Are We Raising Egocentric Children?

Posted: March 31, 2012

“Hey little girl, its here, right behind the door” I offered a clue to one of the kids playing in front of my garage. She seemed to be about 5 or 6 years old and looked like she was searching for her sand toy. “I am not a little girl, my name is Arshvi” she shot back in a tone I didn’t quite expect from a human being her size.  And not only that, the expressions on her face made me feel almost guilty for calling a little girl, well, a little girl!

And I deliberated if I had hurt her ego?” Did I just play around with a 6 year old’s sense of self?” I mused. But the more important question should have been ‘does a 6 year have an ego’, the answer to which is, yes, now a days they do and boy do you have to be careful around them!

If a particular generation suffered a lack of self esteem because of the way they were raised, this new generation faces exactly the opposite problem.

These new kids on the block seem to know too much too soon. Starting with their names, which their parents painstakingly pick up after a lot of internet search and a careful weighing of its meaning, the kids know they are special because their name says so! My own 6 year old knows that her name is based on a Japanese name and that it means bliss and that it also matches the name of a Hindu God’s wife.

Just 6 years into this world and already so full of herself, I dread to think what’s coming next. But then, it is not really her fault is it? We are the ones responsible for imparting all the inconsequential wisdom.  Her name matters; but not to the extent of taking offence on being addressed generally; not at this age.

We bow down to every one of their whims and fancies; we get anything that they ask for and we dread saying NO. If you ask me, we give birth to and pamper their ego well before it is time.

As parents one of our jobs is to protect them and ensure that they grow up balanced and unharmed. The new parenting books tell us we should take care not to hurt their self respect while disciplining children. But maybe we take the advice too far along.  We are so careful not to break their tender hearts that we forget how important it is for them to face denial, criticism and disappointment. Reprimanding is a necessity under certain circumstances, not everything can be sugar coated.

I remember growing up in a family where any elderly person, be it my grandfather or an uncle or an elder cousin would correct me if I was wrong and even considered it within their rights to scold me. Today, both our vision and our worlds have narrowed down.  The question of somebody else chastising our child hardly arises as there is a limit we draw to every relationship, even close ones. It is as if our demeanor spells it loud “how dare someone point a finger at my child?” I am not at all in favor of somebody running down my child but at the same time do I want my children growing up as if they are above everything and everybody right from such a young age?

There is a narrow line between being self- esteemed and self-absorbed. We as adults, cross the line unknowingly from time to time, can we really expect our children to know the difference?

Let us not burden them with emotions and attitudes they have a lifetime to encounter.  Let us not make them too conscious about who they are as individuals, instead let them just be children.

An avid reader and a hobbyist writer, my sanity and survival depend entirely on the

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  1. Quite right.I can only add lets just be parents, and believe me they’ll just be children.

  2. Parenting styles has always been under scrutiny/ If parents of certain generation could teach their children only to obey than parents of today are being scrutinised for giving their children extreme access to materials, self respect and ego. But I believe for a whole generation parents are not the only ones n their lives, there are others too and children pick hints from all of them. I have true faith on these little self obsessed generation of todays kid, let them grow, I believe they will turn out to be super citizens.

  3. This article is a wake up call for us new age parents on where to draw a line when we get carried away in being doting parents and carving great personalities early on…One incident when I was in 8th and was in tears due to less marks by my favorite teacher, I was a topper. So I was crying visibly to receive attention…and the teacher remarked ..” so what, even Gandhi Ji cried”, could not understand then and now I do, why its imp. to get the taste of losing.

  4. That’s exactly what i mean Chandrima, there should be others too in our children’s lives, enough to positively influence them or even correct their mistakes, if only we would allow that!!

  5. It is indeed a wake up call! Today as a parent, we are living our wishful life through our children and sometime use them to show off.

    Gauri, very thought provoking article, as usual!

  6. well written gauri; definitely something to ponder and act upon !

  7. That is SO true. Very well observed and elucidated Gauri.

  8. Such a though-provoking piece! I completely agree that today’s generation is fast losing their innocence, and maybe that’s something we could change by treating children simply as children.

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