Today’s Kids Are Special – Just Ask Them

Honey boo boo

From the Beeb:

Does confidence really breed success?

Research suggests that more and more American university students think they are something special. High self-esteem is generally regarded as a good thing – but could too much of it actually make you less successful?

About nine million young people have filled out the American Freshman Survey, since it began in 1966.

It asks students to rate how they measure up to their peers in a number of basic skills areas – and over the past four decades, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being “above average” for academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability and self-confidence.

This was revealed in a new analysis of the survey data, by US psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues.

Self-appraisals of traits that are less individualistic – such as co-operativeness, understanding others and spirituality – saw little change, or a decrease, over the same period.

Twenge adds that while the Freshman Survey shows that students are increasingly likely to label themselves as gifted in writing ability, objective test scores indicate that actual writing ability has gone down since the 1960s.

I guess if you grow up getting trophies for everything it could give you the idea that you’re pretty hot stuff.

Money quotes:

Yet there is very little evidence that raising self-esteem leads to tangible, positive outcomes.


He found that although high self-esteem frequently had a positive correlation with success, the direction of causation was often unclear. For example, are high marks awarded to people with high self-esteem or does getting high marks engender high self-esteem?


“Self-control is much more powerful and well-supported as a cause of personal success. Despite my years invested in research on self-esteem, I reluctantly advise people to forget about it.”

I never suffered from an excess of self-esteem. My family was old school and they considered humility to be a virtue and pride a deadly sin. I didn’t have to wait for the Festivus Airing of Grievances to find out all the ways I disappointed them.

When my mom took me clothes shopping she wouldn’t even let me buy cool clothes. “Son, that’s in style” she would say. “Put it back and then try on these plaid high waters.” (Unfortunately store-bought clothes were rare. I had to wear my sister’s hand-me-downs until I was a junior in high school.)

My K-12 teachers were old school too. They believed that a “C” was average and that “average” really meant “exceptional”. Twice a year they would meet with my mom and tell her all the ways I disappointed them too.

My P.E. and Little League coaches thought that building character was far more important than self esteem, and they believed that nothing builds character more than warming a bench and being ridiculed mercilessly.

It was due to all that humility training and character building that I am the happy, successful and well-balanced individual I am today.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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55 Responses to Today’s Kids Are Special – Just Ask Them

  1. myiq2xu (D) says:

    In a recent paper Jean Twenge examined changes in pronoun use in American books published between 1960 and 2008, using the Google Books ngram database
    She found that first person plural pronouns (we, us our etc.) decreased in use by 10% while first person singular pronouns (I, me, my etc.) increased in use by 42%

    • elliesmom says:

      She should do a follow up study on the increase of the pronouns I, me, and my in presidential speeches since 2008.

  2. elliesmom says:

    If Michele Bachmann said this, it would be all over the news that she’s a crazy, stupid bitch.

  3. Funny- the phrase that I heard from my Mom and my kids heard from me was “the world DOES NOT revolve around you!” We did not get special recognition for doing what was expected of us. No sticker charts. None of that bs. I do remember the teacher giving out stars in first grade- which were highly prized- but only given for getting 100%.
    More kids need to hear and understand this. Nobody is a special little snowflake just for breathing.

    • fernschild says:

      Well, actually I did pretty much tell my children that they were the most special children in the world…to me, but that the world was full of millions of people, all precious to someone, so behave already and don’t give all the ZPG people fodder for complaints (I had my 4th child when the first was 4years old). It worked. They’re civilised and work hard and all the good stuff, and they don’t have wretched children.

      • LOL Yes, I did tell my kids they were special- to me. In the same vein as what you imparted to yours.
        And I also made sure there were immediate and dire punishments for misbehavior lol.

  4. DeniseVB says:

    hee, hee ….

    Still wondering how the media would treat Cheney if he behaved like that in the Senate Chamber ? Or anywhere?

    Huggy Bear 2016 !

  5. yttik says:

    We like to say we’re creating self esteem, but we’re not.Self esteem comes from accomplishing things, from being responsible, from surviving challenges, solving problems. Many kids are just really lost and frustrated because we’ve taken away all the things that they can control and feel good about. If you think you’re exceptional and good at everything, than life is just going to be one dispointment after another. There’s nothing to work for, nothing to learn, nowhere to go but down.

    I talk to kids who won’t even put any effort into their homework because, why bother? I’m going to pass anyway, I’m not going to get any recognition for doing a better job. So much of the focus in school is on those who are struggling and failing. Kind of like our country right now. Success is evil and greedy so we reward failure, like with the bail outs for failing companies and higher taxes on those who suceed.

  6. driguana says:

    great post…really hit the ole Fetivus Nervus…throw on top that your family wanted you to be a priest and you have a truly sad sacerdotal situation……as one of my first cousins announced at our family reunion last year…”you were a saint by day and a sinner by night”….got that right…

  7. piper says:

    Entertainment today
    Mob Wives, Bridezilla, Kim and Khloe Go, Sister Wives, Housewives from all over, Bachelors – Bachelorettes, and so forth.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Let’s just drop the Constitution, it’s over 200 years old !

    Georgetown used to be such a respected school, but it’s given us Sandra Fluke and this guy 😦

    • driguana says:

      Catholics gone awry!!! Notre Dame brought in speaker Obama, remember???

      • angienc (D) says:

        Not Catholics — G.D. Jesuits who have always been of the “We know better so need to force people for their own — and society’s — good” tyrannical bent that is common among the vile prog way of thinking.

        If you don’t want to take my word for it, take James Joyce’s in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

        • driguana says:

          ah yes, the good ole Jesuits…

        • Falstaff says:

          Actually, Notre Dame was founded by members of the Congregation fo the Holy Cross, not by the Society of Jesus. It is most definitely not a Jesuit institution.

        • angienc (D) says:

          Actually Georgetown *is* a Jesuit institution and that’s what we’re talking about moron — it’s the Jesuit tyrannical thinking that has corrupted Catholic educational institutions of all stripes by virtue of the Jesuits being the most influential in that area and their general assholishness.

    • votermom says:

      I told my hubby about that the other day. We are now looking for LED lightbulbs to replace our CFLs. Jayzuz, the price on LEDs are staggering.

  9. Roberta says:

    Your parents must have been clones of mine. Self esteem? Did self, let alone esteem, even exist in the 50s? Add to that 12 years of all girl Catholic School and you can figure out how my self esteem developed.

  10. DandyTiger says:

    I don’t think we climb our way out of this shit. So, fuck it. I’m partying.

  11. HELENK says:

    try Catholic foster homes, believe not much self esteem fostered there. Also you had better have respect for your neighbors and when they told you to do something you did it.
    Even when my kids were little, I was lucky enough to live in a small square where everyone knew each other and if a kid misbehaved they were brought home by the back of the neck and parents were expected to take care of the situation.
    Earning good marks not just getting good marks was normal in schools. Were all kids good , no. were all parents good no. But there were expectations to be met and most tried to meet them. Now no expectations and that loss is sad for everyone.

  12. HELENK says:

    I had read yesterday that princess nancy was talking about this, now reid? that load really does not want to do his job.

    screw congress backtrack can raise the debt ceiling

  13. HELENK says:

    does the idiot who thinks he is so special at the newspaper that printed the map on gun owners, still have a job?? If so why??

  14. HELENK says:

    remember the cash for clunkers fiasco that was supposed to help the environment? well it did NOT

  15. HELENK says:

    Iowa Hawk

    #WhyIsMyPaycheckLessThisWeek? This neatly sums it up for you

  16. HELENK says:

    how the backtrack bunch outplayed romney on cable tv ad placing

    • DeniseVB says:

      I noticed shows like Two and a Half men and Big Bang Theory were saturated with the Obama ads of Romney killed that guy’s wife after it was long debunked on the broadcast channels. (Yes, I like those shows 🙂 )

  17. HELENK says:

    this is interesting. can I get fired for personal opinions expressed in a non work environment?? court says yes. we are in deep doo doo

  18. DandyTiger says:

    OT: 1/40th of fed taxes collected came from Apple:

    In its statement, Apple said it paid “an enormous amount of taxes” to local, state and federal governments. “In fiscal 2012 we paid $6 billion in federal corporate income taxes, which is 1 out of every 40 dollars in corporate income taxes collected by the U.S. government,” it said.

    Evil corporations.

  19. HELENK says:

    this is the third democrat that is saying screw congress, backtrack should just raise the debt ceiling on his own.

  20. lildoggy4u says:

    Speaking of “special children”,
    But it was all Bush’s fault and the Tea Party is crazy because?

  21. foxyladi14 says:

    In the live free or die state. 😯

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