"My son is never happy. We give him everything you can imagine. It keeps him happy for two days and then he wants something else, " a mother told me. "I say to my child: 'When I was your age I did not have anything like what you have today and yet I was much happier.'"

Perhaps, I mused in response, we are so busy giving our children everything we did not get, that in the process we forget to also give them what we did get.

Some children nowadays are being supplied with an abundance of good things from their parents: roller blades, scooters, computers, mobile phones, play stations, Nintendo and so on.

In his book, Too Much Of A Good Thing, (August 2001), Dr Daniel. J. Kindlon questions whether giving our children everything they want will result in their becoming happy adults with a positive self-esteem. He writes, "The average American parent gives an abundance of good things on the one hand, but on the other hand spends a limited amount of time at home with their children."

A wise man once said: "If we would spend on our children half of the amount of money and double the amount of time, they will be much better off."

Having a child get whatever they want just by the click of a finger is not preparing them to deal with the challenges of later life. Nature in real life is such that only by putting hard work in the planting and plowing seasons will we get an abundant harvest. Lack of rain or some other unforeseen circumstances may bring disappointment even after all the hard work.

Some parents love their children so much that when they are called by the school about a punishment the child got for misbehaving, they try to persuade the school to reduce the punishment. They think they are doing their child a favor by creating a shortcut where they don’t have to own up to the consequences of their behavior.

Dr Kindlon's research shows that more than half of the youths that grow up in wealthy families in America where their parents have tried to do everything for them are not happy. A quarter of them say that they had seriously considered suicide.

Dr Kindlon believes that while parents want only the best for their children, they may get the opposite results. Giving the child too many toys, too much money and an abundance of other luxuries will not compensate for the lack of time and interest the average busy working parent gives their children.

The most important things a parent could give their children are time, attention, care and boundaries.

Giving time means that we show a real interest in what’s going on in their life. They should see and feel that we are making an effort to get closer to their world. Even one hour a week can have a dramatic change in the relationship.

Research shows that children who have grown up with very clear limits and boundaries, and whose parents devote time, attention and care to them, are less likely to suffer from food disorders or exposure to drugs.

Try it — it works!