Spoiled Rotten

We’re lavishing our kids with unwarranted praise, trying to be their BFFs instead of their parents, and giving them anything they ask for. Where have we gone wrong?

spoiled kids

Illustration by João Fazenda

The halftime buzzer sounded just as the boy tossed the ball toward the basket. It arced gracefully through the air and swished through the net. While all of his teammates jumped up and cheered, the boy looked over at his father anxiously and called across the court, “Dad, does that count?” His father, seated beside me on the bleachers, nodded imperceptibly—and only then did the nine-year-old pump his fist and shout, “Yessss!”

There was something a little off about this exchange I witnessed between father and son at my boys’ basketball game this winter. But it didn’t click until months later, when my son asked me out of the blue, “Mom, will you pay me if I score in my soccer game today?”

“Excuse me?”

“Joshua told me his dad gives him a dollar if he gets a goal,” he said between mouthfuls of cereal.

I looked at him in disbelief. “Absolutely not.”

He thought about that for a moment and shrugged. “I thought that’s what you’d say,” he remarked, then returned to his breakfast.

At the soccer game, I made a beeline for the other mothers on the sidelines. “Are parents really paying their children for goals?”

“Yes,” answered a mom of three boys.

“But why?”

“To encourage their child to be competitive,” explained another. The hope is that once the kid gets a taste of success, he or she will develop his or her own inner motivation. And it’s not just limited to goals or baskets: “I know a family that pays their kids more if they make the A team, less for the B and C, and pittance for the D team,” a hockey mom tells me.

Um, what about simply nurturing a love of the sport the old-fashioned way? Emphasizing the importance of dedication, hard work, and persistence? The concept of intrinsic motivation?

Have we lost our minds?

The answer is yes. And not just because we’re paying cash for goals. We’re bribing our children to get in their car seats, to stay in that grocery cart, to pick up their toys, to get As on their report cards. It may pale in comparison to the “wife bonus” being handed out in affluent marriages—according to a recent New York Times story—but the child bonus is just as insidious. We’re forking over as much as $113 a month in “allowances, bribes, rewards, and gifts” just to get them to do what we ask, according to a survey conducted by the website Vouchercloud last year. What’s more, we’re lavishing them with inflated praise and acting like their BFFs instead of their parents.

Where have we gone wrong?

I ask myself that nearly every day as I fight an exhausting battle against my children’s rising sense of entitlement—“buy me…gimme…take me.” Even after an amazing day at Canobie Lake Park, my kids will find something to fixate on during the car ride home: Why didn’t I buy them slushies? Why couldn’t they have a stuffed animal from the gift shop? If one of our toys breaks, my son will say, “That’s all right, we’ll just buy a new one.” My five-year-old is distraught because her birthday party will be in our backyard, while her friends have theirs at fancy gymnastics centers or indoor play facilities—to the tune of $300 or more.

Parents all over the country are struggling with these issues, and it’s not just in affluent communities. According to a 2012 article in the New Yorker, two-thirds of us think our kids are spoiled.

But why is it so different now than when we were growing up? We can point to peer pressure, rampant materialism, pop culture, and the media, but the truth is: It’s our doing. And it’s high time we own up to it.

Richard Weissbourd blames our obsession with our children’s happiness. “We live in an extraordinarily child-centered age”—different than almost any other period in history, says Weissbourd, a psychologist and senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of the book The Parents We Mean to Be. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1980s, when a California state assemblyman declared self-esteem a “social vaccine,” capable of strengthening children and making them less vulnerable to negative behaviors. Suddenly, self-esteem was being hailed nationwide as the key to happiness and the answer to almost every social and moral problem you could shake a stick at. If you make a child feel good about himself, the thinking went, he’ll get good grades, he won’t do drugs or commit crimes, and he’ll be a contributing citizen. Who wouldn’t want that for their kid? Weissbourd says he sometimes hears an almost religious faith in the powers of self-esteem in conversations with parents and teachers around the country.

But the problem is that in elevating the goals of achievement, self-esteem, and happiness, “so much attention has been paid moment to moment on our kids’ feelings that we have sidelined caring for other people and respect,” Weissbourd says. It used to be that parents’ primary role was to raise good citizens, he says. Likewise, schools and religious institutions were focused on developing children’s ethical character. Now teachers are discouraged from using red ink (too negative!) and marking wrong answers with an X (check marks on the correct ones will suffice). We’re all about “pumping [our] kids with praise,” Weissbourd says.

That may seem harmless, but according to one recent study, kids are more likely to show narcissistic traits when their parents shower them with praise. The authors of the study concluded that “parents can convey affection and appreciation to children without conveying…that they are superior to others.” Obvious? Perhaps. But is it possible we’re doing it unconsciously? After all, how many times have we told our children, “Wow, you’re the best jump-roper/skipper/finger-painter” without giving it a second thought?

And anyway, it turns out that all of this praise is not actually making our children happier. A startling percentage of college students are dealing with depression. The terms used by college administrators are “tea cups” and “crispies”—kids that are too fragile or too brittle to withstand the stresses of college life. Weissbourd attributes this in part to an “allergy to adversity” that moms and dads have these days. “If parents swoop in to [solve a problem], it robs [their kids] of coping skills,” he says. To wit: A local mom pulled her 10-year-old out of her school’s music class entirely when she complained that the teacher was mean to her and made her cry. A fellow mother at the school tells me that the woman takes her daughter out to lunch during the weekly music period instead. “Kids should be shown the tools to learn to manage situations like these on their own,” she says.

Fast-forward a few years to when the participation-trophy generation enters the workforce, and they’re in for a reality check. My friend Josh tells me about a young sales rep he hired that consistently performed average to below average. Yet when it came time for his review, he ranked himself as “one of the top salesmen” in the company. Josh had to show him his sales figures in comparison to the other sales reps before he finally understood that he was mediocre. “This news practically floored him,” Josh says, “and he showed visible signs of getting choked up during the review.” He was surprised because he felt that he had “showed up to work by a certain time, participated in meetings, and got along really well with others”—but he’d “failed to include a single example of, and objective measure of, sales success.” Josh says that “the biggest disservice done to these kids was that they were never taught the difference between winning and losing. They were shielded from the harsh realities of the real world.”

We’re a generation of nurturers producing a generation of people ill equipped to handle life’s slings and arrows. That’s why Weissbourd and his colleague founded the Making Caring Common Project through Harvard in 2012. According to its website, the group offers “effective strategies for promoting in children kindness and a commitment to the greater good.” One of the most promising ways to promote joy is “to tune into other people,” Weissbourd asserts. “Those are the most durable and robust sources of happiness you can have.”

It can be as simple as reminding your children to write thank-you notes, or telling them to reach out to a kid playing by himself on the playground, or not letting them quit a team because others are counting on them. Weissbourd suggests encouraging kids to expand their “circle of concern,” typically family and friends, to include classmates and people they see regularly—the bus driver, for example, or the school janitor. Emphasize that they should be friendly and appreciative. “You have to be deliberate about it,” he says.

Weissbourd says he gets very little resistance from parents on this topic. There’s generally a consensus that “we’re out of balance.” In one of the studies conducted by the Making Caring Common Project, Weissbourd and his associates asked kids what they think is most important to their parents: their child’s achievement, their happiness, or their ability to care for others. Kids were three times more likely to say that they thought getting good grades ranked higher. Yet other research has revealed that most parents answer that caring is more important. It shows that “there’s a significant gap between what parents are saying and what they convey in their day-to-day behavior,” Weissbourd says.

The issue is that our children lack perspective, says one mother I talked to. They’re sheltered. So when they cry out, “It’s not fair!” they have no idea what unfairness actually looks like. To them, taking away their iPad after 20 minutes is supremely unfair. Is that their fault—or ours?

My neighbor Kate Walsh was looking for perspective when she signed her family up for an Oxfam hunger banquet at her church last winter. “My kids were asking why we didn’t have a vacation home, or why we didn’t travel more,” explains Walsh, a pediatrician who works with an underprivileged community in Worcester.

She invited me to join them at the dinner. When we arrived, we drew tickets that were randomly assigned to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier. Each income level receives a corresponding meal—filling and nutritious, or sparse and simple—in proportion to the way food is distributed throughout the world. There was just one high-income table, three middle-income, and five low-income. Before we dug in, the moderator asked the group, “What do you think you need to earn annually to be at the high-income table?” We looked over at the eight people who’d been served lasagna, French bread, salad, ice water with lemon, and wine. Meanwhile, the low- income folks were lined up in the back of the room to get a scoop of white rice and a glass of tap water.

“$75,000?” one woman guessed. I nearly choked on my rice and beans. Um, we were talking worldwide, not just wealthy suburban Boston enclaves. “$12,000,” the moderator answered. Maybe we could all use a little more perspective?

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  • joanmcn@aol.com

    I came from a house that both parents worked and I had a sick sister as well. We didn’t get everything we wanted and we were told no more often than not. We grew up- I’m close to sixty and my sister died at 17- knowing that we were loved. I have a sense of respect, compassion, politeness and all the qualities any parent should pass to their kids. My parents are both gone now but I thank God for the upbringing I had. That did a great job…

  • ML

    While I agree with much of this article, the one major point I think it misses is the tendency of these parents to focus on their own self-gratification as well. After all, children model adult behaviour. I have a few neighbors that refer to their expensive vacations with a moan, saying that it is just managing their children in a different location. I see a few mom’s do nothing more than tote their kids around in a stroller so the mom’s can get their exercise (and these kids are old enough to walk). I’m all about balance for the kids, but it seems to me that a lot of these parents are just as spoiled and selfish as their kids. And I know plenty of adults in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s that would be taken aback if their perceived abilities were criticized. As a society, both adults and children have become aculturized to expect nothing but positive interactions and self-gratification.

  • Fruity

    I took this article to heart and decided to make my spoiled kids help with chores around the house. I handed my 10 year old son a trash can of recycles and asked him to take them out to the garage. The next day I look out in the yard and the recycles are strewn across the yard. He apparently forgot what he was doing during the 20 steps from the kitchen to the garage. I tried again. Sent him back out to pick up the recycles and put them in the garage. 5 minutes later he showed up back in the kitchen with the full can of recycles that he was going to put back. I tried a 3rd time. Finally, the recycles made it to the recycling bin in the garage. I am one of those parents who finds it easier to do it myself but this article does make me realize that I’m not doing him any favors in the long run.

    • D Schulz

      And with other kids it might have been 5 or 6 times. I pray for the strength to keep trying.

  • http://www.my-little-poppies.com Caitie

    Fantastic article, Julie! I agree on all points. More parent should opt out of this rat race- it’s not healthy for anyone.

  • msmassachusetts

    I see in this article the same basis for parenting philosophy as that of the self-esteem movement – little more than speculation. I am one of the least authoritarian persons I know, and my kids aren’t spoiled at all. We are well off, yet when my older daughter wanted to go to Chicago to visit a friend she took a cheap bus and stayed in a youth hostel out of her own meager earnings from a pet store job. She came out of me already that way. I didn’t raise her to do that any more than my sister raised her son to spend every penny that came his way the instant it hit his pocket. Most of the people I know who are very strict with their children have problem children (college dropouts, drug use), but what came first? The chicken or the egg? You are dealt a hand when you have a child and you have very little control over how they turn out, because a large part of behavior is innate. I know one family of my relations, kids got everything they wanted and acted spoiled with whining, bickering, rudeness, etc. But now as young adults they are admirable and polite. One is a straight-A student in college, attends church and works in a preschool every summer, another became an Eagle scout. I swear the topic of conversation for many years in our family was how spoiled those kids were.
    Of course when I have my kids help with household chores, I have to follow through, otherwise I’m training them to ignore me, but I have to do that with my husband too. I view that as normal human interaction with people you live with, not some kind of training. Most of the raising of kids that I attempt to do is by example and conversation. But I have kids for which that works. It seems obvious to me that the most important thing I did to obtain good kids was to pick a husband with good genes.

    • pixiedust8

      Agreed. I think it depends on your kids’ personalities to a large extend. My child is very self-motivated and nice. I’d like to take the credit, but I think some of it is just his nature. I never have to raise my voice and I rarely have to nag. I think the key is helping your kids learn to help themselves,.

    • D Schulz

      Don’t sell yourself short! Nature and nurture both come into play! I do agree that identifying your kids natural tendencies and working with your kids to see them and work with them is critical. Some kinds can’t naturally wait for 3 weeks to save for a toy they want, others easily wait 3 months. If you are someone who can’t wait, then you encourage entrepreneurial endeavors to show them how to get their quicker. If you are someone who can wait then you encourage shopping around for the best price and features while you wait. Many parents don’t have the self-awareness to do this for themselves, much less for their little humans.

      I’m about 50/50. Sometimes I can knock it out of the park as a parent, other times I am the worst example and have to kick myself out of it. God help us all.

  • Brock Putnam

    I recall my son (in his early teens) complaining that something or other wasn’t “fair.” He pressed the point – I finally responded. “It’s not fair that you’ve never been hungry a day in your life when a third to a quarter of the world goes to sleep hungry every night. Don’t go wishing life was ‘fair,’ you might discover what ‘fair’ would really mean to you.”

  • LadyPack

    Just some thoughts…
    1. Shouldn’t confuse self-esteem with sense of self worth–children need to feel loved, competent, and worthy. The odds are, they will in turn be kind and caring.
    2. People took the idea of self-esteem and turned it into nonsense. False and over praising, “student of the week,” and competition among children and parents. The irony is that all this praise and competition makes kids feel LESS confident and eager to risk new or challenging things.
    3. Schools can be miserable places for children and getting worse–red marks, meanness, homework, competition, constant testing, and little or no play or recess, all contribute to a whole host of problem behaviors in children.
    4. Children get too much stuff-and so do adults. Special holidays and birthdays used to be a time for gift giving. Now it’s all the time. Go to MacDonalds and get a happy meal with toys! (junk). The more stuff they get, the more they want.
    5.It wasn’t about the price of the bikes. It was probably that an outdoor, physical activity wasn’t high on their list of presents (maybe a new Ipad would have done it). Also, when they get so much, they cannot see value in something special.
    6. I think parents in the last 40 years feel less confident. They are bombarded with advice and scary warnings. They ask their very young children, “Do you want to go to bed now? Do you want to take a bath? You have to stop hitting your sister, okay?” –instead of matter-of-factly telling children what needs to happen and doing it. I think that’s because they’re so unsure of themselves as parents.
    7. Parents are much too involved with their children and children have very little time to be independent and develop the confidence and skills to work out how to be with other people. And btw, just have fun and adventure AWAY FROM ADULTS!
    8. I agree with “msmassachusett,” that some children from overindulged homes can grow up to be fine outstanding adults, but far too many do not. And, the years of raising them can be more trying than they need to be.

  • Therealkhaleesi

    While I agree with a majority of the points in this article, I would
    hesitate to overstate the relationship between college students dealing
    with depression and parents spoiling their children in childhood. I
    would argue that the prevalence of mental health issues on college
    campuses has more to do with natural feelings that arise out of major
    life transitions and the fact that the onset of many mental
    psychological conditions is between 18 and 24 rather than being given
    “too many trophies.” It’s nothing new.

  • Bella B.

    This article makes some good points, but I don’t agree with everything the author suggests. Paying children to be competitive or to get good grades is ridiculous in my opinion because it doesn’t teach them the real value of their accomplishments. Modeling good behavior (being kind, polite, writing thank you notes, etc.) and expecting children to do the same is something that not all adults do today…rather sad, isn’t it? If my child complained about a “mean” teacher, I would definitely explore what was going on and I would not expect any child to suffer through that! It’s just not right for teachers to be mean bullies…and some are…I had several. Raising children to have a good sense of self worth is important. If one has low self esteem as a child or adult, one does not live the best life.

    Also, I would like to say the Oxfam dinner described in the article is not the best way to illustrate the world’s disparity. I would guess that only a “privileged” community would even think of such a thing…and a physician, whether he or she serves a poor or upper class community makes a damn good living and can afford to get his or her kids what they need or want for the most part.

    This is nothing new, by the way. I grew up (in a very UN-posh community) with kids who got new cars, motorcycles, had families that owned vacation homes, etc. Not everyone had these things, of course, but some did, while it was an impossibility for others. People spend within their financial means, for the most part. I think it is normal for parents to provide things for their children. Children can grow up with lots of “stuff” and still learn that there are those who have less, they need to be grateful, give back to society, be kind, helpful, polite. This can easily be instilled by parents who need to stop looking at their phones and take the time to participate fully in raising a good human being.

  • Kevin Phelps

    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Countries
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Towns
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Neighbourhoods
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Schools
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Classes
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Sports
    Anti-Whites say there should be no White Anything

    Anti-Whites say there should be no White people

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti White.

    • Bella B.

      Kevin Phelps, did you mean to put this response in the Saida Grundy article comments section?

      • Kevin Phelps

        my comment belongs in EVERY article

        • American1

          Kevin Phelps,
          When are you going to say something about your WHITE pillowcase?

  • juliette_tanderson
  • Ann Hessenius

    Julie..This is one of the VERY best articles I have EVER read on this crucial subject. You are SOOOO wise in your assessment. Please, please keep writing/speaking/doing whatever you can do to discuss this. So much depends on a great course-correction of our narcissistic culture that has developed over (especially) the past 3 decades, and which has now accelerated to a point of dangerous magnitude.

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  • DeJure56

    It is indeed a critical subject. There are two key needs for children. First, as parents we need to provide them with life skills with which they can cope with adult life. If they are given everything they want and don’t have to make effort to achieve anything, how can they manage a career if they can’t persist in the face of difficulty. It doesn’t mean we have to beat them to death but just ensure that they learn to cope with things that don’t always go there way. They need to work as part of a group – initially the family, helping each other out.

    This is critical. While many say “oh, let them have their childhood – they can learn about these things later” it is actually a negative thing. One key element in the development of a child’s brain is that during early puberty the brain will destroy synaptic pathways that are not used and reinforce those pathways that are used more heavily. Basically, this means that if they haven’t achieved a reasonable level of life skills by that age, they will never have those strong skills…

  • ProPeople

    As soon as I hear a parent call one of their kids Buddy, I know they’ll have trouble before long.

  • ntznomad

    Who is this “we” that you speak of? My children have chores, work hard in school and extracurriculars, and are respectful to each other and adults.

    I am often called a “mean mom” by the same parents who complain about the behaviors you describe. Parenting well is HARD WORK. Most don’t want to do it.

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  • MoAnamCara

    I LOVE this article. My kids have chores, are doing great academically and yet, they are just as happy as the kids who are celebrating their birthdays at expensive places.

    Actually, my kids stop having birthday parties altogether when my son was 5 and my girl was 6. They said, some of the parties they were going to, are so childish; are sick of going to Chuck E Cheeses, My Gym, etc. and they realize, with the party money, we could do more during family vacation.
    I teach them how to distinguish ‘need’ and ‘want’. I proudly say, they never throw tantrum over toys and could make wise decision about what they want/ need to buy.

    All because of one thing. My best friend is one of the moms in the article. She lets her kids run around Toys R Us the day after Thanksgiving, armed with pens and paper to write down what toys they want for Christmas. Sometimes the list is a double page long. Amazingly, she would, in a whim, try to get them all, by buying them and then call every family member, saying ‘this is the toys they want in their list. I have them, would you buy it off me and wrap it so she could get it from you?’. Yet she wonders why her kids throw tantrum if they don’t get anything they want on daily basis, why her house is a mess and why she is not happy with everything, including her earning 6 figures salary husband.

    *sigh* So, like ntznomad said, I am dubbed by several as a ‘mean mom’ or worst, as a ‘tiger mom’ because I don’t cave in to every demands.

    • Kim Erban Bachman

      Woot! Woot!

  • http://Www.wholesomemamma.in/ Aloka Gambhir

    When i read such articles, i agree with most points ofcourse. it’s just that i often wonder about it because I am sure that every previous generation felt their kids were different form how they were brought up. our kids are growing up in a world very different from us, they are being parented by people very different from our parents. so they are bound to be different, have different values etc.
    we may not like it and ofcourse we as parents are to blame but it’s not necessarily always a bad thing that they are growing with plenty. empathy and putting yourself in other people’s shoes is something that comes with time and from within. if a child is always sheltered then maybe those lessons are learnt later.
    i just think that every generation thinks the same way as this. my parents always tell me when we were young we didnt answer like this or didnt have this etc.

    • Rosie

      You’re right… and you can trace a steady decline in motivation … respect… morals… etc. Maybe it’s time to take a stand instead of using that same old, tired excuse.

    • pixiedust8

      I think this younger generation is much more motivated to help others than older generations, so I definitely think you can choose to look on the bright side or the dark side (as you point out). Personally, I feel very optimistic about the future.

  • DIE_BankofAmerica_PHUKKING_DIE

    A good screaming at for a few hours a day never killed anyone and keeps the kids in line. Coupled with a strategically raised hand and threats to send kids up for adoption in Algeria keeps expectations more in line with reality and keeps kids rational.

    • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

      We used to say, “Get me the phone book. Look up O for orphanages.” Now we threaten military school (she’s finally old enough to be shipped off to one of those! glory be!). And of course, the old dungeon-and-bread-and-water threat works wonders. The advantage of this approach is that a whiny child quickly becomes a laughing child, and also that she knows what a phone book is, though come to think of it I’m not sure why she needs to.

      • DIE_BankofAmerica_PHUKKING_DIE

        Convent! Threaten to ship her off to a convent where everyone bathes in trench coats and gets a six hour whipping every morning at dawn in the name of God!

        • pixiedust8

          Ha! My mom used to threaten to send me to her old boarding school, which sounded very similar to your convent description. I have to admit that it didn’t strike that much fear into my heart, since it was halfway around the world…

  • Merrick

    I find this kind of article facile in reasoning and essentially boring.
    Every generation complains about how spoiled and useless the next is. I
    think the new generation — like all new generations — is probably
    better than the one that came before. Yes, kids are selfish by developmental stage and annoying to deal with; every generation thinks they’ve discovered this anew. But already we have strong evidence that Millennials exhibit MORE pro-social values than Gen-X (my generation) or Boomers.

    Anecdotally, I know tons of families raising kids with great values — with empathy for others, with a sense of responsibility to the community. A 2012 Pew Study reported that kids growing up in increasingly secular homes with strong ethical values centered around empathy and respect. Our society continues to bend towards justice — because we are collectively getting kinder.

    You can keep whining about these kids today, but I suspect it has more to do with our own aging and frustration with our growing irrelevance than with a clear-headed look at society.

  • pixiedust8

    Huh. My kid never complains if she asks for something and I don’t buy it for her and thanks me when I do buy things for her.She does get a lot compared to some kids (and not much compared to others), but she is always grateful. I don’t know if all her friends are quite as good as she is, but they are all nice, unspoiled kids. I think you are hanging around the wrong people.

    • Kim Erban Bachman

      ARE YOU KIDDING? THIS ARTICLE IS RIGHT ON TARGET! EXCELLENT, I MIGHT ADD! I DON’T HAVE ONE GRATEFUL CHILD, i HAVE 8 AND IT IS BECAUSE OF PRACTICES LIKE THIS!

      YOUR KID MAY NEVER COMPLAIN FOR OTHER REASONS THAT YOU MAY NOT BE SEEING! DO YOU HAVE MORE CHILDREN/DIVERSITY IN PERSONALITIES PIXIE? IF NOT, I SUGGEST GAINING INSIGHT OR KEEP YOUR NARROW MINDED OPINIONS TO YOU AND YOUR “ALMOST PERFECTLY” REARED CHILD! THIS ARTICLE MAY NOT BE FOR YOU!

      I WOULD GIVE THE SAME ADVICE TO CATE AS THE AUTHOR DID NOT ADDRESS KIDS WITH DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES EITHER. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT HE IS SAYING AND APPLY IT TO YOUR CHILD AS WELL. AND MAKE THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS. I WORK WITH PEOPLE WITH DISSABILITIES AND IF LEFT UNCHECKED, THEIR ENTITLEMENT IS WORSE THAN THOSE WITH TYPICAL ABILITIES!

      MY, ALL CAPS, IS BECAUSE I FEEL SO STRONG ON THIS SUBJECT AS I HAVE SPENT THE PAST 30 YEARS UNDOING THE DAMAGE OF BEING RAISED, ALMOST TO A TEE, AS THIS ARTICLE DESCRIBES AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO AS IT IS VITAL TO MY OWN SELF FIRST! YOU
      CANNOT TEACH/GIVE WHAT YOU DO NOT OWN!
      AND IT IS RAMPANT IN THIS COUNTRY! END OF STORY!

      • pixiedust8

        Good luck to you working on those issues.

        • Kim Erban Bachman

          Thanks Pixie! I am sorry for the “narrowminded” comment :( that was very rude of me!

          I have learned and changed the way I believe and was able to pass this on to my children, mostly because I learned that there was a God and that this life was so much more than I ever knew! I have a great, supportive, faithful and aware husband plus 8 amazing, grateful, lovely children who have grown and far exceeded my expectations and even fears of what children can grow up to become! It could have gone terribly wrong!!!!

          With that said, I do think that we need to be careful not to look at changing our children, but focus on changing ourselves! Just like the push to build self esteem was off balance, so will this next wave be, if we do not look inward instead of projecting it to the children! They have parents for a reason!!

          Thanks for responding with such grace, it’s not wonder your daughter does the same! :) You know what they say about apples!!!

  • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    I am so tired of writers who confess to spoiling their children and then try to speak for everyone. Speak for yourself. My kid doesn’t respond to a broken toy with a “don’t worry, we’ll buy another one,” because she doesn’t hear that from adults. She doesn’t beg for treats every time we shop because from a very young age, when she asked, she almost always got a “no,” and if she responded to that with whining, the no got firmer.

    I don’t always parent as I aspire to, and my child doesn’t always behave as I hope she will, but this “oh we’re all so awful” needs a mirror more than a platform in a magazine.

    • Cate Mikkelsen

      Amy, it’s very easy to criticize parents in today’s world. From the “refrigerator mom” who was ostensibly responsible for autism (got THAT one wrong), to the ubiquitous helicopter parent, our journalism is full of mythical “lousy parents” at whom countless admonitory articles are aimed. Too bad that it doesn’t get as many clicks to write about joyful parents who make their kids make their beds, save their money, and do their chores.

      Personally, I’m waiting for someone to write about the mythical parent of a kid with learning differences who uses positive reinforcement (because failing all the time is brutal), looks out for their kid in school (because otherwise they fall through the cracks,) and negotiates with the school to get legal support. But those don’t drive clicks either!

      • Katherine Chapman

        Well your kid has arrived. I am clinically diagnosed with ADHD, Intermittent Explosive disorder and learning deficits in key areas like spatial perception hence why I don’t drive at the age of 27.

        My mom is 66 years old with multiple advanced degrees in science. Well from the time I was four years old my mother coddled me and was involved in my life to the point where she knew my teachers just as well if not better than I did. The effect of this was years of low self-esteem and getting used to putting in no effort for passing grades in school. This has led to feeling like I am not good enough to succeed without my parents and therefore I don’t put any effort into myself. Mix that in with psychiatric disorders and you have yourself a vicious self-depreciation complex. I am going to volunteer for an organization that helps people with addiction and homelessness issues and hopefully that will inspire me to see potential in myself. So over parenting can be psychologically damaging to children. Being a parent is just that being a parent.

        Regards,

        Katherine

  • ComputerPolitics

    I agree we shouldn’t spank our kids. But, I feel it would be awesome if we could spank other kids.

    • http://inspirationshaveinone.blogspot.com Naville T
    • marc zimmerman

      KIDS NEED SPANKINGS. you people talk about the better behavior of kids? well GUESS WHAT THAT INCLUDED? spankings. Let me be clear….the kids are able to be “spanked” by cops with tazers and sticks, AND can be tried as adults. Its really funny how the country with the Jail based on profit system, is first in line to promote “dont spank your kids” but yet will allow police to do whatever to kids. Including pepper spraying them. For throwing a tantrum in a class? little kids ahve been handcuffed!!!! But you spank your kids and all of the sudden youre a bad guy right? and have you seen the kid shows nowadays like Callio? THE PARENTS SPEND EVERY WAKING MOMENT saying YES YES YES to the kid, and he gets WHATEVER he wants, until HE feels that he shouldnt have it. You people have taken ANY form of decent kids shows and assured there were no adults taking the lead. Even seseme street. Snuffle uppagus, now isnt “secret” because you people deemed the secret friend as pandering to PEDOPHILES! LOL so…has the pedophile numbers dropped now that you screw around with seseme street? yet at the same time you had some gay man as exec producer and running the elmo puppet that gets charged with sex assault allegations!!

  • Sambo57

    Well I see the comments below but my kids have fallen victim to this new stupid rule of everyone is a winner crap. And now when I play basketball with them hacky sack or anything that has to do with loosing they them selfs loose. They huff puff and give up and of course I don’t give into that behavior but no matter how hard I try it seems the damage from this new way of things is done. Work hard and play hard that’s how we did it growing up and now kids can’t even play tag because there is a loser and some sorry to say stupid overbearing parent is the cause of this movement. So now my kids can’t learn the basics of winning and loosing with other kids as a team now every one is a winner hoo ray NOT. It is stupid that I went to a soccer game to watch my little cousin play and when I asked the score everyone looked at me like I was crazy. They replied there is no score. I nearly lost it. How can they learn to strive to be better to go beyond their limits and push harder if there is no drive to do so. Oh but here is a trophie for nothing yay good job at sucking is what that is saying. I am personally fed up with this new way of things to try to make everyone equal crap. Because not every kid is equal yes some kids are faster and some throw better and some well can’t. Well that’s life and for the kids who can’t perform as the others it might make them want to. To win or to try and move on to the next thing. I cried when I lost a few matches of wrestling growing up. But those tears was because I worked my butt off in those matches but it did not stop me I got up and went to practice and went on to the next one. So I guess what I am trying to say is this new age we are in sucks for kids because they are being taught nothing but by parents like myself. Yeah sure they are learning abc 123 but life skills none any more and to be honest I fear for my children in the future and feel sorry when I tell them no I can’t help that they have to figure things out on their own. I do that now to but my influence is only a part because I got everything else working against me so who knows.

  • Sharon37

    We live in a world where everyone thinks they are the exception to the rule. Special people dont have to follow rules because they are destined for specialness and happiness. Many of these speciial parents will read this article knowing that it applies to them and how they spoil their kids. Then they will go into how they are too special to raise their kids like that and they are NOT one of those parents. The comments justifying how they raise their kids differently are probably the very ones who are spoiling their kids. You can reason and talk to kids but spankings should be used as well. Depends on the child. Spare the rod, spoil the child.