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December 10, 2015

Growing confident, capable kids

Jean Illsley Clarke
Jean Illsley Clarke
Jean Illsley Clarke wants parents to know that overindulging children isn’t just about buying them designer clothes and iPhones, although that certainly can add to a family’s financial stress. “The problem isn’t, at heart, about too much stuff,” she says.

Clarke is the author of many books, including Self-Esteem: A Family Affair (1978), and co-author of How Much Is Too Much (2014). “Overindulgence includes doing things for kids that they can do themselves, not enforcing rules, and not expecting kids to do chores,” she says. “All of these can have serious repercussions for a child’s development.”

True to her passion, she’s provided both funds and expertise to support University of Minnesota Extension in developing training tools, videos, curriculum and other resources that strengthen families, especially in the area of overindulgence.

Family life has evolved since Clarke earned her bachelor’s degree in 1948, her master’s degree in human development, and her honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, which named her as one of its 100 most distinguished alumni. Clarke has kept up the pace of research, even at age 90, keeping up a vigorous schedule of work with Extension, and working with Concordia University in St. Paul as well.

“Making charitable gifts is important to me,” says Clarke. “It is especially exciting to invest in this program with Extension family development educators,” she says. “It’s also important to plant the seeds of philanthropy in the younger generation.”

Learn more by visiting Extension’s Parenting in the age of overindulgence website. To make a gift in support of Extension parenting research and education, contact Jane Johnson, executive director of development, or donate online.
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