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Mom Confessions Mom Confessions

Does High Self Esteem Make Selfish Kids?

Posted by on May. 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM
  • 90 Replies
4 moms liked this
I have no problem telling my kids I love them and I'm proud of them. I have no issue telling them they did a good job on something they've worked hard at. But I am not comfortable with the idea that we must constantly feed our kids' self esteem. There are articles all over the place about developing your child's self esteem. I hear it all day long on parenting shows, in parenting forums, and in literature sent home from school. I'm all for praising for a job well done but I worry that this over-the-top concern for a child's self worth is going to give us a generation of self centered, spoiled, selfish adults. We cannot all be the best at everything. We cannot all win all the time. Are we teaching our children to deal with loss and disappointment or are we making them fully incapable of dealing with the negative in life because it doesn't make them feel good about themselves? Just wondering if I'm alone in this worry. Are we building healthy self values or are we digging our own graves? ETA: There's a picture that has been circulating on Facebook for a few months now with a quote on it that has really inspired this post. It says, "Parents need to fill a child's bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can't poke enough holes to drain it dry...." -Alvin Price Something about this quote does not set right with me. Something about it screams at me that my only job is to make my kids feel good about themselves. I may be reading too much into it. And in this post I'm not talking about a healthy sense of self worth. I'm talking about the over the top I-can-do-no-wrong sense that I'm seeing in spades lately.
by on May. 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM
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Replies (1-10):
kikibix
by Platinum Member on May. 22, 2013 at 10:54 PM
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I think being kind but honest is the best way to go.  If we can't be honest with our kids won't they just be in for a huge letdown later on and not trust us?   Of course praise what's praise worthy but use the not so great things as teachable moments. Balance in life, in all things, is important.

BestestMom11
by Gold Member on May. 22, 2013 at 11:01 PM
3 moms liked this
I was literally JUST thinking this very same thing last week.

There is nothing wrong with my self esteem, but back in the 60's, and 70's, we weren't fed all of this, "You're AWESOME!" stuff.

I am currently reading a book (Baby Brain Rules) that also addresses this topic. When a child accomplishes something, like passing a test, instead of saying, "You're so smart!", you could say, "You did such a good job studying and look how it paid off!"
Not_A_Native
by Ruby Member on May. 22, 2013 at 11:03 PM
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That kind of self esteem is a false sense of it.   Self esteem comes from the SELF - from accomplishments.  By DOING someting - getting a good grade, doing well on a test, mastering a skill, doing well at a game.  Just saying you love them and they're great kids - does nothing for the SELF.  Just makes them look for external praise.

FarmWife
by on May. 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM

bump

jen2150
by Platinum Member on May. 23, 2013 at 8:33 AM
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My son has high self esteem sometimes too much.  He is also a very unselfish person and loses without much difficulty.  I don't think the two are related.  My younger son has low self esteem.  He has the biggest heart but he is so hard on himself.  Does not handle losing well at all.  I am working on helping him to cope with how he feels and better coping mechanisms.  Selfish children has nothing to do with self esteem.  It has more to do with their parents and how they were taught how to treat others.  My karate instructor has incredible high self esteem and is one of the nicest and most uplifting person I have ever met.  We do want balance in our praise of our children.  We should praise hard work more than outcome.  We don't want our children thinking we are only proud of them when they do well.

supercarp
by on May. 23, 2013 at 8:40 AM
1 mom liked this

People who are self-centered and spoiled do not have a solid self-esteem. And just because you tell a kid they did great doesn't mean they believe they did anything great. Kids are smart. If you constantly praise a kid when they only did what they were supposed to do your praise becomes worthless.

The important issue is to release your child from needing affirmation from others: to know that you are proud of them and love them. But first you have to raise them to be people who do good things.

dtm1491
by on May. 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

No the point is to have a healthy self esteem. To set attainable goals and to know your capabilities and to eventually reach for higher goals.

lovnmy3boys
by Paula on May. 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM
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Each kid and each situation is different. 

I always hug my kids, tell them I love them... I think you need to let them know you believe in them, let them know life is all about choices and making the RIGHT ones... Allow them to make some of their own choices as they are growing... 

Some may not agree, but I've always told my kids how good they were, smart etc. I think you have to build kids up. The world will try to knock them down soon enough. 

Having confidence in yourself and self esteem is necessary... 

Another thing you can do, is volunteer with them, give to needy families at Christmas time, or whenever and involve your kids. Have them give their outgrown clothes and toys away. Don't give them every last thing they ask for... 

We've asked our kids to do one random act of kindness every day and talk about it at dinner.

teeflowerchild
by on May. 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I think it's good to build their self esteem, especially when they are young. I don't feel they should get a "prize" for everything they do, it makes them feel entitled later on...they need to know that failure is okay it happens to everyone. If we don't teach them how to handle the crap that life throws at you while they are young, later in life it could be something small that totally devastates them. i also feel that they need to know you have uncondiotional love for them, whether they make right choices or not. I have seen some entitled teenagers when things don't go their way, what a show THAT was!!

ALWsMomma
by on May. 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM
This is exactly how I see it


Quoting Not_A_Native:

That kind of self esteem is a false sense of it.   Self esteem comes from the SELF - from accomplishments.  By DOING someting - getting a good grade, doing well on a test, mastering a skill, doing well at a game.  Just saying you love them and they're great kids - does nothing for the SELF.  Just makes them look for external praise.


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