(Closed) Advice for new parents from a college professor. Don’t involve your kids in….

posted 9 years ago in Babies
Post # 32
704 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@evalague:  You can blame parents for giving their kids a sense of entitlement, but you can also blame your fellow professors for bending to the pressure of those students and parents to change their grades to reflect better on them.  Also, it’s not sports programs that are giving kids unrealistic expectations, it’s the parents who write their children’s papers and do their children’s science fair projects.  Don’t blame programs that do good for the handful of kids whose parents never taught them to get ahead on their own merits. 

Post # 33
814 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@rachelss: thanks! it isn’t easy that is for sure!! but totally worth it! he defiantely knows that you don’t get rewarded for not trying hard..

i had to work my butt off.. i was in a wheelchair in high school, and i played softball in junior high.. but no matter the age.. you have to work for what you get or you end up with all these brats!! if you give your child handouts all the time and then one day decide to make them work for what they want.. good luck!! you have to start early or they don’t understand… i didn’t graduate high school and when i got to college i worked my but off and graduated with my associates with a 3.79.. not too bad if you ask me… but the summary would be that no matter if you 2, 22 or 52 you need to work for what you want and pay the consequences when you don’t try or everyone will be on goverment handouts and not ever trying to get off of them..

Post # 34
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@babyboo I completely agree. The way parents raise their children dictate their sense of entitlement.  And it’s not just middle class/upper middle class families. I teach in a school with a high poverty rate and I see parents doing their children’s homework, making excuses for why they did not do their work, demanding that I retest them when they scored poorly, instead of letting them learn life’s lessons.  I see parents constantly rewarding poor behavior and poor performance with video games, IPODs, name brand sneakers, etc. 

There are stages of development in which people have to start learning a)not everyone wins b)sometimes even when you work hard, you still don’t win or get a good grade.  It’s a gradual learning process, but it is a must that these facts of life are introduced prior to middle/high school.

@Twista, I really don’t blame the college professors for this phenomenon as much as the parents, because this sense of entitlement is so engrained by the time they reach college. The seeds were planted long ago.






Post # 35
5262 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

What kids learn comes partially from environment, sure, but it mostly stems from what they’re taught at home… I think the bigger problem stem from how parents coddle their kids throughout school. 

Keep in mind I am a PART of this “slacker” generation. My parents wouldn’t stand for any of it (I’m glad now) and I remember doing very poorly in science competitions, etc, against kids whose parents did their projects for them. I was so outraged at the time, but it taught me that I was the only one responsible for my grades. Come high school, and I was in honors classes. Many of the kids complained that the work schedule was unfair, etc, and had their parents complain about grades, reading lists, and the like. I enjoyed it and took honors classes in subjects that I truly wanted to learn more about – I scored high enough on every AP test I took to negate the college class for it. I was one of the only ones who did. 

I was not a straight A student. I’m still not. But I think it has very little to do with participation trophies, and much more to do with the fact that parents have a hard time letting their children struggle. If you don’t struggle, you can’t learn. What’s important is not a participation trophy attained from a five-year-old’s soccer league. Are you kidding? I got one of those, and I knew I was terrible. So did all the other kids – the only ones that “counted” were those won by the athletic kids. 

Grade inflation is definitely a problem, and it hurts students who don’t get it and (IMO) those who do receive it, and then struggle or fail out of the program they got into because of the grade inflation. But I think it’s a pretty far leap to assume that it has anything to do with the “everybody wins” attitude in sports. 

Post # 36
684 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2009

  Reading over other comments I have to say that I completely agree that most of how kids turn out is their PARENTS. I struggled in school. I was a C student and if I recieved a B I was VERY excited. I remember my junior year of high school I worked my butt off on our final exam project in Economics. This project really decided whether I passed or failed that class. My old best friend on the other hand, was a naturally straight A student and I could never figure out why because I felt I worked just as hard on everything. I read over her project and KNEW mine was better. My mother and father looked over both hers and mine. There was just no doubt about it. I spent hours where as she spent minutes. The grades finally came out and what did I get? Of course I got a D+ where as she got an A-.

  Did she end up taking all that “work ethic” and go off to college? NO. If I can recall she was pregnant at graduation and married the first loser she ever met. She could of went into ANY college where as I could only go to Community. She now lives off of food stamps at her sisters house with 2 babies of her own. She isn’t even 21 years old yet.

 A few years ago she admitted to me that her mother would talk to the teachers if she didn’t feel that her grades were high enough and when she didn’t makes the cheerleading team….well…her mother fixed that too. Which was something I wanted but was cut after tryouts. My mother just let me cry it out and told me to move onto something else.

  It really isn’t about trophies at all. It’s about parents AND teachers. Teachers shouldn’t be push overs and parents need to toughin up with their kids. Their OLDER kids. Not children.


Post # 37
950 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@evalague: My hubby & I agree…”everybody wins” trophy sports are NOT where our future kids will play.  If, by some twist of fate (we’re both rather athletic), our children are not good at sports, they will be taught how to improve if they wish to continue in said sport.  If they wish to stop participating, they’ll be allowed to do so after the current season is over (we don’t like “quitting” either).  If, by some twist of fate (we’re both rather academic as well), our kids don’t do well in school, they will be taught how to improve there, too (damn well better be taught, since I’m a teacher!).  All along the way, they’ll be encouraged to try harder, taught how to try harder (just “trying” isn’t a guarantee for improvement – parents, teachers, & coaches are responsible to guiding improvement to get the desired results – coaching a kid to run faster isn’t going to necessarily improve his/her batting average – teaching a kid to do their homework longer isn’t necessarily going to improve his/her math grades), & praised for working hard as well as doing well.

@windmills: Absolutely agree with you…it’s how kids are taught to handle the outcome.  Role models (like parents, teachers, & coaches) should teach kids how to lose with dignity, how to work towards improvement, & how to win gracefully. 

@bryce234: As a high school teacher, I agree…I hate the fact that some teachers dumb down the curriculum so that everyone gets it or give any kind of homework result an “A”.  Personally, I find that No Child Left Behind is partly to blame…when the law forces you to teach to the least capable student, other kids in the class check out & grades become a joke.  It’s up to the teacher to create challenging lessons that can involve the least capable & the most capable, & help both improve to the utmost of their ability…and that takes dedication & talent that most people think is not well compensated by a teacher’s salary.  *steps off soapbox*

@bkchi: completely agree with everything you said & just wanted to add one more kind of parent: the kind of parents that take any criticism of their child (whether it’s a bad grade, a parent teacher conference, a “bad” call at a game, etc.) as a personal affront, refuse to correct the behavior that caused the criticism, & instead, teach their kids that complaining loudly enough, frequently enough, or threateningly enough (whether physically or litigiously) will change the outcome. 

On the flip side…kids need to be taught that winning & being the smartest isn’t “everything”.  Just as competition isn’t required to teach a kid that life isn’t fair, “everyone wins” isn’t necessary to build self-esteem either.  Like most things, there needs to be a balance.  I think it’s great that some schools & teams give trophies for the kid who is “Most Improved” & has “Perfect Attendance” – tenacity for improving & consistency in following through by showing up are both qualities that colleges & employers look for.   Getting a trophy for talents that are needed to make a team better or a student stronger (not just the most valuable or the smartest) SHOULD be rewarded…however, giving EVERYONE a trophy just for being alive that season or year is not necessary. 

Post # 39
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010


I agree. My FH is a professor, and encountered many students who thought they were entitled to certain grades. When he taught at Dartmouth, he had 2 students tell him flat out “my parents are not paying for C’s” – and even after he explained why they didn’t get better grades, they were stunned he wouldn’t just raise their grade…it was just a nasty sense of entitlement – and one that was fostered from years of being told how absolutely fabulous they were, and that they were always the “winners.”

I think the entitlement comes both from parents, but also from “everyone’s a winner” activities, whether they are sports or arts or music or whatever.

I played competitive violin and danced ballet from elementary through high school, and my brother played baseball from t-ball through high school. Some competitions I won, some I didn’t – even at 7 or 8 years old, and it wasn’t the end of the world. Not everyone was told they were winners. There is a big gray area between the “winner” and being a “loser”, and parents can explain those differences – including, that sometimes, they breaks just don’t go your way – or that sometimes, you have an off day, but that you work hard and try again tomorrow.

Sometimes my brother made the “all-star” team, a few times he didn’t. If he had a crappy game, there wasn’t a big gathering telling him how special he was – my dad would be very nice about it of course, but just say that everyone has off-games and off-days and that YOU CAN’T WIN THEM ALL. Then they would go practice. We had a ton of great support from our parents, but not a lot of coddling and telling us constantly that we were the best.

Heck, my ballet teachers were old school (Russian), and they certainly didn’t have any “everyone is equally great – “you’re all winners” mentality. Yes, they sometimes made me cry. My violin teacher was a stickler for posture, and wasn’t especially nice if you slouched. Both my brother and I are well adjusted adults who were not scared for life to lose and understand you are not always entitled to a reward just because you participate, and that sometimes the breaks just don’t go your way – fair or unfair. That’s life.

I think a lot of children now are being coddled way too much and told how absolutely special and unique everything they do is from everyone from parents to teachers to activity directors to tv – and when they hit college, they do expect to be treated like the stars their parents have made them, and many of them will fail. It doesn’t do those kids any favors.

Post # 40
2207 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

@babyboo and @ms.pascua – WELL SAID!  I grew up in a time of “winners vs losers” and I turned out just fine.  It teaches a life lesson early on, the parents have to reinforce it and explain that not everyone wins all the time.

Post # 41
6593 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

I agree 100%!

And this is scientifically being studied right now! They are calling them generation ME or the entitlement generation! I am in academia as well and I am seeing it in the classroom as well!

evalague is just talking about ONE of the causes of this new generation of students but there are many other factors as well (and I can only remember a few right now):

  • school boards aren’t failing students as much if at all – which gives them an over self confidence that they cannot fail
  • they have instant gratification from the internet and email – which results in them complaining if they have to wait for anything

When I went to academic conference on education in anatomy there was a whole seminar on teaching generation Me.
They are getting into med school and the over confidence of med students already added on to generation Me sounds like it’s going to be fun!
Now remember this is a generalization of an entire GENERATION and does not represent individual people or kids so when people are bringing in their individual experiences that’s great but moreso how does giving a trophy for losing affect an entire generation of kids NOT one person!

Post # 42
113 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I agree with everybody.  I don’t want to speak for the OP, but I think she is saying that parents need to avoid OVERINFLATING a child’s self esteem by letting children think that a subpar performance is excellent by keeping an eye on their activities and schoolwork.  I don’t think anyone has a problem with congratulating children for persistence or dedication or effort.  However, regardless of the the child’s effort or natural ability, I think the problem is letting a child think an amazing job was done if it really wasn’t a good job done.  That is lying to your child.  

Post # 43
3709 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@ms.pascua: You touched on everything I was going to say…so this is me “Liking” your post.

Post # 44
5151 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think that sportsmanship awards and trophies for various levels (ie: first, second and third place or winner and runner up) are a good way to make lots of kids feel like winners but trophies for all isn’t a good idea. Teams can pass out “paper plate awards” or certificates after the season is done but beyond that IMO it teaches falsities about life. Life ISN’T fair and it isn’t a world where everyone wins all the time. I think that competitiveness is a good thing (to an extent!) and children will learn sooner or later that life  isn’t fair. This also continues with school, looks, money, etc. These leasons should be learned early and learn that it is OKAY not to always get recognition or be the best. I think education vs. sports is extremely hard to compare. All kids don’t get A’s in math class…I sure didn’t 😉

Post # 45
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I totally agree with the OP. Kids need to know there are winners and loser. And that winning isn’t everything and losing isn’t tragic. I sucked at sports, and that was fine. I was good at school, and that was fine too. I think that learning early about how these things work is important. Because understanding that hard work often pays off (but not always), and that life isn’t fair is important. Plus… I think that letting a kid discover he isn’t good at something might free him or her up to explore things they are good at. Not everyone has to be a star athlete or a straight-a student. 

Post # 46
3761 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@CorgiTales: I agree that it helps kids learn what they are good at.  Sometimes kids have to learn they aren’t good at something and move on.  I tried out for the dance team one year and didn’t make it even after lots of practice.  Guess what, I just wasn’t meant to be a dancer and my mom had me focus on basketball. 


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