Entitled students: Too much self-esteem, disconnect between high opinions and actual ability

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • wamba Layton, UT
    Jan. 17, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    I wish the author hadn't used the word "Entitled" in the headline because it's so politically loaded and it makes it so easy to say the problem is the children's attitudes. Actually the problem is the children have believed what we, the grown ups, have repeated on a daily basis. Don't blame the victim.

    How about a headline that focuses more on the real issue like "Excessive Praise Harms Kids' Futures" or "Does Saying 'You Are Smart' Cripple Kids?"

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 9:11 p.m.

    Again, these articles and the typical responses above come from upper middle class to more affluent life experiences and settings. Too many of our less affluent children do not suffer from poor self-esteem but complete lack of it. Too many of our children have no direction and no belief in themselves.

    I know he came from a comfortable background monetary wise but I wonder if Adam Lanza, for example, suffered from too much self-esteem as he went to school and cowered going down the hall from class to class.

    Then at the same time, like I've said before on these blogs in many respects I really think highly in general of our young people who have survived some really lousy parenting just to survive in our world. But even then, I see still our children doing amazing things all the time, serving others, creating and inventing. They are definitely from the posts above, more charitable and tolerant of others. Most of us approaching 50 and over grew up in two-parent households and had abundance of support. Our children of today don't enjoy those advantages...

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Jan. 10, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    Offering praise more frequently than criticism is not entirely bad. As I see it, problems come in where discipline as been completely avoided.

    Again, from what I have seen, society has gone to great lengths to extend praise and to reward mediocrity while refusing to instill morals, responsibility and ethics. This is much like building the world's fastest car and feeling that it would only undermine it's capacity if brakes were to be installed. People need praise, but they also need to know where the boundaries are.

    We can all see what has happened when parents and others have said: 'well done son, you can have anything you want', while forgetting to tell them that they cannot take it from others and that no one is going to simply hand everything to them without work, sacrifice and compromise. Maybe we should save the cap and gown for those who have successfully completed twelfth grade, and again college.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 10, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    Ok... I am a highly competitive person, and love to push kids to compete too... but that said, self worth / self esteem doesn't need to be derived by performing better than others, winning, or being the best. I think we put way too much emphasis in being "competitive". A person who earns average wages, provides for an average house, and has an average family should be ever as much proud of what they have as someone who made it to the most elite schools, live in the nicest neighborhoods, make the top wages, etc.

    I think what is more dysfunctional is this perpetual comparisons we do to each other. I was an average student... probably was in the 70 percentile of my graduating class... and yet now I am in that dubious top 5% earners in the nation. People do things differently. Comparisons try to pretend there is this mythical baseline person we are supposed to be measured against. Our education system doesn't accommodate that kids are different, they learn different, they are motivated by different things. Any kid should be every bit proud of what they can do, because it could be "their" best.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Empty praise is probably as bad a thing you can do to a person, yet it is the way of life for much of our society. It is truly an insult to heap unearned glory and honor onto a person who has done nothing to earn either. The most prevalent examples of this is the deification our military people and highway patrolmen.

    This is also true for ordinary people, you do them harm by giving them phony credit.

    However, there is no limit to the good that can be done to an individual by convincing him of his potential for accomplishment.

    I think it is a part of the conservative mantra for the conversion of people into cattle when they council the put-down of a persons self esteem.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    The movie Parental Guidance shows this clearly.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    Jan. 10, 2013 7:51 a.m.

    The best move is to be born of the right parents (pretty, smart). But hard work will bias the probabilities of success. As will an intelligent search for one's best path through life.

  • utahboni Ogden, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    Even though self esteem doesn't increas someone's abilities, it does increase someone's ability to land jobs and promotions. In my 40 year career, the people who make it to the top are rarely the best at their job. They are the people who are able to convince uppermanagement that "I've got it," even when they don't and they know they don't. When they can't actully cash the check that their mough just wrote, they will bat their lashes at someone who will do it for them.

  • LVIS Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    We have gone from the 'greatest generation' to the 'narcissistic generation'. And we give a medal to everyone who shows up.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Jan. 10, 2013 6:16 a.m.

    Self esteem used to come as a result of achievement and achievement is the result of hard work. Today's kids get their self esteem from undeserved praise.

    This reminds me of Fagin (evil character in Oliver) telling the young Oliver; "If you continue as you began you may become the greatest man who ever lived." High praise for a child who just joined a gang of thieves.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 6:14 a.m.

    Too bad more parents won't read this article. I see it everyday in school. Pretty sad.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 11:16 p.m.

    Another one of the bedrock foundations of liberalism proven to be not only wrong, and ineffective, but totally counterproductive.

    Half of all people are below average in height, weight, intelligence, competence, eduction, achievements or anything else. (But not necessarily the same person being below average in all of those areas.)

    There are winners, and losers. A lot of winning is just showing up and working hard, and being chewed out when you don't!

    Get used to it, that is how real life is. And, no government program will change any of it.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:13 p.m.

    A perfect example is watching some of the America's got talent.
    Clearly, someone's parent, grand parent or family assured SOME of the performers that they
    were truly gifted and talented.
    It's kinda sad to see their faces when they realize for the first time that perhaps they're not very talented.
    And the people in the audience are not very kind about letting them know.

    As Cougar claws says, self worth shouldn't depend on their abilities, I agree.

    It's like the old Barney Fife episode where the local choir keeps trying to hide from him so he won't ruin the practice. Funny stuff.

    Honesty is the best, but everyone has talents in some areas, sometimes you just have to search them out. That's where good loving parents come in.

  • Phred Ogden, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:30 p.m.

    Self esteem appears to be synonymous with ego, a counterproductive characteristic.

    Do the right thing and help others to do the same.

    This breeds something far more valuable.

    Self respect.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 8:10 p.m.

    There is a difference between self-esteem and a recognition of your abilities, limitations, and shortcomings. Someone's self-worth shouldn't depend on their abilities. Just saying.