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Good Heart Parenting: A Journey of Love and Strength

Overindulgence is often referred to as spoiling or helicoptering, but it is much more than that, and grown-ups who were overindulged as children often suffer adverse effects in their adult lives. The 44-page research based book, Good Heart Parenting: A Journey of Love and Strength, chronicles the experience of two families who highlight the need for both parental love and parental strength in order to deal with the ubiquitous cultural messages to overindulge. The Good Heart family indulges from a good heart, unaware of the risks involved for children. The Strong Heart family fortifies those same good-hearted intentions with knowledge of children's developmental needs and with determination to withstand the cultural push to do too much, give too much, and give in to the children's demands. The Test of Four helps any family identify whether giving or doing something might lead to overindulgence.

Each of the three ways overindulgence occurs is explored:

  1. Material Overindulgence -- Too much of anything that looks good but may get in the way of children learning developmentally appropriate tasks and skills.
  2. Relational Overindulgence -- Over nurture by doing things for children that they should be doing for themselves that can and put them at risk for developing learned helplessness that leads to incompetence.
  3. Structural Overindulgence -- Soft structure from lax rules and lack of chores is often related to adult irresponsibility for self and towards others.

The 14 "risky gifts" (overblown sense of entitlement, confusing wants and needs, poor boundaries, etc.) of overindulgence identified in the ten Overindulgence Research Studies are addressed with ideas for countering each of them. Readers are encouraged to explore the 9 important points about overindulgence by following the progress of the Good Heart and the Strong Heart families on their pictograms and to design their own strong family on their own pictogram. The Good Heart Parenting book is written in an encouraging way with empathy for parents and for children.

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Reviewed in 2018

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