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  • Writer's pictureRaelene Ostberg, M.Ed.

Building Confident Kids: From Helpless to Helpful

Updated: Jan 30

Avoid over-indulgence to set children up for future success!

Overindulgence is a term that is commonly associated with giving kids too much stuff. But, there is another kind - it is called “over nurturing”.

You can nurture too much?


Not one adult says, “I want this child grow up to be helpless, entitled, disrespectful, irresponsible, and ungrateful.” Yet, some of the things well-meaning adults naturally do can have actually produce these characteristics and the unwanted behaviors that go with them.

Have you ever

*Found yourself doing things for a child they can do for themselves?

*Shooed a young child away who is trying to be included in household responsibilities?

*Taken over and done a child's self-care tasks so you can get out the door quicker?

*Taken the often "easier" route and just completed the household duties solo?

ME TOO! But, this is important to reign in! Not only can these behaviors produce helpless kids, but it can also get in the way of the child developing important skills.

Over-nurturing results in kids who may

*Act whiny and clingy

*Demand what they want without regard for others

*Interrupt often and inappropriately

*Insensitive to others’ feelings

*Expect others to do for them what they can do for themselves

*Act older or younger than their age

*Are missing skills

Research by Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft’s details the hazards of over indulgence and what we can do about it. I had the privilege to learn with Dr. Illsley Clarke at the U of M and was struck by her important work. Her and colleagues developed a wonderful blog and website if you want to learn more!

To learn tips and tools to avoid over-nurturing and build responsible and confident kids:

*Watch the video below: Naptime Nuggets #27

*Read the quick Article "From Helpless to Helpful:

Tips to Build Confident and Responsible Children" which includes top tips for avoiding the "chores wars", what you can expect at different ages, and tips to gain cooperation!

*Check out the overindulgence website!

For more information on upcoming webinars and on-demand courses, check out

*Remember, what you do matters!

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

Ann Landers

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