Building self esteem does not come from external events or awards, it comes from within. I feel that because we’re trying so hard to comfort our children through success, we’re denying them the chance to learn from failure. With these actions, we’re only teaching our kids to focus on themselves, not encouraging them to celebrate the victories of their peers. And because of this, I believe children are driven to be more self-focused.
Of course, we don’t want to see our children sad or hurt, but shielding them eliminates the chance for them to learn or experience the joy of winning—or of accomplishment.\ Commercials, TV shows, movies and friends at school all tell our kids, “This is the new thing. This is what everybody’s getting. If you don’t have it, you won’t be cool.” So it’s easy for us, as parents, to feel obligated to give to our children. Pretty soon, however, our children will grow to expect it.
We live in a fast-paced, over-commercialized world that inundates us with the “latest and greatest” things. How many people already have the iPhone 6? Or how many parents feel pressured to get their elementary school child a cell phone—let me rephrase that—an iPhone because all of the other kids have one?
I can tell you that as parents, the more we can say “no,” the better our children will be because of it. Delaying the yes’s and helping them understand that waiting and working for things will only help prepare them for life.
I’m not saying it’s not a good thing to give to your children. But I do believe that the way you give to them can either help them develop a sense of ownership by earning things, or nurture a sense of false entitlement because they’re usually getting what they want, when they want it. And when kids grow up with a false sense of entitlement, you’ll see them thinking they’re entitled to expensive toys, electronic gadgets or even jobs as they get older, without having or wanting to earn them.
It’s not easy today raising kids. And just because you might have the “means” to give them great things, doesn’t mean you should. Because, in a sense, you’re robbing them of the enjoyment of earning it themselves one day.