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35 things kids simply don’t need

Children are notorious for using “need” and “want” interchangeably: “Mom, I neeeeeeeeeeeed this American Girl doll/new baseball mitt/to see Deadpool/fill in the blank!” But they’re not alone. Parents are just as guilty of blurring this line, especially when it comes to what we think our children need.

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As parents, we’re often so filled with love and pride for our children we want to give them the world. Our hearts break at their disappointment and soar with their joy. We want to meet their heart’s every desire, often before their hearts even have a chance to desire what we’re offering.

As well-intended as we may be, however, there are plenty of things kids want that they just don’t need. While most aren’t harmful in and of themselves, it’s the expectations we set that can set them up for disappointment — and worse — later in life, when things don’t always go their way, when there’s not a special treat or brightly covered surprise around every bend. When our efforts to give our children everything go too far, we may actually do more harm than good. Studies have shown that overvalued children are more likely to develop narcissistic traits, which can lead to aggression and other issues.

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Not only that, but we stress ourselves out trying to always do more and more for them, to anticipate their needs and make every event Facebook-post perfect, when really less would be best. All that hovering and smothering — even though fueled by love — leaves us exhausted and them with just too much in so many ways. While the line isn’t always black and white, and there’s no harm in giving our children some of these things sometimes, here are 35 things kids definitely don’t need.

1. A snack after every soccer game

2. A snack every single time they get in the car

3. An Elf on the Shelf

4. A trophy just for showing up

5. Constant praise for every little thing they do

6. Sandwiches cut into intricate shapes and handmade, organic cheese from the milk of the cow you’re grass-feeding in your backyard

7. Their own bedroom

8. A reward for every visit to the doctor, good grade or time they help out around the house

9. A balloon at the bank

10. A cookie at the grocery store

11. To have you always take their side even when they’re wrong

12. A Pottery-Barn-esque playroom full of toys

13. The newest electronic gadgets

14. Elaborate birthday parties

15. Constant play dates and a slew of activities

16. Fancy, designer clothing

17. A bath or shower every day

18. Hand sanitizer every three seconds

19. Your attention every single time you’re on the phone or in the restroom

20. A TV in their room

21. Goodie bags at parties

22. For someone to tell them what a “boy” toy or “girl” toy is

23. To win every game they play with you

24. For you to do their homework and projects for them

25. For you to speak for them when they’re perfectly capable of doing so themselves

26. Pressure to run with the cool kids

27. Private sports coaches and travel teams that consume every minute of their free time

28. Elaborate vacations

29. To celebrate their half-birthdays

30. Total privacy (especially when it comes to their social media)

31. Pinterest-perfect holidays

32. An answer for everything

33. Pressure to always be the best

34. Perfect parents

35. Everything they want

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