Do our kids get off too easy?

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Mon May 05, 2014 5:52 pm

I just read this article by Alfie Kohn:
Do our kids get off too easy?

Essentially, he is arguing against the "conventional" wisdom that we should only reward the best so that the competition for limited rewards can drive everyone towards achieving more and therefore improve overall standards.

What strikes me is the point he makes about unconditional self-esteem. He says, and which I agree with, that having unconditional self-esteem is more important than high self-esteem. He defines unconditional self-esteem is "a solid core of belief in yourself, an abiding sense that you are competent and worthwhile - even when you screw up or fall short."

He makes the analogy of a kid being given a participation trophy even though he did not win. While critics may cry foul and say such participation trophies dilute the sense of worth of the achievement of the winners, he argues that they actually represent an appreciation of the effort that non-winners have put in, instead of being left out in the cold.

That's an interesting perspective. We have all been exposed to a very brutal world where winners triumph and losers disappear. Some of us (myself included :oops: ) make it our prerogative to point out to our children these pragmatic views at every opportunity, showcasing success stories and embellishing horror stories of what would happen to people who fail. When we do that, we are effectively telling our children that it is not ok to fail, and there is no return from failure. Instead of creating more resilient children, we are creating perfectionists who cannot suffer failure!

ChiefKiasu
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15221
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:16 am
Location: Singapore
Total Likes: 319


Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby wonderm » Mon May 05, 2014 9:12 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote:That's an interesting perspective. We have all been exposed to a very brutal world where winners triumph and losers disappear. Some of us (myself included :oops: ) make it our prerogative to point out to our children these pragmatic views at every opportunity, showcasing success stories and embellishing horror stories of what would happen to people who fail. When we do that, we are effectively telling our children that it is not ok to fail, and there is no return from failure. Instead of creating more resilient children, we are creating perfectionists who cannot suffer failure!


Interesting sharing.

For us, we usually emphasize the importance of participation, the fun and learning that they will get from the experience. Winning or success is a bonus. If they don't win or succeed, we never frame it as a "failure" on their part. To me, it is really not necessary for everyone to get a trophy. I would prefer my boys not to require such "external confirmation" of their worth. If they had not done well enough to win, it is fine. They can feel happy for the winner and let that be the motivation for them.

wonderm
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1233
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:03 pm
Total Likes: 75
1 people like this post


Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby BlueBells » Tue May 06, 2014 10:56 am

For us, we celebrate best efforts; even if the children didn't really do well, but who cares?

Even when they lost in a race, they are actually learning how to pick themselves up and build resiliency; so it's still a win of different kind. So then, we still celebrate.

BlueBells
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:00 pm
Total Likes: 18
1 people like this post


Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby slmkhoo » Tue May 06, 2014 4:54 pm

I believe in striking a balance. Especially when kids are young, I would emphasise participation and effort much more than winning or losing. As the child gets older, I don't hide the fact that there are winners and losers, that there's 'good' and 'bad' performance, that there's 'pass' and 'fail', but at the same time, I don't tie my love or appreciation to the result. I agree with the writer that unconditional self-esteem is important in adulthood, and we parents need to inculcate that in our kids so that they don't run the risk of falling into despair and depression when failure (almost inevitably at some point) strikes. What I don't like is the 'everyone is a winner' mantra as it makes everyone 'the same'. What we need is to recognise and appreciate differences, and each person should be able celebrate the successes of others without either pride or loss of self-esteem.

slmkhoo
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 8071
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:16 pm
Total Likes: 173
1 people like this post


Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby SAHM_TAN » Tue May 06, 2014 7:57 pm

Now sure which category I fall under.....

I don't reward them when they do well in studies and I don't deprive them of any priviledges when they don't do well. I will :mad: at the lack of effort if that's the reason for not doing well.

Behaviour wise, I will discipline but again they are not deprived of any priviledges. It sound strange how to discipline without priviledges being taken away LOL. I focus on the act, once punishment is meted out, case is considered closed.

Maybe I belong to the soft category LOL.

I don't like it when teachers have reward system. But I don't feedback to the teachers and I don't make a big deal when the kids came back with their loot from the reward system.

I was re-reading Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window. There is a chapter whereby the P gave vegetables as prizes for the kids on Sports Day. I thought that was very meaningful.

SAHM_TAN
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 10963
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:47 am
Total Likes: 30



Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby sleepy » Tue May 06, 2014 9:17 pm

SAHM_TAN wrote:I don't reward them when they do well in studies and I don't deprive them of any priviledges when they don't do well. I will :mad: at the lack of effort if that's the reason for not doing well.

Behaviour wise, I will discipline but again they are not deprived of any priviledges. It sound strange how to discipline without priviledges being taken away LOL. I focus on the act, once punishment is meted out, case is considered closed.


:hi5:

No goodies or rewards for good performance. No punishment for falling below expectation either. relying on Intrinsic motivation :scratchhead:

But recently my kids start negotiating for rewards such as inviting a few classmates over to our house. I'm thinking hard because there are lots to tidy up around the house la :sweat:

sleepy
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 9064
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:21 pm
Total Likes: 34


Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby sleepy » Tue May 06, 2014 9:28 pm

ChiefKiasu wrote:defines unconditional self-esteem is "a solid core of belief in yourself, an abiding sense that you are competent and worthwhile - even when you screw up or fall short."


Interesting. That's an apt description of my dd1.
Definitely nicer than my version. I term it 不知反省 :evil:

sleepy
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 9064
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:21 pm
Total Likes: 34


Re: Do our kids get off too easy?

Postby Kiasu Parent Lor » Fri May 23, 2014 11:04 pm

By giving the child a prize he does not "deserve", what would happen to the child when he grows up and cannot align his childhood teaching with the real world ? He would start to doubt what was taught and lose faith.

Why not teach our children to lose graciously instead ? Learn to appreciate others success instead of envying them. Also learn that we cannot be winners in all areas. Help the child cultivate his own area of strength.

Kiasu Parent Lor
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:15 pm
Total Likes: 0



Return to Working With Your Child