Even Good Parents Damage Kids’ Self-Esteem

It’s often been said, and not just by me, that low self-esteem is a silent epidemic.

There are millions of words bouncing around the Internet on the topic of self-esteem, whether in kids or adults.

In my view, the article you’ll find at the link below is one of the most coherent, accurate and interesting.

Morty Lefkoe’s article clearly explains the mysterious process by which good, loving parents produce children who grow up feeling like there’s something wrong with them.

Check it out, and let me know what you think:

Why Does The World Suffer From An Epidemic Of Low Self-Esteem? – Morty Lefkoe.

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

8 comments on “Even Good Parents Damage Kids’ Self-Esteem

  1. Mummy says:

    Thank you Tina. I love your wisdom.

    Insecurity in my opinion arises from a tendency to avoid the truth about your self and avoid ” hearing & seeing ” the situations as is. When you start to block all the good things your parents did and start regarding it as stale, generic and booooring ! And replace it to become a Wound Collector this gets one instant satisfaction from all the Facebook and texting friends. Living on lies and fairy dust help the situation instantly does it not? Having been exposed to real life issues in my opinion has been the best gift today for me. We humans do adapt not as badly as one might think. We raised our children with luxury and mollycoddle them, putting them before ourself on a pedestal. This was our biggest mistake. This in turn made our children feel superior to us. They started to look down upon us & feel because they are American born they are better & more privilege than there foreign born parents and grandparent that speak with foreign accents. They became a gift on earth & it was the duty of the parent to attend to there children. The sad thing is they are no longer little kids. The fact our children are maturing later and not excelling in school compared the young adult in Singapore ( a small island country) is shamefull. Young adults in the States are insecure, pill popping, angry lacking family respect or moral value. We are raising our children based on THEORIES while children living in other countries of the world are being raising on REALITY and by parents, grandparents, and family & not on self help books. Parents don’t run to find a lawyer when little Jane is sent to the headmasters office or sent home or take her to see a therapist if she misbehaves. Many of our young adult have not established any moral principles to hold them through so what do they do instead they have been abuse there parents and teachers and if this does not work they can always fall into the net of a psychiatric or therapist as mentally unstable, depressed or bipolar! There is alway a pill and a gravy bowl to fill. The epidemic of insecurity & estrangement is the highest in United States does this say some thing?
    Note: Please don’t get me wrong there are many psychiatrist and therapist who are doing a wonderful job unfortunately by the time they see our young things have gone very wrong. I would in courage every therapist & psychiatrists please involve the whole family …. Because little Jane/ Joe are not giving you the full story.

    • It’s always interesting to get an international perspective on a topic in psychology. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mummy.

      For the record, I agree that it’s best when the entire family can be involved in the treatment of a child.

  2. Peggy Gibbs says:

    It’s funny but when our children have their own children, you’d think the cycle would stop. If we all had a Tina Gilbertson to help us understand our own feelings maybe. Most of us go through life with the “it is what it is” attitude, not even knowing we could be and feel better. My first thoughts after reading were baby birds…they get pushed out of the nest and away from their parents as soon as they are too big for the nest. We should do the same, but in our culture that would be neglect. Your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Thought provoking again… One thing for sure, We must NEVER stop trying to do the best for our children.

    • Peggy, thank you for your interesting comments. You made a number of thoughtful points. I think no matter how hard you try, parenting is the hardest job on the planet!

      A takeaway for me from this article was that parents might find it helpful to understand the stages of child development, so they know what to expect from their own “baby birds.”

  3. Peggy Gibbs says:

    You are so right; parenting is the hardest job on the planet. I also strongly agree with what you said to Mummy. It’s best when the whole family gets involved in professional treatment. I wonder if it’s ever possible to help a broken family when the children are middle age adults. Tina I look forward to Saturdays because of your emails. Thanks so much.

  4. Annie says:

    I think the ‘problem’ is highlighted by the title of the post – Even Good Parents Damage Kids’ Self Esteem’! Apart from those who commit real emotional and physical abuse, most parents do the best they can in busy lives in a demanding society where keeping a roof over your head and providing food on the table is far from easy, never mind the rest. I think the roots of low self esteem lie in the way we live with increasing social inequality, the belief that being rich will somehow make us happy, that we need increasing numbers of material goods, that we must endlessly aspire to being something that may not be natural to us at all whether that be job, status, where we live etc.
    I think that in our hearts we know this is not right but it’s a train we can’t get off, so many adults are unhappy, how can we possibly raise happy children?! In our attempt to make our children happier than ourselves, I think many of us therefore think we must accede to a child’s every request, that they must be allowed to be noisy and messy and that we will do everything for them, drive them around, buy them stuff, praise them lavishly in the hopes that they will therefore be confident and happy.
    I think children need honesty and boundaries. They need to be told to help out around the house from the moment they are capable, they need to understand that sometimes parents are tired or worried and need some peace, they need to understand that they can’t have everything they want and that material possessions don’t make us happy, they need to be part of a community of adults who will be there for them in some form. The last part is important because I believe that it is social relationships that are more important than things. Children were happier when they had more freedom and could play outside on their own, maybe some random adult would shout at them when they were seen climbing a tree or getting up to mischief and so they learnt that there were things they shouldn’t do and they should respect adults in general. Children need to understand that they are part of something bigger than themselves and that alone will bring self confidence and stop the self absorption and the current round of bleating because the world is not perfect.
    Frankly, I despair of where we have got to in our society, too atomised and individualist, we don’t have real relationships containing intimacy so we worry endlessly what other people think of us.

    I have no answers but I think rather than focusing on the children we should focus on ourselves and how we live in the world, then the children may have some space to become themselves and to grow into responsible beings. Personally, I got my children involved in community and environmentally aware organizations and they spent time outside doing things with others and sometimes they were bored, sometimes unhappy, sometimes they had to do things they didn’t want, but overall they learnt about themselves and other people and that the world was not perfect and the sooner we grow up and realize this the better.

    • There is so much wisdom in what you wrote, Annie. I especially like how you put it so simply: Children need honesty and boundaries. Those are SO necessary.

      I would add affection and good role modeling to that list, since kids clearly need love and they learn so much by observing the adults in their lives. Too often, these basic needs – for honesty, boundaries, affection and good role modeling – don’t get met for whatever reason. Things can go very wrong for those kids.

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