According to a poll commissioned by Time and CNN, two-thirds of American parents believe their children are spoiled. As this holiday season arrives on the tails of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, families across the nation feel the pain of those still recovering from unimaginable losses. The sadness of the storm provides an opportunity for parents to encourage humanitarianism. Helping those in need is a giant step in ending the “I have to have it” syndrome with a child you feel you may have overindulged.

Relief Efforts

Letitia Baldrige, who was the White House social secretary during the Kennedy era, remarked, “We are not passing values on to our children…We are not sitting down at the dinner table talking about the tiny things that add up to caring human beings.” Sadly, Hurricane Sandy can be one take off point for parents.

According to an NPR report, “Most relief agencies say the best thing to give is money. That way they'll have the flexibility to buy the supplies that are needed the most.” You and your children could count change that you and they have saved and donate it to charities that provide essentials to disaster sites.

Both you and your children should also go through household supplies like cleaning products — something else NPR says disaster areas request to help residents with clean up.

In Preparation for Holiday Gift-giving

In preparation for the holiday season, have your children pull together clothing and toys they have outgrown to donate to homeless shelters. Make it a family project. As you work together, you transfer the merits of community and caring.

Start mandatory give-aways at your house. At least twice a year, perhaps at birthdays and end of the year holidays. When you realize that each new child in a household translates to 30 percent more possessions that accumulate in bedrooms and garages, you will be happy you initiated a plan and thinned out the clutter. Keep a donation bag or box handy for each person, including you.

If Hurricane Sandy becomes your family’s cause this holiday, later choose a group that needs support. Volunteer or donate as a family on a regular schedule—monthly or on special days each year.  

Part II: Are You Unwittingly Spoiling Your Child? (Reasons Why You May be Spoiling Your Children and How to Change Indulging Patterns for the Long Haul)

Also of interest: Spoiled? Not My Child and The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It and Mean It.

Copyright 2012 by Susan Newman

Fessler, Pam. "Want To Help Sandy Victims? Send Cash, Not Clothes." NPR, 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2012.

Gates, Anita. "Letitia Baldrige, Etiquette Maven, Is Dead at 86." The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Oct. 2012.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Spoiled Rotten: Why Do Kids Rule The Roost?" The New Yorker, 2 July 2012.

Newman, Susan. "10 Tips for Making the Most of Dinnertime." Psychology Today, 15 Dec. 2011.

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