Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sometimes you have to Abuse your kids just a little bit

Ok, take your hand off the phone. No need to call social services.

I was watching Christopher Titus last night on the comedy channel, and in one of his many whip-smart, hilarious rants, he used that phrase. Brilliant comedians don't just make you laugh, they make you think. He is one of those comedians.

He talked about how crazy it is that we reward kids for basically showing up (trophies for everyone!), and want to do everything in our power to keep their ever expanding egos ever expanding.

Don't criticize.

Don't discipline.

Don't show disappointment.

So, what are we creating? What kind of next generation can we expect?

I'm sorry to say, but I think it's going to be a generation of emotionally stunted, egocentric, weaklings who don't have the ability to pick themselves up by their bootstraps, because they were never knocked down.

I've written about it before (once or twice). How we over-praise our kids. We over-involve ourselves. We over-protect. And yes, by we I mean myself included.

I grew up in a house where praise was in short supply, but I still knew I was loved. I tried to work hard, because so much was expected of me, and I was certainly going to hear about it if I fell short. There were no trophies just for showing up. You lost. Maybe even cried about it. And then you moved on.

But the greatest successes in my life came from people telling me I couldn't do something. I write this blog, and the single biggest motivating factor in doing it was that my husband said that he didn't think I would do it. Not that I couldn't, but that I wouldn't. You'd be amazed what can be accomplished if for no other reason than to prove someone wrong.

I know it feels good to pat your kid on the back. But maybe if we only do it when they deserve it they'll work just a little bit harder. Because they'll know when that pat on the back comes, they earned it.

1 comment:

Mark and Emily said...

It's such a hard balance. I think this will be tough for me, I'm kinda into the whole praise thing to build their self esteem. I don't think I'll have a problem with discipline. But for now when my picky Elizabeth eats more than 3 bites of anything I get really excited, haha!!

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