An Increasing and Disturbing Trend
The current upward trend of changing the focus of family, school and extracurricular activities to having fun rather than outcome is setting children up. Our children can emerge from this scenario with a sense of entitlement and a lack of ambition or drive to persevere and persist until they reach a goal. After all, if everyone gets a blue ribbon just for showing up, why strive to do anything but show up? (1, 3)
Sense of Entitlement versus Sense of Responsibility
We are creating a generation of children who do not know what it is like to take responsibility for a mistake they’ve made because parents jump in at the first sign of catastrophe to save their child the embarrassment. This is called overparenting. (4, 6)
We are creating a generation of children who do not understand the word “No.” We are creating a generation of children who have no sense of competition, who are taught that competition is bad. We are quashing any inkling of a desire in children to even improve themselves and strive to be better.
Like in the movie "Finding Nemo" where the father tries to keep anything bad from happening to his son, we think by protecting them we’re preserving a child’s self-esteem, but in reality we’re keeping them from building some. (4)
Self-esteem, belief in ourselves, can only come when we set a goal and achieve it. If that sense of competition that comes naturally to children is restricted too much, then children may never want to strive to be anything more than who they already are. They may never try to surpass their current abilities and how they already do things. We’ve lowered the bar to make sure everybody fits but we’re stifling everybody.
And children who are handed everything they ask for aren’t learning to be thankful for anything. For these children, there is no appreciation for hard work, sacrifice and determination. (6)