As I read this incredibly wordy but interesting article: How to Land Your Kid in Therapy, I couldn't help smiling at the numerous examples mentioned.
I particularly agree with the part on Pg 2 which highlighted examples of 'parents who overly protected their offspring, resulting in them growing into adults who can't handle normal frustrations in life.'
It brings to mind this kid I know, who has slight delay in gross motor development which makes it challenging for her to keep her balance on uneven floors. When she runs or walks fast, she appears wobbly in her steps and sometimes falls down. Instead of letting her practise and learn to overcome this challenge under their supervision, her parents avoid playgrounds and parks totally for fear of her falling down and hurting herself.
Once, the girl joined us at a park for frisbee. At the second throw, she tumbled onto the grass because of the uneven ground but she didn't cry immediately. She only looked surprised. But when her mum shrieked real loud, dashed over to her side, looked real concerned at her legs as if searching for wounds, she burst into big fat, unconsolable tears and cried for so long, as if she had tumbled off a big slide.
The article also brought up this brilliant part about 'ego-boosting parents who sugar-coat realities and how they create a generation of kids who grew up with inflated view of their own specialness, and only to be crushed by realities when they enter adulthood.' The examples are everywhere!
In the last 2 years, I have met many parents who asked me to praise their kids at every lesson, so that the kids would feel proud of themselves. The irony is, these kids are often the ones who are really weak compared to their peers.
Or the kid who requires to be told at every step of a task or artwork that she is doing a fantastic job, otherwise she will burst into tears and refuse to continue.
Better predictors of life fulfillment and success are perseverance and resilience. Not self-esteem, especially not when it is built solely on constant praise rather than true accomplishments.
(written in July '11)