6 Tips to Avoid Overindulging Children

On many occasions, parents give their children everything they ask for. But if we do this, we may actually be harming their development. Here are some tips to avoid overindulging your children.
6 Tips to Avoid Overindulging Children

Last update: 27 February, 2021

All parents, for one reason or another, sometimes fall into the trap of giving our children everything they ask for. We think that, in this way, they’ll be happier, and that if we don’t, we aren’t showing our affection. In this article, we’ll talk about some tips to avoid overindulging children.

“I want to watch three movies this afternoon”, “Buy me this…”, “I want that toy”, “Let me have the tablet”… and the list continues. When you give in to these little demands in order to avoid tantrums, tears, or embarrassment in front of other people, you do more harm than good.

If we accede to all these or other requests, despite believing otherwise, we’re hindering their development. By overindulging our children and avoiding their frustration, we make them spoiled .

Why are children demanding and selfish at times?

At certain ages, it’s normal for children to be very demanding and selfish. During the early years, young children are driven by an instinct to have ownership. For example, even if they’re not theirs, they’ll want to have objects that attract their attention, no matter who they belong to. They attach security and confidence to possessing what they like.

Once the “Oedipus complex” stage is overcome, children begin to acquire values and moral rules taught by their parents. These rules help them control selfish behavior and learn about responsibility and empathy.

6 Tips to Avoid Overindulging Children

Tips to avoid overindulging children

Plan goals

You should respect their routine, homework, and schoolwork. It’s very important that children have all of their days organized, as this will regulate their time distribution so they can do the activities they want to do during that day.

Manage frustration to avoid overindulging children

Children get anxious and irritable when they can’t do something, and that’s when parents give them a treat to calm them down. But we should resist the temptation to do this. It’s better to give them something that relaxes them, such as a toy, reading time, playing together… Anything that will take their mind off the idea.

Use educational consequences

These consequences are an alternative to punishment, but in a more positive way. In this way, children learn what they’ve done wrong and how to repair the damage they’ve caused with their behavior.

Explain the difference between need and want

Children don’t yet have the mental capacity to understand certain concepts, so, through drawings, stories, or examples, you can explain to them the differences between wanting something because they like it and needing something for their health and wellbeing.

Teach the value of things in order to avoid overindulge children

One of the best ways to combat their innate selfishness is to teach them to appreciate what they have. Encourage them to use more of their things and to give toys they don’t use to other children who may not be able to have as much due to different circumstances.

Ask why they want it

If we know the reasons why the child has asked for something, we’ll know if it’s a whim or if they have a good reason to want it. You can ask them these questions to probe why they want it: “Can you have it later?” “Does it replace something else?”

6 Tips to Avoid Overindulging Children

Consequences of overindulging children


If children have it all, they end up getting lost in the crowd. Sometimes it’s beneficial for children to learn to deal with frustration so that they can hold their own in society.

Depression in adolescence

As the child grows older, their level of demand also increases. They’ll no longer want a toy, but a high-end computer or tablet. If they don’t get it, they may well become aggressive and fail to master their emotions. Therefore, by indulging them, you’re only raising depressed teenagers.

Intolerant people

Frustration is a process that children have to experience as a way of learning. If you spoil your little one too much, you’ll be raising an intolerant person. As a result, in the future, they won’t know how to make an effort to get what they want and that their efforts will lead to a reward that they won’t get any other way.

As you can see, it’s very important to avoid overindulging children. This doesn’t mean not giving gifts, but rather, teaching children to work for things and take responsibility for their actions. A spoiled child can be a dependent adult and base relationships on interest alone to satisfy their whims. It’s important that we avoid spoiling our kids so that today’s children will be healthy adults tomorrow.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.