Growing up in an environment of excessive praise and indulgence can lead to entitlement, often manifesting itself in calling the police when someone doesn’t give them what they believe they are entitled to.
Praise was found to be an independent predictor of vulnerable and grandiose trait narcissism (for mothers only), as well as self-esteem, independent of parental warmth, rejection or overprotection. Indulgence and status were also uniquely linked with both types of trait narcissism but not self-esteem.
Why do we over praise our children?
Parents often assume that rewarding their children will boost their self-confidence and encourage them to try new things. Unfortunately, research has demonstrated that overusing praise can actually demotivate them and reduce motivation levels.
Carole Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, states that extolling children for their intelligence may discourage them from striving to improve upon it and even weaken their capacity for rebounding after failure. It can also have detrimental effects on those praised for their accomplishments.
Instead, Dweck advocates for rewarding children for their hard work. She found that children who had put in effort on a task were much more motivated to complete it than those praised simply for being smart.
Maintaining this balance can be challenging, but it’s essential for children to feel competent in a skill. The more children internalize the idea that they possess what it takes to succeed, the better equipped they will be to perform that activity in the future.
When complimenting your child’s accomplishments, use descriptive and specific language. This is especially crucial if the recipient of your praise is older as they may not respond well to sweeping statements or generalized praise.
Researchers have also observed that comparing your child to others can decrease their motivation levels. When you compliment a child’s achievement by saying something like, “Wow! You jumped in the water all by yourself when your friend couldn’t!” it may create an atmosphere of competition which prevents them from exploring and experimenting as much.
By incentivizing children to play it safe and opt for simpler tasks in the future, they may begin believing their talent is innate rather than develop over time. If kids learn that they cannot improve their skills through practice, they may begin believing their talent is undeveloped.
In today’s culture of praise, it can be easy to overlook the importance of providing our children with genuine feedback about their performance. But this feedback shouldn’t just be words – it should also include tone of voice, eye contact and genuine engagement during praise sessions.
How do we overindulge our children?
Living in an environment of excessive praise and indulgence can be detrimental to a child’s mental health. While it may be challenging to comprehend why we do this, oftentimes it comes from good intentions and the desire to ensure our kids are contented and healthy.
Jean Illsley Clarke, a psychologist and author of more than 20 parenting books, notes that many parents do this unintentionally. Based on her work with more than 10 research studies, she believes overindulgence occurs across all income levels with severe consequences for both children and adults alike.
She refers to this behavior as “overindulgence,” where a child is given more than they need for growth and development. This could include providing them with unnecessary items that cost money, not expecting them to do chores, or doing things for them that they should be able to manage on their own such as doing their own homework.
Silverstein suggests that parental guilt may manifest itself if parents work long hours and don’t have time to discipline their kids properly. They may attempt to make up for lost time by giving their kids everything they desire in the hope that their kids won’t notice or realize the errors of their ways.
Overindulging can have serious repercussions for individuals, causing emotional issues and behavioral difficulties throughout their lifetime. It could potentially tangle up their relationships at home, school and work; additionally it may make them ungrateful and materialistic in nature.
If your child has shown any of these signs, it’s wise to talk with your family about what can be done about it. Start small and focus on one area at a time – such as bedtime or what you spend money on – for positive change.
Overindulgence can be difficult for parents to recognize, but it’s worth the time and effort. Once you understand why it occurs, you can work to prevent it in the future. Here are five tips to help you do just that:
What are the consequences of overpraise and overindulgence?
Over-praise and indulgence in childhood can have a significant psychological effect. It may lead to feelings of inadequacy, making children feel like they don’t measure up, which in turn may contribute to mental health disorders and social skills deficits.
Research published recently by The Ohio State University suggests that while it may be commonplace to believe constant, unrealistic praise is the best way to motivate children, there is evidence suggesting this approach might actually be detrimental. According to their findings, both short-term and long-term harm has been caused by this practice.
The study revealed that overpraising children can increase their vulnerability to developing unstable, inflated self-esteem, entitlement, and narcissism. Furthermore, it may cause other issues like anxiety and depression, social isolation, or even suicidal thoughts.
Indulging is an act of over-praising that involves providing more attention and care than necessary. It also involves pursuing extrinsic, status-oriented goals (e.g., winning a sports contest or getting higher grades on tests).
These behaviors have been connected to a range of negative outcomes, such as depression, anxiety and self-esteem deficits. Yet it remains uncertain whether overpraising is responsible for these consequences or just the way in which parents engage in this practice.
The PISPS measures a unique set of parenting practices, and further research should explore these matters more deeply, such as by analyzing parent-child interaction patterns. Research should specifically look into the effects of parental overpraising and indulgence on children’s mental health. Additionally, researchers should explore other factors associated with parental overpraising and indulgence, such as parental overvaluation which has been linked to numerous positive outcomes (Wuyts, Vansteenkiste, Soenens & Assor, 2015). Ultimately, further exploration of the PISPS could be invaluable in aiding practitioners and clients understand which parenting behaviors may lead to optimal results.
How can we help our entitled children?
Growing up in an environment of excessive praise and indulgence can leave children feeling entitled to everything that comes their way. If you’re worried that your child may have developed a sense of entitlement, here are five strategies to help them avoid it.
1. Be a good listener to your child and their needs, even if you don’t agree with them.
By focusing on your child’s needs, they will come to appreciate and respect your relationship with them and the role you play in their lives. Your understanding will allow them to better negotiate challenging circumstances and set limits without feeling resentful.
2. Don’t indulge your child too much, particularly when it doesn’t serve their best interests.
Though it’s natural to want to spoil your child, if you go overboard it could lead to a spoiled child. Scorned children have difficulty learning gratitude for what they already possess and often develop an attitude of anger towards those who don’t give them everything they desire or need.
3. Teaching your child gratitude through practicing gratitude will help them appreciate all that they have and the gifts given them.
4. Exploring your family’s values will make it simpler to decide what fits within your budget.
5. Establish logical consequences for their behavior to promote compliance and reduce the likelihood of them acting out.
6. Wish fulfillment can be an effective tool in setting boundaries with your children, but you must remain consistent and accept that not all requests will be granted.
7. Teaching your kids generosity can help them develop an appreciation of what they have and not take everything for granted.
Gratitude can help your child develop empathy for others and make them more likely to be kind and caring towards those around them. It also reminds them that many people do not have the same material wealth as they do, which can inspire them to give back and be a responsible steward of their resources.