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Are We Raising Egocentric Children?

The new parenting books tell us we should take care not to hurt children's self respect while disciplining. But do we take the advice too far?

“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?

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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.

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About the Author

Gauri Trivedi

An avid reader and a hobbyist writer, my sanity and survival depend entirely on the written word. I find inspiration in the ordinary and prefer crowds to solitude. Always on the go, technically speaking I read more...

7 Posts | 28,615 Views

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