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Sunday, July 17, 2011



Do we praise our children enough? 
I was grocery shopping the other day and overheard a mommy asking her five year old, “Can you get the box of ‘Fruity Choc Crap Oats’ for mommy please?”  The child waddled over and retrieved the cereal for mommy. 

“Good Job! High Five! Woo Hoo!”
T h e    c h i l d    r e t r i e v e d    a    b o x    o f    c e r e a l.  Calm down lady.  Wouldn’t a “Thank you” be enough for Christmas sake?

Today’s kids get a “Good Job!” and a high five for everything.  I have even heard the “Good Job!” encouragement for eating.  “Take a bite for mommy.  Good Job!”
Parents: Consuming life sustaining nutrients is not a “Good Job!” it is called freaking living.  Children HAVE TO EAT!  Accomplishing this feat – EATING - does not deserve a “Good Job!” an “ATTA BOY” a High Five or a “Woo Hoo!”

Fuck self-esteem.  Our children will earn self-esteem by accomplishing real shit.  Praising children for completing simple tasks like eating, drinking milk, pooping and peeing, or putting toys away will not give a child self-esteem, it will give the child an inflated perception of his/her position in the world.
Children must think, “I pooped and got a ‘Good Job!’? Surely the Sun must revolve around ME!”  OK, the very first potty poop needs a high five, but calm down a bit or your little precious will expect something for everything he does.

This “Good Job” “Atta Boy” “Yippee” “Woo Hoo” High fiving fist pumping generation eventually will grow up and earn a living.  How will they react when they do not get “Good Job” comment for everything they do? 
“Gee Mr. Brown, I stacked those shelves very neatly; don’t I get a ‘Good Job!’?”

“Gosh Ms. Prissy I worked really hard on that report; why didn’t you give me a big red ‘EXCELLENT’ and a sticky?”
“Damn Mr. O’Brian; I made it to work on time, where is my high five....and a juice box?”

Every child must learn at some time that the world does not revolve around them.  It is best if they learn this at home.  Benny the Bully, Miss Crabtree the Teacher, or Mr. Douchbag the Boss will not make the lesson easy.  You can gently let them know what the world expects of them, or they can find out from people that don’t give a shit about their feelings.
Parents - teach your children well, encourage them when appropriate, give them love and affection, but don’t give them false expectations.

You can do it.

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  1. Unfortunately, people really have started a movement of praise that leads to self involved kids who have an inflated sense of self worth.

    Teens think that if they don't have the latest iPhone, iPod, $200 shoes, a Coach purse, and jeans that cost $150, then they're neglected, and life is ending.

    Then the parents who created these monsters sit and complain about them. Well, complain about yourself, asshole, you created the monster, not society. Yes, they have friends with that shit. It doesn't mean you have to give it to them.

    I remember when I was a kid (which hell, wasn't that long ago), and we didn't even have a TV in our room, let alone $2000 worth of electronic devises. I had a book shelf filled with books.

    Kids today would rather text than talk. And chores? Forget it.

    I have 3 kids- they have daily chores. They wear the clothes I buy, not the clothes they want. They don't each own $1000 in electronic devises. They know how to say please and thank you.

    My teen has an attitude, but she also knows that throwing it around only gets her privlages taken away- like being able to leave her room, call her friends, or spend an hour online.

    Sure, they probably feel like they don't get all the things their friends get, but my take on it is tough fucking luck to you. You want it, get a job, save your money, and buy it.

  2. Participation Trophies are a category of reward that is relatively new. Think about it for a second... you get a trophy for participation - for showing up. So participation is reward worthy? Then we wonder why we have a second rate culture and why america as a nation ranks so low on the world scale. Go back and read "The Greatest Generation" and try to find the participation trophies... While things change, some concepts should be like bedrock. Building strong people, strong communities and a strong nation seems to be out of vogue these days... too bad for us.

  3. I'm with you on this. The thing is, kids aren't fooled. They know when they're being cheated out of real praise. They give out awards in my son's class - he got one for 'respecting others'. I said Good Job (oh yes, I did). He said, 'it was my turn'. He's 7.

    Visiting via the Rewind.

  4. Taken on the chin from the wisdom of the cranky old man to a newish older mother of a 9 month old and 33 month old. It's not too late for me! Visiting from the rewind.

  5. I must say... there are days when a "good job" for eating is well warranted - after all, the Munchkin just survived 1/2 an hour of pestering, at least that long again of stubbornly denying and so on... and the participation trophy for his first dance concert was well deserved - but yes, I do mostly agree with you. Kids should be rewarded for real achievements, not just getting on with life. But we're now taught to praise the effort, not the results...

    No, I'd still love to see him win a merit award, stand on the number 1 spot on the podium and take home the Oscar! Exceptional achievements SHOULD still be rewarded - let's hope we get kids that aim for them!

  6. "Our children will earn self-esteem by accomplishing real shit." Totally with you on that one. I can't stand the 'self-esteem' brigade, I really can't. Self-esteem at the expense of self-respect is so not worth it!!

    I overheard a woman praise her son for blowing his nose 'really well' the other day. WTF?


  7. that's why we are dealing with a ME generation... is it going to get even worse?..


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