I’ve drilled it into my kids’ heads that a lot of people’s personal problems in life often boil down to a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Now I know this isn’t always the case, but negative feelings in these areas can lead to unhealthy relationships, and trouble with alcohol and drugs, to name a few. My hubby and I have worked to encourage attitudes of positive self-worth within our kids, starting all the way back in toddlerhood.
I’m also aware, however, there is a distinct difference between raising a child who has healthy self-esteem, and raising a child who is self-centered, unaware of the needs of others, and filled with a supercilious attitude of entitlement.
The youth minister of our church recently shared a blog post by Reggie Joiner, co-author of the book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. I really liked the points Joiner made concerning the topic of children and self-esteem in his recent blog post titled, "How To Raise a Jerk." They reminded me of this Andy Rooney essay I heard about a long time ago regarding letting your children fail, hoping they drive old junker cars and experience difficulties as they grow up. I tried hard to find Rooney’s essay online to include with this post but I experienced an “epic fail,” as my son would say.
Anyhoo… Here are some ideas contained in Joiner’s post that struck a chord with me. Some good advice if you want to successfully raise a jerk:
· * Protect them from the consequences of their own mistakes.
· * Keep them away from anyone who thinks differently than they do.
· * Try to give them everything they want.
· * Convince them they are more special than other kids.
· * Always take their side when they get in trouble with their teacher or friend at school.
· * Don’t give them consistent opportunities to help or serve other people.
· * Never require them to do chores.
· * Never let them hear you say “I was wrong. I am sorry.”
You can read his entire post HERE.
I think it’s natural to want our children to have an even better childhood experience than we had. Even if we thought ours was great, there’s always room for improvement, right? But how do you balance that desire without raising a jerk? What are your thoughts?
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