I’ve been reading a lot of Alfred Adler lately. Mainly to shore up my resolve that its irresponsible to pamper your children. It’s not really something I ever questioned, but in being around a “pamperer”, it causes all sorts of headaches, raises questions and worst of all, encourages insecurities in my previously secure children.
I love and snuggle them both, don’t get me wrong. The difference being that I’ve taught them to comfort themselves and to trust that they can help themselves as well. Things I really think are invaluable. It all starts with letting your toddler “cry it out” in the crib. While unpopular in the current “entitled child” generation, its something that worked twice for me, and I’ve never regretted it. Children have to learn to self-soothe. We all do. If you begin with encouraging your child’s insecurities in falling back to sleep alone, it’s all downhill from there. Granted, it’s sad to not respond to your child’s needs, but far more tragic if you consider a lifetime of being unable to cope by yourself.
I am physically repulsed by someone encouraging or over-indulging an insecurity in their child(ren). It grates on every nerve in my body, and makes me feel so sad for the child in question. I firmly believe it leads to a lifetime of being unsatisfied and unhappy, and a life spent searching for someone/something easier than learning how to satisfy yourself.
Adler believed that giving in too much and overprotecting children actually makes them feel insecure by sending them messages that they can’t cope on their own. This insecurity can lead to an inferiority complex, causing people to become self-absorbed and insensitive as they try to shore up a flailing self-image,
“Every pampered child becomes a hated child,” warned Adler “There is no greater evil than the pampering of children. These kids are emotionally demanding and tiring to be with. They often grow up to become what we call ‘entitled adults,’ thinking they own the road on life and making themselves very difficult to like.” Adler believed that parents should take an active role in training their children to become socially responsible and sensitive toward others: “To see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another,” Adler wrote 80 years ago.
You can read Adler’s parenting wisdom in his Education of Children or The Problem Child. Some Adlerian principles:
“Never do for a child what he can do for himself”
“Overprotection pushes a child down”
“Over-responsible parents often produce irresponsible children”
Sigh… back to the book I go… feel free to read along with me 🙂