Are we raising a generation of self entitled monsters?

in #life4 years ago


Short answer YES.

Its kind of fun writing an opinion piece like this. Sure I could find appropriate references and make a proper academic article out of it, but that would be counterproductive to producing meaningful content, For some straight out stream of consciousness self expression, read on :)

This Article was written in response to a question asked on my 'ask me anything' post here

Our modern society seems to be extremely out of balance on many topics or perhaps we no longer even understand what balance is. It has become a common misconception that everything can simply be divided in to bad and good, and the insanity that if we somehow restrict, destroy, ban, crush everything bad, we will have a world full of good.

Children need to learn through experience otherwise they have no context and lessons become meaningless. For example, take a hot stove top, to a child that has never experienced one before. You could tell the child the stove is hot, do not touch it, and having sparked curiosity in the child, it will touch it, get burned, learn a valuable life lesson and probably never touch it again.

Alternatively you could remove all hot stoves altogether.... until one day, the child is outside of your supervision, discovers a hot object, and having never experienced it before, touch it and gets burned.

A possible third option, show the child the hot object, teach them about it, let them hold their hand close enough to feel the heat without getting burned, upgrade the parenting role from mere protector of life, to teacher or life skills.

What does this have to do with our upcoming generation of self entitled monsters?

Back in the old days(it feels like an appropriate line) when you gave someone praise , it was for a job well done, to encourage more of the same behavior. Honestly it is the same as teaching a dog tricks using food as a reward.( I have discovered in my life, people don't like it when I compare their children to dogs... the real analogy though is comparing the adult to a dog trainer.... that still doesn't go down too well)If you give a dog food, all the time, irrespective of its performance it will never learn any tricks. We really do need to stop praising children for doing nothing.

It is still possible to nurture a child, be kind to it and support its ideas and discovery of the planet we live on, but we need to understand one thing, nature itself does not care if you live or die, the world is a brutal place, a constant cycle of life and death, but all maintained in a beautiful harmony.

I think the real goal of a parent is to teach its children how to survive in this world. When it is the right time for the correct action. Anger, sadness, pain etc are all necessary just as caring, love, happiness. Nothing great was ever achieved without determination, and hard work. Sometimes that hard work might mean sitting staring at a blank piece of paper for two hours until a start is made, I very much however doubt any greatness was achieved playing candykrush because someone was bored.

The sad part in all this, The self entitled monsters are not the ones to blame, it's those teaching them. The sheer scale and design of our societies mean we are really just seeing the effect of a problem that started a long time ago, and it may be too late to actively do anything about it. At some point though, no matter how well we tried to hide it from them, they will discover the hotplate, and they will get burned.

Title image: source - somewhere on the internet.
Sometimes at the end of a rant like this I wonder If I actually managed to convey my point at all. So ill attempt to some it all up with yet another analogy. If your a penguin, in an ocean full of leopard seals, you either win, or become a participation reward.


Back in the early 90's sociologists found a correlation between high self-esteem and high grades.

We all (should) know correlation is not causation, but how they managed to come away with the notion that we need to boost children's self-esteem unconditionally is beyond me. The notion that high self-esteem is the a cause of good grades, and not the other way around, stretches credulity to the point that those people should have been stripped of their degrees.

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