Overindulgence isn’t just about the families who give too much ice cream. Overindulgence includes a broad spectrum from allowing too much of anything, over nurturing or simply having too soft of structures. According to the experts, overindulgence is a form of child neglect. What?! Yes, read on.
Thanks to the decades of research from today’s guest, Dr David Bredehoft, and his associates, Dr Connie Dawson and Jean Illsley Clarke, parents who are committed to doing the right thing are not alone.
Listen to today’s podcast to walk away with ten essential steps to gain more clarity on what counts as overindulgence and how to better allow your child to achieve their full potential.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- What counts as overindulgence.
- Four questions to explore whether you are overindulging a child.
- What to do if you identify a pattern of overindulgence.
- How to deal with the grandparents urge to spoil.
- Why changing these patterns matter.
As a parent all we want is the best for our children. What I learned from this week’s expert is that along the way we may unknowingly do our children a disservice or even prevent a child from developing, essentially depriving the child of achieving their full potential.
Living abroad adds a level of complexity to parenting, compounded by transition fatigue, distance or new cultures. So here’s a little help to help you amplify your parenting and prevent the ill effects of overindulgence.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Dr. David Bredehoft, Dr, Connie Dawson and Jean illsley Clarke co-authors of the parenting book “How Much Is Too Much?”
- Jean Illsley Clarke, author of Self Esteem A Family Affair
- Carol Gesme author of “While We’re Apart”
- Dr. Bredehoft’s website with informative information on what happens when parents overindulge www.overindulgence.org
- Psychology today blog by Dr. Bredehoft The Age Of Overindulgence
- Free online courses University of Minnesota Extension Overindulgence
- Award-winning author, feminist and social justice activists, LR Knost
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean fromwww.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
If you’re a parent this episode is going to ask you to take a long hard look in the mirror.
Today we are talking about overindulgence and overindulgence not in the sense of “Oh you gave your kid too much ice cream one day,” overindulgence in the scientific definition.
Overindulgence in childhood is defined as giving them too much of what looks good too soon or too long. It’s giving them things or experiences that are not appropriate for their age or interests and talents. It’s a process of giving things to children to meet the adults needs not the child’s. Overindulgence is giving a disproportionate amount of family resources to one or more children in a way that appears to meet the child’s needs but doesn’t so that children actually experience scarcity in the midst of plenty. Overindulgence is doing or having so much of something that it does active harm or at least prevents a person from developing and deprives that person of achieving his or her full potential.
Here’s the thing; according to Dr’s Connie Dawson and David Bredehoft in their research that we know overindulgence is actually a form of child neglect. It hinders children from performing their needed developmental tasks and from learning necessary life lessons.
So it is my absolute pleasure to welcome to Expat Happy Hour Dr. David Bredehoft who is the co-author of the parenting book “How much is enough?” or “How much is too much?” the more recent version.
Sundae: So Dr. Bredehoft, it is an absolute pleasure to have you today.
Dr Bredehoft: I’m thrilled to be with you Sundae, thank you for inviting me.
Sundae: Well, here I am in my podcast studio and I’m clutching onto the book and I’m reading it, it says “How much is too much, raising likable, responsible, respectful children from toddlers to teens in an age of overindulgence,” on the photo and the cover is a child with about, I don’t know 18 scoops of ice cream on a cone. I bought this because I had a child in 2008 and as I went from the baby stage into to toddler and young child, I personally started to grapple with “Wait a minute, do my kids have too much?” So Dr. Bredehoft I have been a fan since I’ve had children and I’m really really honored to have you here and I just want you to know personally how much of an impact your book has had in my life.
Dr Bredehoft: Thank you, you’re not the only parent out there that has told us that.
Sundae: Let me give a little bit of background about who you are and your qualifications. I could probably spend the next ten minutes talking about his qualifications, but just quickly so you know who you’re listening to today. Dr. Bredehoft started out with a BA in psychology and then went on to get a masters of education in educational psychology from the University of Oklahoma and then went on to get a PhD in family social sciences from my alma mater from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Bredehoft holds four academic degrees within the fields of psychology, family social science, educational psychology and has over 30 years of experience in research, marriage and family therapy and teaching. He’s also a licensed psychologist in the state of Minnesota and from the national council family relations. He was named in 2003 certified family life educator of the year.
So we know you’re now enjoying the fruit of your academic career in retirement and you’ve come out to to continue to share your knowledge and that is just a testament of your commitment to this.
Dr Bredehoft: Yes.
Sundae: Can I be really honest with you, when you agreed to come on the podcast I was honestly kind of terrified to have you on the show.
Dr Bredehoft: No, really, why?
Sundae: Because you know, I’ve read the book and I’m working really hard as a parent and I think my kids are you know good kids and I know there’s parts that we’re still not doing enough to stop over nurturing or over overindulgence. So I was actually like “He’s gonna come on and say things that I know I totally didn’t start implementing into my parenting approach.”
Dr Bredehoft: This whole business of parenting is a challenge and I think even more so today than ever before especially with all the other technological advances we’ve made since when I was a kid, so you’re struggling right along with most parents out there today and it’s a testament to you because it sounds like it all starts with a good heart, you want the best for your kids.
Sundae: Yes totally and then looking for resources, right? And that’s where where I came to you. So tell us more little bit about how you came to study over indulgence.
Dr Bredehoft: Well, it started a long time ago when I was doing my planning to do my dissertation. I was interested in parenting and I went to conference, national council on family relations conference in St. Paul Minnesota, their annual meeting, and I went to a session where Jean illsley Clarke, my lead author of this book, was presenting about her first book and best probably selling book called self esteem a family affair and she had developed a parenting course out of that material. And afterwards I went up to her and said, “You know Jean my name is Dave Bredehoft, I’m a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, and I’d like to do research on your parenting class.” And she gave me a big hug, and she said “I finally have found you” and we talked and she was thrilled that I was going to do my dissertation on her parenting class. But then I sort of told her I said “Jean you know, this is research, I might find out that it doesn’t work.” And she gave me a big hug and she said, “You know, we need to know that too, I’m open to well everything.” And so I did my dissertation on that course and found out, yes indeed It really did work, and that really started this journey with her in terms of research. Then a couple years after that, she gives me a phone call and she says “Dave, you know, I do all these speaking engagements and people come up to me and they’re all talking about what we’re calling overindulgence of kids and what it does to them and they’re even saying that they were overindulging their kids and you have to do something about that.” And so then she said “Well, let’s do a research study on that.” So that started the journey of the first of ten different studies that we did.
Sundae: Well, that’s what I love about your book is because I’m a nerdy academic at heart and I love that it’s all scientifically validated and it’s a huge wake-up call, and when I was reading the book, my intention was to learn about strategies to employ or to avoid and what I also discovered as a surprise, was that there were elements of overindulgence, I would probably count it under over nurturing, from my childhood. And you know, I thought, I was raised by 70s parents, you know where I wasn’t expecting that at all.
So here’s what I think is happening with some of the listeners, some of the listeners are like, “You know, what I don’t overindulge my kids.” And what we what I know from reading the book, there probably are signs of overindulgence that were missing. So, how can we as parents tell if we’re in overindulging our kids? I think if we’re going to admit it, we would have liked the screaming brat who’s demanding, you know more ice cream for breakfast, right? That’s when we’re like, okay yeah overindulged. So there’s so many other ways of overindulging parenting or indulging kids that count, that we deny. So can you tell us just a few signs from our children or from our parenting approach, so it kind of helps us wake up?
Dr Bredehoft: First of all, let me set the stage off in our research starting from the very first study and then we validated it in later studies. We found out that there were three different types of overindulgence that parents engage in;
The first one is what we labeled just simply too much; too much of almost anything, giving them too many sports, giving them too much ice cream, giving them too many activities, too much of just anything, too much attention. Most parents get that, like for instance flying over here when I came over, the person next to me asked me what do I do and what I did in life, and I told him and I said “I research overindulgence with kids” and he said “Oh, I know what that is”, you know, they know about too much but what they usually don’t know about is the second type what we call over nurture, where parents are doing too much for their kids that they should be doing for themselves and sometimes referred to as, and not quite the same, but helicopter parenting. It’s hovering, it’s taking too much control over parenting. Sometimes it’s referred to but we call it over nurture.
Sundae: I’m going to repeat that over nurturing is doing too much for your kids that they should be doing for themselves; and I will give you a really small example of how I identified over nurturing, and I’m not calling out my parents, my parents are amazing. Something I did that I brought into my adult life is I would, my husband noticed, we’ve been married for years, I would leave cups all over the house and drive him crazy. He’s Swiss, he likes order, he wants everything put away and I didn’t even realize what I was doing, he’s like “Sundae, you’re leaving cups everywhere!” and it was kind of like our cup fight and I realized; “You know what? I’ve probably been doing that my whole life,” my Mom just came behind me and picked up after me because she has three kids, stay at home mom working her tail off and it was easier to just pick up the damn cup then to make me do it myself right? I get it, I get the exhausted parents. So that’s the example. It’s so simple, It’s not like letting your kids, you know, watch eight hours of movies or iPad, It’s taking their cups.
Dr Bredehoft: Yeah right over nurturing is not having chores and those kinds of things too.
Sundae: Okay, I’m going to come back to that in the expat context, but I want to hear the third one.
Dr Bredehoft: The third one is what we call soft structure, It’s not having rules or if you do have rules it’s not enforcing the rules and that sort of thing, and what we found in all of these things, especially in the first study what I thought was interesting is that we had 720 adults in that study and those that were overindulged as children reported, of these three types of overindulgence, the one that they were both happy and really mad as hell about was over nurture. They were happy that their parents did all those things for them when they did it back then, but they were really mad at them as an adults because it robbed them of skills, valuable skills that they didn’t know how to do anything.
Sundae: Right, that’s why I had the cup fight to clean up my mess.
So let me just read it over; too much. we get too much. too much tech, too much sports, too much time to engage in other activities over nurture. We do things that are robbing our kids of developing to do it themselves; And soft structure, not having rules or not enforcing them, oh my gosh, think about all those tired parents who haven’t seen their kids all day and it’s like “I said, if you hit your brother, you have no iPad, but now it’s going to cause a huge fight,” I have so much empathy for parents for going to these strategies. Right?
Dr Bredehoft: Yeah, but the real challenge is, think of development of a child it’s kind of like you’re on a plateau and you work really hard to get things right and you got it in shape and things are moving right along and then all of a sudden they advanced in development, now the game changes, they’re working on a whole set of different skills and developmental goals and now you got to change everything.
Sundae: Just right when you get it right, right when you feel like you’re getting good at it.
Dr Bredehoft: Yeah, and then hopefully get it right again, and then not too long after that it changes again, so it’s fun though, It keeps you on your toes.
Sundae: When I was pregnant, I got the best piece of advice and it was “Having children, It’ll ruin your life and it’s the best thing that ever happened to you.” So I’m just I’m really going to stand as an empathetic parent here who understands how easy it is to do too much, to over nurture and to have the soft structure and get that I really get it. But tell us why is this so bad? Like, why should we stop going to the easier ones when we’re tired and overwhelmed? Why is it worth changing our strategies and what if we don’t?
Dr Bredehoft: Well, the list is pretty long, and first of all I would also like to say that my goal is not to guilt parents because that really doesn’t help, my goal really is to educate parents and then help them make, you know, wise decisions. What we found in all of our studies is whole laundry list and I won’t lay them all out, but I’ll give you some of the important ones of what happens if you do overindulge, and again think of overindulgence on a continuum every parent overindulges sometimes okay, but then the continuant continues over to some parents indulge almost all of the time or somewhere in between. So keeping that in mind adults who are overindulged as children report feelings of being unloved, needing constant outside affirmation. They said they had a lack of skills, they didn’t know how to take care of themselves, they reported being self-indulgent as adults in things like gaining weight or feeling guilty or lower self-esteem, poor health even lonely. They really didn’t have a concept of what is enough.
Sundae: I have to just tell you right now I basically have tears in my eyes and my arm hair is standing up because what you’ve just listed is the opposite of what every parent is trying to achieve. They want their kids to be loved, they want them to feel confident about themselves, they want them to be skilled and it’s the opposite.
Dr Bredehoft: It’s just that they’ve gone overboard in many ways, you need to bring it back kind of into the middle somewhere. They also in addition to having money management problems and even relationship problems with the people that they they picked to be with. We found out in one study that we did that adolescents and young adults College age adults those that were overindulged as children, what their goal in life was wealth, fame and image. They wanted to make the most money, they wanted to be famous and they wanted to be attractive and stylish and you ask “Well what’s wrong with that, aren’t those some of the goals that we want for our kids?” Well, yes, but when those become the most important things what suffers is, the ones who weren’t overindulged, they wanted to help people, they wanted to make the world a better place and they had quite different different goals.
Dr Bredehoft: Right, it’s just it’s amazing, I’m just kind of shaking my head here at the at the implications of these “easy to go to” you know, “starting innocently” strategies. And as you said it’s on the continuum and I think what we do as parents is we put the really bad parent, you know, who’s really far on the end of the continuum, who’s super over indulging their kids, we put them as as those people and we don’t look at where we are on the continuum and ask, you know, “What kind of impact is this having?”
So here’s the thing, why I invited you to the podcast for the expat audience, is that you know people who are expats they live outside of their home country. Some of those people are living with because they’re not in their home country, they’re in a different cultural context where rules are different. Overindulgence might be a cultural practice, you know, I mean I’ve seen it with certain gender practices, you know based on your gender, they might overindulge in certain things versus others. I’ve also seen in rotational expat life if you’re living in let’s say a developing area. When we were in West Africa, we were expected to be a good “Patron” like you should hire people to be in your home to help you because you’re giving jobs and if you don’t hire people to help you you’re seen as a bad, you know character, like it’s not good. Like if you are able to employ people you should and so you’re both working parents and you can afford to have a full-time nanny so you do that and and so you’re in situations where maybe if you’re in your domestic context you couldn’t afford extra help and now you have help or you have help with cultural differences that might actually make it hard to avoid overindulgence. So this is the thing, you know, also with rotational expats we’re flying home across the world to see our family and just getting on a long-haul flight is a total privilege, but it’s normal for many people who are working in a rotational experience who work for embassies or for a corporation. So I feel like we really need to think about this topic because the structure of our lives also invites more overindulgence, especially when we go to see grandparents and they haven’t seen them, you know for a year.
So there’s a couple things I guess I would like to walk away with; one if we find ourselves on the continuum of overindulgence and we’re saying “Okay I understand It’s important, what are one or two things I can start doing or stop doing that will make a positive impact?” Where do we start?
Dr Bredehoft: Well, the first thing that I would suggest is you need to just acknowledge that overindulgence is going on. So become aware of the whole topic, which you’re trying to inform your listeners, which I salute whole heartedly. A second thing that you can do is that we give a number of skills in the book, not skills but tools I would say and one of the tools that we offer parents is called “The test of four” and it’s grounded in our research and you ask four questions and if you get a yes answer to one or more what you’re doing is probably overindulgence. So think of one issue, or I sometimes just refer to them as a “rub” with your child that continually comes up and then ask yourself these four questions. The first one has to do with developmental tasks and it goes like this; “Will doing or giving this to my child prevent him or her from learning what he or she should be learning at this age? Will it prevent my child from reaching a developmental goal or task?” And if the answer is yes, it probably is overindulgence.
Sundae: Yeah, “Pick up your cup Sundae.”
Dr Bredehoft: The second question has to do with family resources and by family resources, we really mean a broad array of things, not just money, it could be time, it could be a tension, it could be energy, it could be almost anything, but does it use it disproportionate amount of family resources to meet the wants, not the needs of one or more of our children?
Sundae: Right? So it’s like if your weekend is dominated by all kinds of kid activities and you don’t get your needs met for quiet let’s say.
Dr Bredehoft: Exactly, then that’s a sign of too many family resources. And we’re looking for patterns, if it happens just once one weekend, that’s not a really an issue, but if it continually happens over any number weekends or it becomes a pattern, then it’s an issue.
The third question has to do with whose needs are being met in this situation. Does it benefit the adult, the parent more than the child? So for instance, it was just easier for your Mom and a lot of times we do things for our kids because it’s just easier, I can do it better, I can do it faster, I avoid a hassle to fight or whatever, I just do it. So it’s really for me more than it is for my child. So whose needs?
Sundae: And that’s where I really see the connection with soft structure, like if you have a rule, you’re not going to be able to do X Y or Z and then you’re really tired so you’re like, “Okay fine go do iPad” or whatever it is.
Dr Bredehoft: Yes. And then the last question is has to do with possible harm. Does it hurt others? Does it harm the community or does it damage the planet in some way? One of my favorite stories about this question is actually my wife and I are avid bird watchers and I sometimes tell my friends, you know, “it’s an addiction but there are far worse addictions than birds,” and a few years ago, we took a trip with one of my colleagues that was leading a birding trip to East Africa to Kenya and there were five vans, there were about, I don’t know five six of us bird watchers in each van along with a guide and a driver and we stopped along the road and got out and we’re looking through binoculars at a bird on the line and it was actually a ishop bird. I remember the name of the bird, not too bad a bird and this little girl comes out of a mud hut and she walks towards us down to a gully by the road there. She’s carrying two five-gallon buckets with her. She says “Hi where you guys from?” We said “Minnesota,” she says “Where’s that?” “United States? Well, what are you doing here?” “We’re looking at Birds.” She just couldn’t get over that, you know that we look at birds. And then we asked her “What are you doing?” She said “I’m gathering my family’s drinking water for the day.” and we said “Where are you getting that?” and she said “Right here.” and there was a red mud puddle right in front of us and she scooped up two five gallons of red water and we said “Do you really drink that?” she said “Yes, we just pour it out let it settle out and it’s not too bad.”
Now fast forward to one of the stories that we tell in the book, all the stories we tell are true and we did get permission to do them, but we didn’t tell who they were. One of the stories is there’s a man in Minnesota with runs one of the Fortune 500 companies, travels around the world all the time and when he goes to a foreign countries, even a developing country, he gets out his suitcase, takes his suits out then goes into the bathroom and hangs them, up turns off water on full-blast, lets it run for a couple hours while he’s out for dinner and comes back and all of his suits are all steam pressed. And I go back to that little girl with the 5 gallon buckets of dirty water. Does that do harm? You betcha it does, and so sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture. Sometimes the harm is the individual my child is harmed by it. Sometimes the community or friends are harmed by it. Sometimes the planet is harmed by it.
Sundae: Well, that’s interesting, it’s like when you think about it from a parenting perspective, maybe that’s what his Dad did when he came home from work and he taught him how to do that. This is so powerful, so I feel like when I hear this I feel empowered. When I have the test, I can name two or three pretty easily of where as a parent I could up level how I’m parenting with my kids because of these four questions, but then the question is; so then what do we do? Like we know, the pattern but now what because we’ve got a battle ahead of us, don’t we?
Dr Bredehoft: Oh, yeah, here’s here’s kind of a formula that I use both in counseling but as well was coaching other individuals and it’s just basically some common sense for parents; When you see that you need to make a change there are a number of steps you can take; The first one I already mentioned, awareness of the problem. The second one is get on the same page with your spouse or partner.
Sundae: Oh, that’s a big one, especially when they’re in binational relationships and different cultures.
Dr Bredehoft: Exactly, but you need to get on the same page come to some middle ground or not even middle ground, tell them why this is not so good and make your case but get on the same page with your spouse or partner. The third thing you need to do is work on one issue at a time. You know, when I was doing counseling I often did a lot of counseling with parents that had adolescents that were, you know, kind of bouncing off the walls and they bring that adolescent in maybe 13 or 14 years and they’d say, Dr. B, you know, we need you to fix my kid. They wanted me to fix their kid in you “It took you 13 or 14 years to get the here, we’re not going to do it in two or three 50-minute sessions.” So the way you do it is you work on one problem at a time. So identify an issue in which you’re consistently overindulging your child and say “We’re going to work on that.” Then the fourth thing you do is let your child know in a caring but firm way “This is a problem for me between us and you or me and you and things are going to change and this is what the plan is.” And then the sixth thing is, and this is a hard one too; consistently follow the plan. Consistent, gives you the higher batting average. The seventh thing you do is take stock of how the plans working, after you initiate the plan, maybe not the first time or the second time maybe the fifth or sixth time but take stock of how the plans going and make course corrections, tweak the plan if you need to, it just makes common sense.
Sundae: This makes me feel great because we just had a situation in my family, where I actually did a podcast about it where I said, I went from Military Sergeant to Mary Poppins, where I just told my kids like “I am no longer available to be your drill sergeant the morning, you’ve done this for years, you know what we need to do,” and I went up into the room and I just said “I’m done, you guys know what you’re doing.” And we did we changed it and what I noticed is when I was slipping back, Iwas the one who be like “Go brush your teeth, go brush your teeth.” you know instead of saying “Hey the timer is going to go off in three minutes,” you know what I mean? So I love that this is and then make course corrections. So I’m just going to recap that; awareness of the problem, get on the same page of the spouse, work on one issue at a time, let your child know in a caring and firm way that this is a problem and you’re going to make a new plan. And then I’m guessing that five is make the plan and then six is consistently follow the plan and seven is take stock of how it’s going and make course correction.
Dr Bredehoft: And there’s three more; Eight is celebrate your success, it’s just really important that when you have a success that you celebrate, pat yourself on the back. Nine is forgive yourself for past parenting failures. We are all human, we all make mistakes don’t beat yourself over the head for those past mistakes forgive yourself move on to the new stuff. And ten, the last one is repeat step number one with a new issue.
Sundae: I love that, that’s great, you and I are totally on the same page about celebrating your successes, I think that’s important. You know but what you mentioned is one that I know that I can ignore and I know a lot of my friends and peers can’t ignore is really forgiving yourself that it’s like, “Oh, why didn’t I start this sooner?” That’s so easy to go to that place, right? I think this is wonderful, I’m going to make sure that our listeners have those ten steps. It’s going to be in the transcription so they can follow that. I think the challenge from an expat community or people living abroad is if you’re in a bi-national relationship, they’re going to have to spend extra time on getting on the same pages or spouse if they’re from different cultures.
And this leads me to my next question. So what if we’re parenting in a context where others are involved, like our nannies or grandparents where they might they might be in a default of actually overindulging kids because they see this as a sign of love. What are we gonna do about others who overindulge our kids?
Dr Bredehoft: That one is a thorny issue in many ways. You know the I say this tongue-in-cheek, but you might say get a copy of our book and I say “I talked with the psychologist, I don’t know he might be full of beans, but why don’t you take a look at this and tell me what you think?” That’s something rather than say “You need this,” right? But it is tough, I think that the best thing you can do is tell them in an honest caring way that “I’m really worried about childhood overindulgence and we live in a world where that is basically the default every message around us is saying indulge, indulge, indulge, and I know From the research that if we keep doing those kinds of things that some bad things will happen to our kids when as they grow up and later on as adults. And so we’re doing this from a caring point of view.” And then offer grandparents and even nannies and other people that are involved with your kids, offer them some alternatives. In the new edition of the book, “How much is too much,” we wrote four additional chapters about Grandparents, because that kept coming up, so there’s lots of information in there, but I’ll highlight a couple of things by offering them some alternatives for instance; they can teach as opposed to just giving them more money or more toys or more things. They can teach your child special skills, maybe it’s chess or gardening or sewing or skiing or computer skills or how to change the oil or maybe your child can teach the grandparent computer skills, you know because it works both ways and that that would be a plus. Another thing that grandparents, particularly the ones that live far away can do is they could keep weekly contact. A good friend Carol Gesme wrote a book titled “While we’re apart” and it gives all kinds of activities that grandparents who are separated can do with their grandkids via FaceTime or whatever. They can do something that the child would like to do, board games and puzzles, they can contribute money, not just money but maybe pay for transportation for lessons or guitar photography, something that’s important to developing skills for the child.
Dr Bredehoft: That’s wonderful, so what I’m already hearing is that they just want to treat their kids so easy as ice cream or whatever, but you’re saying there are other ways to treat the kids. You know what’s so interesting, we just went on a weekend to a friend’s cabin and we said no iPads no tec, we’re just going to go and enjoy, and we barbecued, we went on a tube and there are trees in the back and my boys were playing with sticks and stuff and on the drive back I said, “What was your favorite part of the weekend?” And my oldest said “The forest” and my youngest said “The sticks”
Dr Bredehoft: Isn’t that that great some of the simplest things.
Sundae: They didn’t say, “It was good, but we didn’t have our iPads” the nature was what they they enjoyed the most. And by the way, that weekend was amazing, the car ride was calm, the entire weekend was unproblematic. There were a variety of kids there and I guarantee you if we had iPads with us it would have changed the energy right?
Dr Bredehoft: Absolutely, absolutely.
Sundae: So learning skills, and so I’m going to shamelessly plug your book because I believe in it so much. I was saying before the podcast started that all I really want you to do is to read out the entire book to my audience. This book is so important and so easy to read and grounded in research, I just feel like if any parent is listening and has a hunch they might be on the scale on one of these categories that just potentially could have an impact on their kids down the road, it’s totally worth it. I can’t recommend it enough.
Any last words that you have? I could try to keep you on the podcast for four hours, but any other things that you think that we need to know about doing our best to raise likable, responsible, respectful children.
Dr Bredehoft: Well you know be yourself, be open to learning new and different things, try to be as honest with yourself about your parenting and parenting skills, recognizing not everything your parents did with you worked, but the same way not everything that you’re doing is working either and that there’s a lot to learn but you’re willing to do it.
And one last thing I’d like to add one more story about Grandparents. I was fortunate enough to have my Dad’s parents live with us the last six years of their life, and I know it was stressful for Mom because she had three relatively young boys and then Grandpa and Grandma and then my Dad to take care of too and I remember one of the best things my Grandparents did, they didn’t have much money, every day after school we would walk home from school and there was Grandpa on the porch, he was smoking his pipe, he started living us with us at 83 and he died at 89 so there were six years, and he would say “Sit down and tell me how your day was and tell me a good story” and we would tell him what went on at school and he was a storyteller and then he would tell us stories. Now looking back, I think a lot of them were were fiction, but they were wonderful stories. But you know what, I don’t even remember any gifts that they gave us, but the biggest gift that both of them gave us was of themselves and their stories. So, please do that and even parents share your stories too.
Sundae: Just looking in preparation for this and some other things I’m working on around global parenting. I was listening to something on YouTube about the importance of being, just simply being present with your kids, especially in the first three years of life and how that is the most nurturing gift we can give our kids, and in our crazy, busy lives it can feel like the hardest thing to give right?
Oh my gosh, I’m just overwhelmed by so many things that you shared that were wonderful and I really hope that anybody’ who is listening that you go to the transcript and look at his advice and then check out the book. How much is too much, because there’s so much gold there.
Where can people find you, I know that you’re retired, so you’re doing this out of service. Where can they go if they want to learn more or if they want to find your book?
Dr Bredehoft: Well, first of all, they can go to www.overindulgence.org, that is our web page and there is lots of help and information there and connections.
The second think they can do is, I write a Psychology Today blog called The Age of Overindulgence and so I’m posting there about once a month and that would be helpful information, they have an RSS feed so they can click on that and then when one pops up it’ll send it to their email.
Sundae: That’s a great, I’ve been on that and I’ve read that your stuff is so timely.
Dr Bredehoft: I’m really glad that you’re finding it helpful. The next thing they can do is the University of Minnesota, we work with them the extension department and we’ve put on four free online courses that they can take, they are about an hour apiece and if you just go to University of Minnesota Extension Overindulgence, search for that, our courses will pop up and there’s even a new book a little booklet that Jean has written that they can download for free there too.
Sundae: Well fantastic, I’m going to make sure that’s in the show notes so you can go there and click and get directly there. So I’ll take care of that for so our audience has access to that right away.
I just want to say thank you so much for taking time out of your evening. It is evening in Hawaii and it is morning and in South Africa. I know that what you shared today is going to impact the lives of parents and children, so deep down in my heart. I just want to say thank you so much for being here and we look forward to reading what you have next on Psychology Today as well.
So there you have it. This was such an honor for me to have Dr Bredehoft here on the show. And as you can see, it’s very clear why I invited him because it’s important, right the the impact of overindulgence that is hiding from us is there and thanks to their research we know it’s worth paying attention to. I hope that you walked away with clarity on the fact that overindulgence isn’t just about the families who give too much ice cream. It’s about offering anything up too much of your time sports or tech, over nurturing and robbing your kids of developing the skills that they’re ready to make next and maybe even about the soft structure that we allow in our lives when we’re just too tired to enforce the rules. You’ll walk away with the 10 steps that were given on what you can do as an aligned couple or if you are a single parent what you can do next and also some ideas how you can share that with grandparents to do lots of loving and less overindulging.
As mentioned in last week’s podcast (EP 112), I have created something special just for you; It’s called “Stop feeling guilty about raising your kids abroad.” It’s a three-part series I designed to help you stop the guilt and start amplifying your approach to parenting, because how many times have you ever secretly felt a little guilty that you might be screwing your kids up by taking them around the world? It’s time to say goodbye to guilt, hello empowerment. And in this three-part series, I’m going to help you drop the guilt, refocus on the right strategies to support and step more fully into your role as a parent of globally mobile kids. Sign up today by going to my blog or checking out all of the things I’m sharing on social media so you don’t miss out on this three-part series. I can’t wait to support you in this way. It’s time to stop feeling guilty about raising your kids abroad.
So thank you for listening to Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean.
I’ll leave you with the words of award-winning author feminist and social justice activists, LR Knost, she’s also the founder and director of children rights sadness advocacy and a family consulting group. She says “Instead of raising children who turn out okay despite their childhood, let’s raise children who turn out extraordinary because of their childhood.”