we watched movies all day and just ate pizza and sat by the fire. Works for me - don't need to spend the day in the kitchen making a meal nobody really wants. Submitted by Eileen Piersa & Steve Dahl

21-30 Ways to Help You Stop Overindulging this Holiday (3) www.overindulgence.info


29. LOWER STRESS BY STAYING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

We also decided that visiting all the far away relatives was very stressful on our family and children at Christmas. It was such an exciting time for the kids and then all the travel just about put everyone over the edge. So, we decided that the relatives were welcome to visit us at the holidays and that we would travel to visit them in the summer when we had more time and excitement was less intense (also the weather was better!). Submitted by Bonnie Buckley


30. CREATE A CULTURE OF KINDNESS IN YOUR HOME

Teach by example. Children learn what they see. Show kindness. Look for opportunities to demonstrate kindness. Talk about kindness. A quote by Steven Walton says it all, “By role modeling kindness and encouraging them to open their hearts to others and act kind at all times they will develop an unconscious habit that will become second nature to them.”


Look for 10 more great ideas to come next week.


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).


Photos from MorgueFile free photo

Ideas No. 11-20 to Help You Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season By David Bredehoft


Last week I shared the first 10 of 50 ideas to help parents curb overindulgence during the holidays. This is important because many parents and grandparents are concerned that children are getting way too many gifts during the holidays? HERE ARE IDEAS 11-20 TO HELP STOP OVERINDULGING YOUR CHILDREN DURING THE HOLIDAYS.

                                         (click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

Please open your FaceBook Page and then click our share button in the upper right hand column of this page to share this with your friends.


Click here for related story: Start Connecting and Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season - 10 Great Ideas by David Bredehoft


11. DON’T GO INTO DEBT

No one should go into debt in an effort to celebrate the holidays. Set a realistic budget. Let your children participate in the process. Give each child a budget to follow for gifts they will purchase for others. An extra bonus…..teaching your children money management skills!

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12. BECOME AN ADVENT ANGEL

One idea our family will be trying out this year is called "Advent Angels." Each person in the family draws another person's name. He or she becomes that person's Advent Angel during the Advent Season. The advent angel is to do kind things for his or her person without letting that person know who is doing it. For example John might make Julia's bed for her before she is able to do it. Or, Jay might empty the dishwasher for John even though it isn't on his job chart at that time. On Christmas Eve we will reveal who is each person’s Advent Angel and the Angel will give that person a home made gift. We hope that this will emphasize the idea of giving is as fun as receiving and giving from yourself is better than giving gifts of monetary value. The children will also get to work individually with mom or dad on making the homemade gift for their person. Submitted by Lynn Baldus


13. CHOOSE A CHARITY OF YOUR CHOICE

A few years ago our extended family decided that instead of drawing names for gift giving we, would each contribute to a charity of our choice and talk about it at our family Christmas gathering. This has worked well for us!  Submitted by Lenore Bayuk


14. FOLLOW THE 3 WISE MEN

In our family we follow the example led by the 3 Wise Men. They each brought baby Jesus a gift, thus he received 3 gifts. We give each of our children 3 gifts for Christmas (plus some little stocking stuffers.) Family and friends will be giving them gifts, too, so there is no need for us to go overboard. If there is something specific I want for them to get I might suggest it to my sister or Mom who would be getting them something anyway. My boys are little now, but we figure if we start this tradition now they won’t know any different later on!  Submitted by Andrea Jones

saw 12.


15. ENJOY THE HOLIDAY LIGHTS

We take different routes home in the dark to see the lights on different streets and houses. Submitted by Cindy Gardner


16. TOY CARE PACKAGE

Take the opportunity to have the children go through their toys and books. We all have things that are just like new but we are tired of. And then prepare a "care package" for a needy family and involve the children in leaving it on the family's doorstep.


17. BECOME A HOLIDAY VOLUNTEER

Work at a local soup kitchen/shelter serving a meal during the holiday season, or volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home. Submitted by Barb Clare


18. GRANDPARENT EDUCATION FUND

Request that grandparents and others put money into an education fund instead of buying too many toys. Education funds, ideally, can be used to cover sports, music, theatre, other lessons, and summer camps that broaden the horizons of children and youth, but drain family budgets.

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19. MONEY FOR MEMBERSHIPS

I use money from grandparents to buy Zoo/Museum annual memberships instead of more toys. Submitted by Debra K. O'Fallon


20. HELP CHILDREN TO BECOME A GIVER

Even young children can be involved in making cards, small gifts and remembrances for the adults in their lives. Perhaps the best way of avoiding the holiday “gimmees” is to help the child become a giver, not just a taker.


Look for 10 more great ideas to come next week.


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).


Photos from MorgueFile free photo

Start Connecting and Stop Overindulging Your Children This Holiday Season - Ideas 1-10 by David Bredehoft


The majority of parents think that we buy way too many gifts for our children each Christmas. This is true for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa too! If you are one of the concerned parents or grandparents I am going to share 10 ideas a week for the next five weeks to help you. Many of these ideas have been submitted by our readers. Use the ones that work for you and your family; save the rest for some later date. Please open your FaceBook Page and then click our share button in the upper right hand column of this page to share this with your friends. Here are my first ten ideas.

                                         (click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

Christmas


1. CHOOSE A FAMILY GIFT

Each year on the 25 days leading to Christmas we open a gift as a family. That gift is one of the kids’ books. I wrap 25 of their favorite books (that we already own) and we open one each day as a family. The kids rotate on who gets to open the gift each day. It’s a great way to make sure we are spending time together as a family during the craziness of the holidays and the kids also see that a gift does not have to be something just purchased but also can be the treasures we have within the house. Submitted by Natalie Laski


2. MAKE GIFTS FOR EACH OTHER

Have your children make gifts for each other. My children did this last year getting ideas from books in the library and using materials found at home. They still talk about the gifts they made and received from each other with a sense of pride. Submitted by Debra K. O’Fallon


3. SHARE THREE THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT EACH OTHER

When it is time to decorate the tree, have each family member choose three ornaments. As each family member tells three blessings they have received during the year as they hang the ornaments on the tree - continue until the tree is decorated by telling three favorite memories from the year, three biggest accomplishments, and three things you like about each family member. Submitted by Leanne Weyrauch


4. MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU WANT TO DO TOGETHER AS A FAMILY

Instead of making lists of things we each want to get, we all sit down at Thanksgiving and make lists of things we each want to do together as a family during the holiday season. Each person "gets" at least three or four things on his/her list; e.g., old movie night, or Monopoly marathon, or cross-country skiing at night. This also helps instill those family traditions (my daughter’s list always includes watching It's a Wonderful Life and having fondue) and helps to emphasize that what we value most is our time together.


5. MAKE A TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF “ENOUGH”

I talk about "enough" and take opportunities to point out to my children when I've had "enough". Like, "This food is so delicious and I've had enough. I'm glad there'll be leftovers for later." or "I might want everything in my collection, but right now, it's enough to enjoy this one new addition." I let "Is that enough?" be a common question in my household. Submitted by Leanne Sponsel

happy-hanukkah


6. EACH NIGHT OF HANUKAH WE GIVE TO A DIFFERENT CHARITY 

I noticed how my kids got so focused on themselves - on GETTING - over the holidays, so we started using half of the days of Hanukah to focus on giving. Every other night we do a "mitzvah" - bringing food to the local Ronald McDonald house, jump ropes to the neighborhood public school after school program, homemade book marks to the elderly, etc. Submitted by Jenni Watts Evans


7. LIGHT MENORAH CANDLES AND USE IT AS FAMILY TIME

Although my family and I are not Jewish, I like the tradition of making the time that candles burn be family time. We have a menorah and light the candles, and play a game, talk, or cook together while the candles burn down (takes about an hour). Submitted by Caroll Lothrop.


8. MODEL ACTS OF KINDNESS

We make a special effort to model doing acts of kindness - shoveling a neighbor’s walk, inviting a single person to a holiday dinner, offering the mail carrier a cup of hot chocolate, tipping people who don't normally receive tips - like the cashier at the parking lot.


9. HAVE A TOO MUCH STUFF DAY

We have a 'too much stuff' day prior to the holidays. This is the day they look through their toys and ‘stuff' and figure out what they can give away.


10. CELEBRATE A FAMILY TRADITION DAY

We make sure that we have some traditions that the children will remember and look forward to. Since we are Swedish, we celebrate St. Lucy's Day, and it is very low-key but fun. Submitted by Cindy Gardner

Lucia-13.12.06

Celebration of Saint Lucy’s Day in a Lutheran church (2006). By Claudia Gründer (Claudia Gründer) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Look for 10 more great ideas to come next week.


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).


Photos from MorgueFile free photo and Wikimedia Commons

Affluenza vs. Overindulgence. What’s the Difference? by David Bredehoft

                                                                             

 Affluenza vs. overindulgence what's the difference www.overindulgence.info

Some call it Affluenza. Some call it spoiling. WE CALL IT CHILDHOOD OVERINDULGENCE! What’s the difference? Or are we just talking semantics? I don’t think so. Words and ideas really do matter. Let me take a moment to define each and point out some important differences.

            (click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

            DEFINITION OF AFFLUENZA

Affluenza: “A psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.”

The term affluenza dates to the 1970’s and is a blend of two words affluent and influenza. The term was popularized by an Oregon Public Broadcasting TV special, a book titled “Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic”, and by Ethan Couch who at age 16 drove drunk killing four people and injuring a total of nine. His attorney successfully argued that he had affluenza and needed rehabilitation instead of prison. He has since become the poster-boy for the term “affluenza.”

                                                        DEFINITION OF SPOILING

Spoiled Brat: “A spoiled childspoiled brat, or simply a brat is a derogatory term aimed at children who exhibit behavioral problems from being overindulged by their parents.” This term is most often used to describe a child’s behavior, one who is acting out or throwing a temper tantrum. Tantrums occur most often in young children and tend to decrease with age. 


                                      DEFINITION OF CHILDHOOD OVERINDULGENCE

Three Ways of overindulging

Overindulgence is giving children too much, too long or too soon so that it keeps them from doing their developmental tasks and creates risks for their adult lives. It is done in three ways.

Too Much

Too much pf anything- food, clothing, lessons, sports, entertainment, attention, anything that is over the top. Leads to lack of appreciation.

Overnurture

Call it spoiling, helicopter parenting, or by any name that tells you someone is doing things for children that they should be doing for themselves. Leads to helplessness.

Soft Structure

Lax boundaries. No rules or rules not enforced. Low expectations. Leads to irresponsibility.


HOW IS CHILDHOOD OVERINDULGENCE DIFFERENT FROM AFFLUENZA AND SPOILING?

The concept of overindulgence, as we define it, is more comprehensive than either the terms of affluenza or spoiling. Here are some additional differences.


1. Affluenza sounds like an official medical condition or ailment, but it is not. You won”t find the term affluenza in any medical dictionary.

2. Affluence or wealth does not “cause” the condition affluenza. An argument can be made that there are many people who are wealthy or came from affluent families who were not overindulged. Our research has shown that overindulgence is caused from a continuous pattern of behavior (see three ways above) on the part of parents and other people who care for children.

3. The term “spoiled child” is a derogatory term, whereas the term overindulgence is not.

4. Being “spoiled rotten” usually refers to a child’s tantrum or inappropriate behavior. Childhood overindulgence originates from some unresolved issue a parent is struggling with. For example, “I feel guilty because I work too much and never see my children.” “My oldest child died and I am scared something terrible will happen to my other children.” “Our divorce is final and I don’t have custody. I only get to see them every once in a while.”

5. Childhood overindulgence can occur in functional and dysfunctional families.

6. Childhood overindulgence occurs in one, two, or all three ways.

7. Research on the effects of affluenza and spoiling is hard to find, in contrast there is a growing body of scientific research on childhood overindulgence.


CONCLUSION

Use the term “Childhood Overindulgence” in place of “Affluenza” or “Spoiling?


Learn more about overindulgence and how it affects children by getting your copy today: How Much is Too Much? Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children – From Toddlers To Teens – In An Age of Overindulgence (2014, DaCapo Press Lifelong Books).


Photos courtesy of MorgueFile free photo


5 Things Grandparents Can Do Instead of Overindulging Their Grandchildren by David Bredehoft

                                                                               

Do grandparents have a right to overindulge their grandchildren?

www.overindulgence.info 5 Gifts Grandparents Can Give

If not, what can they do instead that is much better for them? I often hear them say:

“She’s my favorite grandchild. I have a right to spoil her if I want to! I don’t see a problem with that!”

“Why shouldn’t I give my grandchild everything he wants? I have the money to do it, and besides, I enjoy it and he really likes it!

What’s the harm in overindulging my grandchild?” 

There is harm!

(click here to download a free pdf copy of this blog)

Click here for a related story: What’s the Harm In Overindulging Anyway?


Here are a few of the RISKS your grandchildren face as a result of being overindulged.

As adults:

ü They grow up believing they are the center of the universe.

ü They develop a disrespectful attitudes.

üThey become helpless, as a result of not knowing skills they need to function as adults.

ü They grow up with a overblown sense of entitlement.

ü They are irresponsible, feel ungrateful and unhappy.


Click here for a related story: Grandparents Are Worried About Overindulgence


WHAT CAN GRANDPARENTS DO INSTEAD OF OVERINDULGING THEIR GRANDCHILDREN? 

Here are five suggestions.


1. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

Often grandparents fail to state clear expectations for their grandchildren and are upset when they fail to live up to expectations. Being straight forward and clear about your expectations is the best policy. Remember, your grandchildren are not mind readers  You need to be very clear with your expectations. For example: State them up front.

                                          SCENARIO 1

5 things grandparents can do instead of overindulging by David Bredehoft www.overindulgence.info

üYour 5-year-old granddaughter comes over to your house. You have several clear plastic boxes filled with toys she likes to play with. She takes out every toy and has a great time playing with them, but neglects to pick them up and put them back in the boxes. Consequently, she leaves you with a big mess to clean up. You think to yourself, “How irresponsible children are today!” Instead, the next time she comes over you need to say,

”I have a new rule. If you are going to play with grandpa’s toys, you need to pick them up and put them back where you found them when you are done.”

At first she will need reminders of your new rule. The reminders will help her adjust to your new expectations. After a while it will become second nature for her to put things back where she got them when she is finished.

                                          SCENARIO 2

üInstead of getting upset with your teenage grandchildren for not engaging in conversation at the dinner table because they are on their smartphones…..Make a rule. “No smartphones at the dinner table.” 

If you don’t want your teenage grandchildren to use their smart phones at the dinner table, NO EXCEPTIONS, place a basket on a side table and tell everyone (including the adults) to put their phones in the basket. “NO phones until the meal is over and everyone is done."

                                         SCENARIO 3

ü If you loan your 23-year-old grandson your car, and expect that he return it with a full tank of gas, make this clear from the outset. Instead of not saying anything about it, or worse, giving him a weak expectation like, “It would be nice if you filled the tank before you return it.” Say, “I expect that you will fill the car with gas before you return it.”

Remember, you are help your grandchildren by being clear and stating your expectations.


2. SHARE YOUR STORIES

Every afternoon I came home from school to find Grandpa Bredehoft smoking his pipe on our front porch (Grandpa and Grandma Bredehoft pictured below). Taking the empty chair next to him, he would ask how my day was and then begin to tell me and my brothers stories.

Grandpa and Grandma Bredehoft www.overindulgence.info

He was a wonderful storyteller! He told me tall tales of his youth, most I still remember today! In these stories he gave the gift of himself, more precious than any toy he could have given me! Stories that have lasted my lifetime. Stories that taught me about character. Stories that shared his cherished values. Stories that had a moral center to them. (read My Grandpa, written by me for a grade school assignment)

Instead of showering your grandchildren with gifts that fall apart, get lost, or quickly lose their interest…….share your stories     Your stories will last your grandchildren’s lifetime.  (Photo above: My grandparents John and Emma Bredehoft)


3. SHARE YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY OR PASTIME 

Do you have a favorite hobby or pastime that you are passionate about? If so, share it with your grandchildren! If you love it, they will love it especially when they are small.

Grandparents bird watching www.overindulgence.info

Maybe your hobby or favorite pastime is quilting, stamp collecting, photography, gardening, looking for fossils, scrapbooking, painting, canning, dancing, sewing, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, magic, antiquing, art collecting, reading, ice skating, or bird watching. If you love it, they will love it too.

These shared moments with your grandchildren will last forever.

(Photo: My father-in-law Gene Shepherd with scope birdwatching)                              Take plenty of pictures! Share the 

                                                                                               moments together!


4. MODEL YOUR CHERISHED VALUES

Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk! Whether we realize it or not, we all have cherished values. Ideas and beliefs that we hold near and dear.

Do you know what your values are? If not, follow these 6 steps from MindTools to decide what’s most Important in your life.

Grampa John Bredehoft with granddaugher Jennifer www.overindulgence.info

Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest

Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud

Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied

Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment

Step 5: Prioritize your top values                 (Photo above: My father John Bredehoft with his granddaughter Jennifer)

Step 6: Reaffirm your values

Remember, your grandchildren are watching. What’s more powerful, words or actions? The old adage is true, “Actions speak louder than words!”

Don’t just TALK THE TALK when it comes to your cherished values, WALK THE WALK!


5. START A COLLEGE FUND

One thing a grandparent can do instead of overindulging their grandchildren (Too Much, Overnurture, & Soft Structure) is to start a college fund. Instead of sending them money that gets spent on what you might consider as frivolous things, set up a college fund. Yes, it won’t be seen by your grandchild as “cool” as the latest and greatest hot toy every other kid wants, but come college time it will be a welcome choice: (1) money from a college loan to be paid off over twenty years or (2) money from the college fund? Which do you think they will choose and be very happy about then?

www.Overindulgence.info bredehoft@csp.edu

Do your homework. A good place to start your homework is by reading an article in the New York Times by John F. Wasik, “The Best Way to Help a Grandchild With College”, May 27, 2016.

You will find four new chapters focusing on grandparents and overindulgence in our book. 

Chapter 29. When Momma Says No, I Call 1-800 Grandma: For Parents Dealing with Grandparents Who          

(Photo above: My mother Elsie Bredehoft with grandsons Joe and Michael)      Overindulge - The Grandparent Gene.

Chapter 30. From infants To Adults: Grandparents Can Overindulge Family Members of Any Age.

Chapter 31: Grandparents Who Want to Spoil but Can’t: The Parents Beat Them to It.

Chapter 32: Now I'm a Grandparent, What Am I Suppose to Do? Give Me a Job Description.


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


Photos courtesy of MorgueFile free photo and David Bredehoft.


© David J. Bredehoft, Jean Illsley Clarke & Connie Dawson 2004-2017;  bredehoft@csp.edu, jiconsults@aol.com