Parents Are We Raising Praise Junkies?

Image: Suat Eman /

I came across this article and it pretty much sums up what I’ve been saying for years.

We have created a generation of children who are so addicted to their own hype that they don’t know how to really do anything.

I know some of you are immediately taking offense. “Not my kid!” you gasp. Well, maybe you got one of the kids who isn’t affected by this. The rest of us are stuck with under achievers.

Remember when we were in school and grades were a big deal? Or was it just my Catholic schools? Where grades were posted publicly on the board and there was no way in hell you wanted to be at the bottom of the list. We wanted to be close to the top, if not at the very top. We knew an A was good and anything else was blah.

That’s not happening any more. Now it seems that everyone passes. Because we need to bolster self esteem. Apparently, this generation of children isn’t capable of handling the stress of actually being anywhere but the top of the pile. So everyone’s at the top.

These are the same kids who get trophies for any sports team they play with. Participation trophies are all the rage. They are cluttering up our houses. They are meaningless, people. Can’t we save the real trophies for first, second, and third place?

Do you know what happens when we continually tell our children they are the best ever and that the world revolves around them? They begin to believe it. But it doesn’t make them want to actually strive to be better. Why put out the effort when they are already there? Why bother working a little harder when everyone gets the same grade/trophy/amount of praise no matter how hard they do or don’t work?

There’s a car commercial right now where the lovely tween in the back seat is embarrassed for his friend with the uncool parents while he lounges in luxury with his DVD player and head phones and can ignore his parents. Seriously? Does the tween actually influence his parents’ car-buying? And if he does, are those parents morons?

Do you remember car trips when you were a kid? I do. And they weren’t pleasant. No mini van for us. We had a two-door Chevelle. It wasn’t completely awful, unless we took Gramma on the six-hour drive to Omaha. Then we were a little cramped. Music? We were lucky that we had an eight-track stereo‚Ķwith country music.

Now we’re telling kids that they should not have to listen to anything but their movie? No! You must play I Spy and the Alphabet Game with us. Read a book. Do puzzles. Listen to a sibling whine the whole trip. Listen to your parents fight over directions. Just like we did as kids.

I think we have overcompensated for the grief we felt as kids. Grades on the board were humiliating. But it built character. It created people who studied and prepared. Participation trophies make up for the time we got nothing because our team sucked. Vehicles equipped with DVD players and head phones give us the escape we needed and wanted when we were forced to travel with our families.

I don’t think we’ve done our kids any favors by being so soft on them. All I see are a lot kids who are content to sit around playing video games and getting by with minimal effort. You build self-esteem by being proud…of yourself. We can encourage our children and we should when they are doing something good or right. But they get their self-esteem from within themselves. When they understand on their own that they accomplished something. Being told they are great/wonderful/incredible doesn’t build self-esteem. It builds false vanity.

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Parents Are We Raising Praise Junkies?

  1. I hope you don’t mind I tweeted your link (I know you don’t) because I just love this post so much. Yes… we are a society raising praise junkies! I try so very hard to not let my kids fall into this trap. It isn’t easy. My nephew plays sports and I am so sick and tired of asking who won the game only to be told, “They are all winners.” Bullshit! What are these kids learning? That it’s okay to lose because you still come out on top? What is going to happen to these kids when they are out in the real world and experience disappointment? They are going to fall flat on their faces because they won’t know how to deal with it.

    My girls lose games. My girls get in trouble for bad grades and lost assignments. And that’s the way I like it.

    • You know what happens to these kids in the real world? They don’t want entry-level jobs; they want management. They don’t want to make $30k, they demand $60k. Why work their way UP when that’s where they are starting out!

      xo Susie

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  3. WOW!!! I thought it was only me who thought this way and I was a bad person…
    I dont have children but I have neices and nephews. I agree totally with what you have said, and sadly too many parents fall into the same mould by telling their children its not how you play the game, its how you win.
    I blame the parents (because I can) – they semm to be trying to make up for something they lacked as children.
    My car trips as a child were like yours – no DVD player, no mini-van, no earphones to drown out my brother whinning ARE WE THERE YET before we even got out of the garage.
    However my brother must have forgotten because the first year that the portable DVD players came out he went and bought 2 so that his children would be quiet when they were in the truck (and then whinned about how much they cost – looked good on him).
    As for the trophies and badges – I understand it to some degree but that doesnt mean I agree with it. If parents are goingto make their children strive for greatness at home, how can we expect that from organized extra curicular activities.
    Just sayin…

    • I don’t think you need to be a parent to see where this is leading! Just go into any public place where kids are and see how parents let them behave however they want. God forbid we say no or let them feel any discomfort!

      xo Susie

  4. I agree! My sons soccer league didn’t keep score for games until the 10yr old bracket! WTH? How are they supposed to learn how to deal with losing and how to be a gracious winner? It’s bullshit…plain and simple!

    • I get the no-score rule when they are preschool/kindergarten age. You know, when actually scoring seems more like a mistake? But 10yo is way too old to play that way!

      xo Susie

  5. So true! I just don’t get it. We had try outs for sports and some people didn’t make the team (I didn’t make the school cheerleading team and my sister did) I am not bitter about it! I just tried harder and made it the next year (as an alternate..guess I kinda sucked at cheerleading. but I am ok with that) Even now with my three old we play candy land and sometimes she wins and sometimes she doesn’t! I feel like she has to learn how to deal with losing sometimes. Great Post =)

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