The last couple of years have been tough, but parents haven't stopped spoiling their children. They just can't say no.
Saying yes is easy, but in the long run, everybody loses. Your finances suffer, and "giving children whatever they ask for can create dependent adults who don't learn and develop the skills to flourish socially and financially," says Christine Weber, a clinical neuropsychologist in Seaford.
Here's how to change habits:
Start with yourself. What motivates you to "spoil" your children? "Many parents overcompensate for less day-to-day time with their child by granting requests for things they probably would say no to if it wasn't for guilt. Other reasons can be making up for what you didn't get as a child and wanting to be liked by your child," says Teresa Grella-Hillebrand, director of Hofstra University's Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic. Work on your own guilt.
Set boundaries. Even if your child is a teen and you've been giving in to them all their lives, still take a stand. You're the boss, you can change the rules. "Parents who have achieved a successful 'no spoil zone' exercise consistency and find the confidence to stay strong and hold their ground. Kids need to know that their parents can be counted on to maintain the boundaries," says Vicki Hoefle, author of "Duct Tape Parenting."
Start a new tradition. Take the focus off them. Teach your children to give to others. For example, get involved with a charity. Says Weber, "A healthy sense of empathy can keep children grounded."