Unseen Passage: Childhood Overindulgence

Too many parents these days can’t say no. As a result, they find themselves raising children who respond greedily to the advertisements aimed right at them. Even getting what they want doesn’t satisfy some kids; they only want more. Now, a growing number of psychologists, educators and parents think it’s time to stop the madness and start teaching kids about what’s really important: values like hard work, contentment, honesty and compassion. The struggle to set limits has never been tougher – and the stakes have never been higher. One recent study of adults who were overindulged as children, paints a discouraging picture of their future: when given too much too soon, they grow up to be adults who have difficulty coping with life’s disappointments. They also have a distorted sense of entitlement that gets in the way of success in the work place and in relationships.

Psychologists say that parents who overindulge their kids, set them up to be more vulnerable to future anxiety and depression. Today’s parents themselves raised on values of thrift and self-sacrifice, grew up in a culture where ‘no’ was a household word. Today’s kids want much more, partly because there is so much more to want. The oldest members of this Generation Excess were born in the late 1980s, just as PCs and video games were making their assault on the family room. They think of MP3 players and flat-screen TVs as essential utilities, and they have developed strategies to get them. One survey of teenagers found that when they crave something new, most expect to ask nine times before their parents give in. By every measure, parents are shelling out record amounts. In the heat of this buying blitz, even parents who desperately need to say no find themselves reaching for their credit cards.

Today’s parents aren’t equipped to deal with the problem. Many of them, raised in the 1960s and ’70s, swore they’d act differently from their parents and have closer relationships with their own children. Many even wear the same designer clothes as their kids and listen to the same music. They even work more hours; so at the end of a long week, it’s tempting to buy peace with a ‘yes’ and not mar precious family time with conflict. Anxiety about the future is another factor. How do well-intentioned parents say no to all the sports gear and arts and language lessons they believe will help their kids thrive in an increasingly competitive world? Experts agree: too much love won’t spoil a child. Too few limits will.

What parents need to find, is a balance between the advantages of an affluent society and the critical life lessons that come from waiting, saving and working hard to achieve goals. That search for balance has to start early. Children need limits because they feel better and more secure when they live within a secured structure. Older children learn self-control by watching how others, especially their parent’s act. Learning how to overcome challenges, is essential to becoming a successful adult. Few parents ask kids to do chores. They think their kids are already overburdened by social and academic pressures. Every individual can be of service to others, and life has meaning beyond one’s own immediate happiness. That means parents eager to teach values have to take a long, hard look at their own.

Q. Answer the following:

  1. What values do parents and teachers want children to learn?
  2. What are the results of giving the children too much too soon?
  3. Why do today’s children want more?
  4. What is the balance which the parents need to have in today’s world?
  5. What is the necessity to set limits for children?
  6. Pick out words from the passage that mean the same as the following:
    1. A feeling of satisfaction (para 1)
    2. Valuable (para 3)
    3. Important (para 4)

Answers

  1. Teachers and parents want children to learn values like hard work, contentment, honesty and compassion.
  2. Giving children too much too soon brings its own ill-effects as they grow up to be adults who experience difficulty in coping up with life’s disappointments. They also have a distorted sense of entitlement that hinders their success at work place and in relationships.
  3. Children of present time want more because of the increasing desire, and because there are so many things to want.
  4. In today’s world, there is an exigent need for parents to strike a balance between the advantages of an affluent society and the critical life lessons that come from waiting, saving and working hard to achieve goals.
  5. There is a necessity to set limits for children because they feel better and more assured when they live within a secured structure.
  6. Words are:
    1. Contentment
    2. Precious
    3. Essential.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.