Birthdays, holidays, achievements, major milestones, not-so-major milestones -- there are endless opportunities to shower children with gifts. And while their faces may light up at the sight of that new gadget they've been craving, clinical psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Shefali Tsabary says what's happening beneath the surface tells a different story.
Dr. Shefali, author of The Conscious Parent, warns moms and dads of the unconscious mistakes they make with their children, including piling on the presents. It's not truly what children want, she says in an interview for Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday."
"We love gadgets, we're just going to think and presume that they're going to love it too. We project [that] whatever fills us is going to fill them," Dr. Shefali says. "But that's not the case. Children don't come into this world longing for things."
Trying to give our children everything sends the wrong message. "We create this world where now they're greedy and now they want diamonds instead of sticks and stones," Dr. Shefali says.
But what about when children want the material items their friends have? Many parents, especially those who struggle financially, feel guilty for not providing the things their children want. Dr. Shefali encourages parents to consciously harbor a different reaction.
"You empathize with your child for wanting what the egoic world says we should hold value on," Dr. Shefali says. "Empathize with them, but if you are unable to give that, instead of entering a place of guilt, if we could just enter a state of full-on presence and say, 'I will compensate through my presence,' then that could be the most valuable gift you could give your child. Your child may not realize it then, but you are building his inner, sturdy foundation."