What’s the Difference Between Under-Indulgence and Deprivation?

200271182-001What do you think of treating your children, whether it’s with food, new toys, or quality clothes? Is there such a thing as over-indulgence or too much deprivation?  We have an upcoming series of posts focusing on “The Art of Under-Indulgence” so please share your comments and stay tuned!


  1. We probably over-indulge in the dessert department…we are a dessert loving family and unfortunately, my child (3 year old) is learning how to be too. However, meals are a different story. Breakfast is always the same…an egg (my son chooses how he’d like it prepared), grains (he chooses from oatmeal, a whole grain pancake or waffle, toast, or some grain cereal), and fruit (his choice). Lunch is usually leftovers. For dinner, one meal is prepared for the family and he is served that meal. We don’t prepare “kids food” or do special requests because he doesn’t like what I’ve made. He eats what everyone else is eating…which usually includes some sort of meat (unless it’s a vegetarian night), a grain, and a vegetable and some fruit. Drinks are milk for meals and water in between…that’s it.

    Toys…we don’t buy many. He gets things on his birthday, Christmas, Easter…but, beyond that we really don’t buy a lot of toys. He has plenty already and usually only plays with a few favorites anyway.

    Clothes, at the age of 3, aren’t important to him. However, I have a huge problem with buying too many “it’s so cute I can’t pass it up” things. I will have to change this habit as he gets older to keep from over-indulging him in this department.

  2. in america, it’s really hard to imagine any kind of real deprivation, especially when it comes to toys, stuff, and treats.

    we only have one child and she’s not even two. we’ve barely bought her anything in the toy department and she already has so much more than she needs.

    i think we all could use a reminder in how under-indulgence might work!

  3. We’ve found it really hard not to over-indulge when shopping at Goodwill and yard sales. We don’t typically spend a lot of money on toys for our son–occasionally we’ll splurge on something like a tricycle but the bulk of his toys were purchased for $1 or $2 each. So it’s hard to say no (harder for my husband than for me, but I’ve made exceptions to the “no more new vehicles” rule myself when something was cute and cheap).

    Clothes–as Jen says, at 3, they don’t really care, and the person who gets indulged is me.

    Food–I limit sweets and try not to tie them to anything but a spur-of-the-moment “how about a cookie” so it’s not seen as a reward for anything. The big indulgence in this department is steamed milk with vanilla at the coffee shop with the kids’ play area. Eh, it’s $1 and it gets him to drink his milk.

  4. Suzannah said “in america, it’s really hard to imagine any kind of real deprivation”… I am a retired preschool teacher and I’ve seen deprivation in my classes. The kind that breaks your heart. A little boy I taught a few years ago usually wore thrift store shoes (not so bad bad but they were always several sizes too big), no socks, clothing that was usually too small, almost never wore underwear. A chunk of my salary went for socks, underwear, mittens, hats, etc. which were meant to be loans but were never returned (I planned on that). He was just one of many. Not getting a favorite toy or only garage sale toys isn’t deprivation. Go to an inner city school or a small town school and see if you still feel the is no real deprivation in America.

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