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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Unintentionally Fostering High-Maintenance in Children

As I listened to Michael McQueen's TED Talk about Generation Y and commonalities in their behaviors, I began to realize some fault in my own perspectives.

Generation Y is a function of the era that raised them. They've been told their whole lives messages from parents, educators, and society the following:
  • You are special.
  • You are unique.
  • You can do anything you want to do.
  • You can be anything you want to be.
  • Thank you for being here [at work / school / etc.] today.
This need to be constantly affirmed and validated drives the force of social media.  This is a generation of people who are often sheltered from criticism, which shape them into having a certain type of attitude, as you can imagine.  This is a breeding ground for mental illness. 

What I am realizing is that I should not be over-sheltering and sending these types of messages to my child - when I do have one of my own, that is.  Life isn't about being happy all the time -- hardships should be taken with grit and persistence to overcome, rather than allowing oneself to get overwhelmed once encountering a bump in the road.  It wouldn't do a child any good to have an inflated and false sense of self-esteem through the bulleted messages above, but rather, they should learn to work for and receive praise when truly worthy.  I need to be more careful about the intent of my praises, and stop giving empty ones such as thanking a child for "being here" or for "trying" when they aren't putting forth their best efforts.

Such a thought-provoking topic.

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