Raising Grateful Kids in an Over-Indulgent World
Raising Grateful Kids in an
Bette Alkazian, M.A., LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Parent and Family Coach
What I define as overindulgence:
Giving our kids too much stuff
Expecting too little responsibility
Expecting our kids to be over-achievers
or over-involved in activities
Sheltering our kids from the realities of
life (i.e., over-protecting, smoothing
over the consequences, lawnmower or
curling parenting, etc…)
Know Yourself First
How were you raised?
Are you fulfilled in your life?
How are your relationships?
How do you behave when you fail or make a
What kind of role model are you for your
What do you expect of your children and
what do those goals fulfill for you?
Are our kids prepared for life?
Do you speak for your children?
Are you over-involved in their lives and
As they get older we should be
separating a little more each stage
Let them fall so they learn to have faith
in themselves that they will be ok –
without your intervention
Outside Stuff vs. Inside Stuff
There are images everywhere of things that kids want to
Toys, toys, toys…
How many images do our kids see of people they want to be
like? Who are they looking at and up to? Talk to them!
From whom are our kids learning about character?
What character traits are important to you and what are you
doing to ensure that your kids learn them? More importantly,
what mixed messages are you conveying?
We’re finding that kids who focus too much
on “outside stuff” experience more:
Anxiety & Depression
Relationship issues - disconnectedness
Are we filling in the spaces of time and bad feelings
Are we teaching them the coping skills they need?
What do kids expect of themselves?
Too much? = where is it coming from?
Not enough? = are we doing all of the work for
What do kids expect of us?
Do they get “bored”?
Who’s in charge?
Emotion & Values
It is essential that we teach our kids
about feelings and coping.
They are in control of their feelings – not
victims of them
Can they delay their gratification?
We must infuse values lessons into
every limit set
Respect, responsibility, kindness, compassion,
integrity, honesty, etc…
We must teach our kids how the world really works
Don’t fix everything for them!
Self-esteem comes from doing! Give them
opportunities to do for themselves
We must be able to tolerate
their discomfort – this teaches
them to tolerate their own
Reality Parenting (cont’d)
Do not rob your kids of the opportunity
to feel proud of themselves by earning
something, doing something for
themselves or waiting patiently for
something they really want
Do our kids expect us to give them and
do for them unreasonable things?
It’s not our job to make our kids happy!
Gratitude & Optimism (E.Q.)
Teach gratitude – daily
Be an example of gratitude
Say “thank you”
Say “No” to the stuff – shows gratitude for what you already
have (delay gratification to increase their appreciation)
Practice gratitude – nightly gratitude routine, gratitude journal,
gratitude drawings, etc…
Be aware of always striving for more and bigger (houses, cars)
Don’t forget to stop and say thank you for what we have
Teach optimism & emotional intelligence
Depression-proof your kids!
Give them hope and belief in the good in the world
Helping Our Kids to Blossom
What do they love?
How do we feel about it?
Do we encourage and nurture their passions?
Do we give them space in their lives to
explore those interests/passions and others?
Can we do all of this without over-indulging?
If kids are interested in something, they will
be willing to work for it! No silver platters,
please! It’s a privilege not a right!
Relationships & Responsibility
Kids’ relationships within their family
Relationships with their friends
Relationship with their community
Relationship with the world
Use these relationships to teach your
kids about being responsible citizens of
Focus outside of self
Between the outside stuff and the inside stuff
Between your agendas and your kids’ needs
What is good for your kids and how much is
Education about feelings and values and
modeling it through your own relationships
Reality with optimism
Books on this topic
The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine,
Too Much of a Good Thing by Dan Kindlon,
Raising Self-Reliant Children In a SelfIndulgent World by H. Stephen Glenn and
Jane Nelsen, Ed.D.
Gottman, John, Raising an Emotionally
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