Monday, March 31, 2014

The Narcism Epidemic

I just finished the Narcissism Epidemic. Talk about scary! The book explores how we are raising a generation of the most narcissistic kids in history. I really related to the examples given in the book. 


*We are treating our kids like royalty as we worship at the Altar of High Self-Esteem at All Costs.
*We are pampering them with every gift, toy, and lavish party possible which we instantly pin and share via social media as we create a cult of mini celebrities.  
*We are so worried that our kids will be hurt that we refuse to teach them how to lose gracefully i.e. every kid gets a trophy/ everyone is a winner. 
*We overpraise our kids for being smart and then blame the teacher rather than the student when lack of effort leads to a poor score. This is the result:

Here is a quote from the book: 

"Understanding the narcissism epidemic is important because its long-term consequences are destructive to society. American culture’s focus on self-admiration has caused a flight from reality to the land of grandiose fantasy. We have phony rich people (with interest-only mortgages and piles of debt), phony beauty (with plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures), phony athletes (with performance-enhancing drugs), phony celebrities (via reality TV and YouTube), phony genius students (with grade inflation), a phony national economy (with 11 trillion dollars of government debt), phony feelings of being special among children (with parenting and education focused on self-esteem), and phony friends (with the social networking explosion). All this fantasy might feel good, but, unfortunately, reality always wins. The mortgage meltdown and the resulting financial crisis are just one demonstration of how inflated desires eventually crash to earth."

I recommend that every parent pick up this book as soon as possible. It really opened my eyes. You don't need to agree with everything the authors say to quickly realize that we are on the wrong track as a society. The book also gives practical advice as to what we are parents can do differently.

One idea: Praise effort and not innate ability.
(See Tiff's great post on not calling your kids smart here.)

Other ideas:
Teach your kids that it is not always about them.
Promote humility.
Say No.
Don't always allow choice.
Encourage empathy.

Happy Reading! And remember that when you call your darling little 3-year-old a "Prima Donna"--- you don't really want her to grow up to be one!

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