Coddling and catering to children fails in long run

Georgia Graves

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A couple of years ago, the administration hosted a free Academic Achievement Luncheon for students who excelled academically, reaching above a certain GPA. The lunch served as a way to both motivate and reward students who took their academic careers seriously. However, the lunch was cancelled indefinitely a few years ago because the administration said it created a separation between high and low achieving students.

This event simply follows a general trend in today’s society, especially in Marin. The habit of coddling children and insisting that every person’s need is met rather than expecting people to solve their own problems has become a widespread tendency in our society. Children aren’t learning how to adjust to different situations because we are hindering their sense of reality by pretending that everyone deserves the same amount of praise.

I understand why parents baby their children. Showering them with compliments and praise seems like a surefire way to raise their self esteem. However, instilling a false sense of confidence in children does not do them any favors when they have to go into the real world and face real challenges. Instead, it sets them up for an unrealistic expectation that they will always have success and rewards thrown at them.

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While being confident in your abilities is absolutely a great thing, it is also important to strike a healthy balance between confidence and humility.

Coddling does children an incredible disservice later in life when they are in an environment such as college or a job that does not cater to their every need. While praising your child raises their self esteem in the present, it hinders their abilities to handle failure in the future. The tendency to coddle children doesn’t only apply to parenting—it applies to almost every aspect of our society, and it starts when kids are very young. The idea that children can do no wrong is ingrained in them from such a young age that it’s almost impossible to reverse.

Starting when they’re young, kids are given trophies for simply participating, rather than for accomplishing anything of merit. They are praised for simple tasks, and constantly ask us to shape our  environment around the needs of a select few.

Examples of this can be found in classrooms all the time. Often times, if one student feels uncomfortable or has a hard time dealing with a certain aspect of the environment, everyone is asked to change their behavior to cater to this one person’s needs. The reality of the situation is that people need to be able to deal with issues on their own, and they need to be able to adapt and adjust to all situations, even if they are less than ideal.

This habit is extremely problematic because it sends us out in the real world with unrealistic expectations. Not everyone will bend the rules around to cater to a small group of people.

While high self esteem is certainly a good thing, the best way to do it is by sincerely congratulating people when they deserve it and by rewarding the people who push themselves to the top. By doing that, we will create a society of people who will strive for greatness but accept failure, and everyone will benefit as a result.