admin Posted on 8:52 am

Self-esteem or selfish steam?

Esteem. Right. We hear a lot about these terms these days. Especially when it comes to our children. Everyone from parents to teachers to elected officials is terrified of breaking our children’s delicate sense of self. And what was the result?

We seem to have created a generation of children who:

  • They do not accept constructive criticism.
  • Don’t think they need to change and grow
  • Has difficulty with the word “no”
  • They have an inflated and unrealistic sense of their own talents.
  • Feel entitled to frequent awards and recognition
  • Have little idea of ​​what it means to make an authentic contribution.
  • They have little desire to go beyond their comfort zones.
  • They are very defensive and feel like “I’m fine just the way I am.”

Let’s be clear on one thing: Self-esteem, an unshakable sense of our own core worth, is a vitally important ingredient for healthy development. But what went wrong? Why is it that with all our efforts to raise children with high self-esteem, we seem to have done the exact opposite? How is it that we have created, instead, a generation of children (often referred to as “Generation Y”) who live in sheltered delusional bubbles? Why is there so much talk of a “rights epidemic”?

It’s about pain

The problem stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of pain: OUR misunderstanding, not our children’s.

Many (most?) Of us were raised in shame. When we did something “wrong” or did not meet expectations, we were devalued. They may even have openly insulted us, called us by nicknames. We got the message that there was something wrong or unworthy about us. As a result, they hurt us emotionally. We don’t want to do the same with our children. So we overcompensate by protecting them from pain.

But in fact, pain and shame are two different things. It is WE who have not been able to tell you.

When we hear the word “no”, when we see a “C-” instead of an “A +”, when we look at a losing score at a ball game, we equate it with shame for the way we were raised. So in an effort to prevent our children from being hurt, we try to protect them from pain. But pain is not what should worry us; just shame.

Because we don’t get that distinction, we protect our children from reality. We protect them from the truth. We would rather lie to our children than allow them to experience their own wonderful, invaluable, and instructive pain!

What are some of the ways we protect our children?

  • Telling them that their work is “amazing”, even if it shows little effort or mastery.
  • Eliminating most forms of performance rating or measurement
  • Give prizes and awards to all children to prevent someone from being labeled a “loser.”
  • Eliminating evaluative language from the classroom, dance floor, and playing field
  • By failing to correct failures in our children’s performance in sports, arts, or recreational skills.
  • Blaming the teacher if our child receives less than perfect evaluations
  • Giving “everyone a chance” to play or act, even if they haven’t earned it
  • And so on …

Here is a funny poem on the subject.

Selfish Steam (by Andy Wolfendon)

I don’t know for sure what it is, this thing called Selfish Steam,

I know protecting him is the ultimate adult plan.

“You mustn’t tell the boy that he failed his weekly spelling test.

He shouldn’t break the news, his pitching isn’t the best in the nation.

You must not tell the girl that she is not the champion, you will crush her dream.

In fact, don’t say anything to the children, you will crush their selfish Steam. “

“No, when we do a contest, we will give a prize to ALL the children,

We will award nice trophies to EVERYONE who tries,

And when they run a race, we will say that EVERYONE is the winner,

Then EVERYONE can be the best, from experts to beginners.

And when the kids draw a picture, we’ll declare it ULTRA-LARGE!

Be it the Mona Lisa or a figure eight. “

But if I get a trophy even though I haven’t scored,

And every effort, good or bad, receives the same reward,

Why should you try it? Why do my best? And this is what I can’t see

If EVERYONE is special, what is special about me?

When I’m older, will there be a harvest that I’ll be the cream of?

I probably don’t know much, but I’ll have tons of Selfish Steam!

Pain is our FRIEND

The truth is that by protecting our children from discomfort, shame, criticism, judgment, disappointment, pain, in all its forms, we deprive them of a crucial opportunity to grow!

Pain is one of the best teachers in life. Pain is an ally, not an enemy. Pain is a sign that we have run into a limitation that must be transcended. Without that signal that bothers us, we do not transcend. We don’t get up. We don’t get better than we were yesterday. We get stuck.

Today’s parenting model is about allowing kids to get stuck and feel good about it, rather than grow up.

Human beings do not grow by avoiding pain, but by assuming it, pushing it, rising above it. As parents, we have to get it. We need to hug him.

Two simple solutions

If parents want to end the false self-esteem / rights epidemic, the solution is simple:

1. They must be complete with their OWN pasts. Parents need to heal their own wounds, rather than run from them. They need to stop living through their children and become whole and complete in themselves. Only by doing this will they stop pampering their children (who don’t really need pampering at all).

2. They must teach their children to be lovers of TRUTH. Parents should encourage their children to love the truth, even when it hurts. The truth is, not everyone can be a Major League Baseball pitcher, famous recording artist, or movie star. Only by letting children experience the pain of discovering what they are NOT good at will they discover what they ARE good at (their true and precious design).

Parents have a crucial choice: they can avoid discomfort and allow their children to avoid it, OR they can approach it with enthusiasm, seeing it as a teacher, a gift, a motivator.

It is NOT a question of love

Today’s parents are not inadequate, nor do we lack love for our children. We love our children and we are doing our best, given the way we were raised. It is a question of results: the results that we are obtaining are not good. We need to correct our focus. We are harming our children by depriving them of experiencing discomfort and the truth, the best teachers in life.

Pain can be met with tact, grace, and wisdom, in a way that does not insult, devalue, or deny anyone. And that’s what we, as parents, should start to do!

Copyright 2007 – Michelle Rigg

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