Easy on the gold stars
Tue Aug 14 2007
That children require verbal encouragement is a widely accepted
philosophy. But there may be such a thing as too much praise: Voices
of authority are warning parents that excessive complimenting can
result in an irritatingly spoiled generation.
Most recently, an article on NorthJersey.com today addresses a shift
in recommended parenting strategies: Rather than constantly telling
kids that they are special, parents should attempt to instill in their
offspring with more realistic sense of self.
"Years of telling kids they are "special" is backfiring. Excessive
parental doting has created a culture of narcissism among college
students, according to a study by a San Diego State University
psychologist," the article notes.
"There's a message we are sending our children and it is: Circumvent
responsibility. If they don't do their homework and their grades
suffer, the parents are in here fighting for them. Even in sports.
Many kids feel no responsibility to be part of a team. Everyone wants
to start at the top. No one wants to work their way up," says writer
Jane Glenn Haas's son Andrew, an assistant principal in Jaffrey, NH.
"It starts when they are very young. Look at T-ball for little kids,"
he adds. "Everybody gets a hit, and everybody gets a trophy. There are
no losers anymore."
Sure, each generation may appear more privileged than the one that
preceded it, but we'd say that an encouraging home during one's
developmental years has rarely hurt a person's character. This being
said, one should praise within reason.
There's a reason why parenting is never described as easy.