Posts Tagged ‘Pampering’

Too often, a well-meaning parent brings her adult child to our office because of some incident at college. Nothing out of the ordinary, other than the everyday challenges we all have to meet. These adults or dropping out of college. They lack the confidence and willingness to struggle with the challenges of life. They are often overly protected children who think that the problems they now face or unfair and some one else should solve them.

How did we get into this predicament?

For the past 17 or 18 years of their life, they have had some one wake them up, remind them to do their home work, resolve conflicts at school with teachers or other kids, pick up after them at home, put their dirty dishes away, and basically watch every step they take creating a very dangerous situation. Many times these young people were above average in school, sports, and popularity. The pampering, followed by the feeling of being “special” make it even harder for them to be ordinary citizens on a college campus, where all the kids are use to doing well.

These well meaning parents mistake indulgence as “love”. They set out from the time the child is born to meet every need and desire. This does not create a self-reliant human being but a tyrant. In contrast, the well-informed parent is not concern about the child’s needs but instead teaching the child to be concerned about others. The well-informed parent moves the interest off the child onto mom, to dad, their marriage, expands this to brother and sister, the extended family, and finally the community. A child raised in such a manner has the capability of leaving home and meeting the difficulties he or she will face in college or the military.

Dr. Dreikurs states that we “cannot protect our children from life. Nor should we want to. We are obligated to train our children in courage and strength to face life. Mother’s desire to protect her boys from possible harm may have a discouraging effect. It may help them be helpless and dependent upon her.” Mother keeps her boys helpless and dependant so that she may appear important and caring.

This often results in what Dreikurs calls the “spoil brat”. This is a “child who is in a constant fury because life is not amending to his wishes. What a futile and pathetic demand! Unfortunately a child does not lose his “spoiled bratishness” as he grows into adulthood. It may become a fundamental attitude toward life. When we pamper and coddle our children and try to protect them from life, this is the gift we give them: a helpless fury against an outrageous world.” Children the Challenge pp. 189-190.