The results of parenting gone wrong – Part 2/2

22 May

As a teacher, I used brainstorming activities in my classroom. After all, I was taught and told to use brainstorming. The concept was to accept what anyone said as correct and worthy of being written down, so we wouldn’t bruise or injure a child’s self-esteem.

However,  Lehrer writes, “Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University, has summarized the science: ‘Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas.'”

In fact, in Does Brainstorming For New Ideas Really Work? (Business Insider, March 27, 2012), it was reported that experiments where it is okay to debate and criticize (constructive criticism no doubt) generated nearly 25 percent more ideas and findings show that debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them…

These results prove that the self-esteem’s brainstorming mantra of refraining from judging or negating ideas is wrong. In other words, brainstorming (a product of the self-esteem movement) did not unleash the potential of the group. Instead the technique suppressed it, making each individual less creative.

In addition, Stephanie Hallett writing for the Huffington Post reported, “Barely half of Americans over the age 18 are married, according to a new report from the Pew Research Institute. The number of couples married in 2010 dropped a startling 5 percent from the previous year, and the overall number of married couples has declined by more than 20 percentage points since 1960.”

Now, let’s look at the face in that mirror again. The self-esteem movement among parents gained serious momentum in the 1960s and by the late 1970s, it was a force in the public schools leading to grade inflation and a feel-good atmosphere for students. At the same time, marriages declined in addition to an increase in a weakening of parent-child relationships, while creativity in America isn’t what it could be.

In conclusion, it is obvious that self-esteem parenting led to the weakening of the parent-child relationship, is responsible in the decline of traditional marriage and has inhibited creativity, which will hurt the United States in the long run.

Is this an example of the domino theory in practice?

Return to The results of parenting gone wrong – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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4 responses to “The results of parenting gone wrong – Part 2/2

  1. Carol Stewart

    May 22, 2012 at 08:44

    You blame everything that has happened in the schools for 60 or more years on parents. As a parent who actively opposed many of the things that you write about, I beg to differ. They came from within the system and most teachers swallowed hook, line, and sinker and would not listen to any disagreement–trained to always be defensive and offended.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      May 22, 2012 at 14:56


      If you have opposed many of the issues in education that I write about, which means you must agree with me on those issues, then you are in the minority as a parent, and I thank you for your efforts.

      However, you may believe what you want about teachers, but at the schools where I taught (1975 – 2005), many of the teachers (most are retired now or dead) struggled against parents and administrators to stop the spread of false self-esteem and grade inflation, but it did no good. We were threatened. We were harassed and bullied. In fact, parents pulled their children out of our classrooms if we held onto traditional methods of teaching that held children accountable. That constant unrelenting pressure eventually led to most teachers either leaving teaching or surrendering due to stress.

      The political correctness of the “average” self-esteem parent is responsible for the mess the schools and many of our kids are in today. The culture and society set the stage and the schools had no choice but to follow that politically correct movement or else.

      I want to make this clear: When I say “average” American parent, that does not mean all American parents but it does mean the largest block of parents. Amy Chua of Tiger Mother fame (she wrote “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”) would be at one extreme and parents that raise kids that join street gangs and do drugs would be at the other extreme (for example).

      The spread of parenting styles may look something like this–sort of like a bell curve:

      10% = parents that neglect their children
      20% = parents in between neglect and the average American parent.
      40% = the average American Parent
      20% = parents in between the average American parent and Tiger Parents such as Amy Chua.
      10% = tiger parents

      However, the self-esteem movement did not start with parents. The self-esteem movement had its start in the 1880s outside of the public education and parenting. As you read further you will find a link to a history of the self-esteem movement.

      The reason why so many Americans now blame teachers and the public schools for the way many of our children are turning out is based on the fact that for several decades the public schools and teacher unions have been made the scapegoat.

      It’s so bad in the public schools that half of all new teachers quit the profession within three to five years and never return to education.

      In addition, I have known teachers from Canada (Canadian schools suffer from the same false sense of self-esteem virus) and from other school districts across the country, and most tell the same stories of how the politically correct self esteem movement among parents spread to the schools and caused what we have today.

      I’ve researched this topic in depth and written about it on this Blog with links to the facts that prove the self-esteem movement started outside the schools.

      That doesn’t mean there are no teachers that do not believe in building the false sense of self-esteem in children by inflating grades and handing out too much undeserved praise. Many younger teachers were raised by self esteem parenting methods and taught this by their parents and the colleges where they earned their teaching degrees pushed the belief in false self esteem too, but half of them still quit when faced with the reality that a teacher cannot teach students that do not read, hate water and swill soda by the gallon, spend an average of 10 hours a day watching TV and/or playing video games and/or social networking on the Internet, and/or text messaging.

      The following link will take you to the history of the Self-Esteem movement —

      Here are a few quotes from that history:

      “JOHN DEWEY and William James were among the early psychologist proponents of the importance of the self. Dewey discussed “intuition of self” in his seminal 1886 work, Psychology, using knowledge of self as the talisman for knowledge gains in general.

      “The popularization of psychology and the growing notion that children often needed expert help brought concerns about self-esteem to greater attention during the 1920s and 1930s. If children needed a sense of self to operate successfully, but if children were also vulnerable, it was certainly possible that special measures might be necessary to assure that the mechanism (the self) was in working order…

      “The roots of the self-esteem movement go back to the later nineteenth century, where they intertwined with larger notions of children’s vulnerability and the need for adult protection and support. Most of the psychologists associated with the CHILD STUDY movement specifically discussed the concept of self-esteem as a key component in successful child rearing. Progressive-era educators used the idea as well in seeking a supportive school environment. But it was only in the 1960s that this long-established belief of experts won popular and institutional backing as a way to reconcile academic commitment with parental concerns for childhood frailty and for the special value of their own children…

      “As early as 1950, enhanced discussions of self-confidence and the need for explicit parental support were becoming standard segments in the childrearing manuals…

      “The application of self-esteem concepts in the schools from the 1960s onward involved a number of specific programs and a more general reorientation.”

      Then, in the 1980s, there was a committee in the California state legislature that studied the importance of self esteem but the bill that this committee introduced that would have put an emphasis on self esteem in the public schools did not succeed and was voted down.

      Back to that history of self esteem at,

      “Self-esteem arguments also entered into recommendations for teacher behavior. Thus teachers were urged to add positive comments on all student work, in addition to (and perhaps instead of) critical observations. Some education authorities argued essentially that rewarding good behavior was far more useful, given self-esteem needs, than castigating bad.”

      Note: The public schools were the last place in our culture where the self-esteem movement spread its roots but now that we are starting to wake up and see how damaging this method of parenting is, the blame is being aimed at the public schools, which do not deserve it.

      There are more than fourteen thousand public school districts in the United States. Each of those school districts is managed by an elected school board made up mostly of parents elected by parents. Those school boards decide on policy and rules for school districts and it was through the elected school boards that the self-esteem parenting movement was introduced to the schools and when a public school administrator that has no job protection, as classroom teachers do, is told by his or her elected boss to implement policy, he does it by putting pressure on the teachers to change.

      Even Christian religions were invovled in the movement as it gained ground in the schools. One example was Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral. In 1982, Schuller published his 177-page hardcover “Self Esteem – The New Reformation”, and Schuller had an audience of more than 25 million people through his “Hour of Power” coast to coast radio program.

      In fact, “The Impact of Church Growth on Self Esteem Movement” by Je Gibson says, “Pastor Robert Schuller, founder of Crystal Cathedral, is often given credit as the pioneer of what has commonly been referred to as the Church Growth Movement.”

  2. Natalie

    May 22, 2012 at 19:22

    A great article and a wonderfully detailed response. I agree with most of what you say. The self esteem movement did more harm than good. I believe that good self esteem is incredibly valuable, but the way to get it is to accomplish things. Specially things that are difficult for you. The self esteem must come from within, not be dependent on the opinions or responses of others. Telling a child they did well or gave it a nice try when they didn’t is far more destructive than telling them that if they tried harder they would do better.

    I do take issue with your conclusion that the self esteem movement
    “is responsible in the decline of traditional marriage”. It is undoubtedly a concurrent happening, but the cause and effect link is missing for me.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      June 3, 2012 at 13:17

      Maybe these few pull quotes from several sources will fill in the cause-and-effect link showing how a false sense of inflated self esteem leads to narcissism causing fewer marriages and fewer that survive.


      Narcissism Run Rampant? Let’s Not Flatter Ourselves reported, “The last few decades have seen increasing efforts by teachers, policy makers, therapists, and others (by “others”, are they referring to the average parents that championed this movement early in the 1960s?) to shield children from anything remotely negative, whether that be competition with each other or criticism from adults.”

      … “The work of (psychologist Jean M. Twenge) and others involves tracking scores on measures of narcissism such as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory over time. Purported increased in this measure over several generations of young people would suggest that narcissism is on the rise.”


      Note: After establishing evidence for the rise of narcissism linked to the self-esteem parenting movement, I wanted to discover more of the impact of narcissism on marriage.

      Anne of Carversvile reports, “Both male and female narcissists are known as sexual provocateurs.

      “Promiscuity is a key behavioral ingredient also, because narcissists are always searching for a better deal. Psychologists Joshua Foster at the University of South Alabama and W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia found that when narcissists think their partner is committed, they are even more willing to cheat, presumably because they feel that they are more likely to get away with it. And narcissists get a rush out of convincing partners to do things or engage in sexual acts that they would normally eschew.

      “In the endless lineup of men (and presumably an occasional femme but we have no list) in power who cheat in dangerous ways on their wives, sexual control is seen clinically as a key ingredient of narcissism.”



      Marital says, “Selfishness has been described as one of the major enemies of married love and of love within the family…

      “Jean Twenge’s 2007 study of almost 17,000 college students revealed that two thirds of them scored high on a measure of narcissism which was an increase of 30% over the past twenty years. Dr. Twenge commented that narcissistic people are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short lived, are at greater risk for infidelity, lack consistent emotional warmth, exhibit game-playing and dishonesty and manifest overly controlling and violent behaviors. These behaviors in young adults are often fostered by a highly prevalent permissive parenting style.

      “The 1970s marked the period when, for many Americans, a more institutional model of marriage gave way to the “soul- mate model” of marriage. Of course, the soul-mate model was much more likely to lead couples to divorce court than was the earlier institutional model of marriage. Now, those who felt they were in unfulfilling marriages also felt obligated to divorce in order to honor the newly widespread ethic of expressive individualism,

      “This newer psychological view of marriage predisposes couples to selfishness, the major enemy of marital love and a lack of fulfillment and happiness that is found in self-giving. Subsequently, serious marital conflicts regularly develop.


      Narcissism and marriage?

      “I was involved with a married Narcissist for one year. From the get go, all he talked about was how mean and hateful his wife was; she never wanted to spend anytime with him, only put him down and criticized him, and she didn’t pay any attention to him whatsoever.


      Narcissist want weddings, not marriage.

      “Narcissists lack self-esteem and live in an internal world, one that they can attract another person to and form a relationship around because they can read other people and manipulate them. It becomes a parasitic relationship, with all of the affection going to the narcissist, McWade said.

      “McWade believes that Americans are more predisposed to narcissism because of the inventive and explorative history of our country. Narcissism fueled this push for independent thought and creation, but it in turn “conquered the culture to some degree.”

      “Parents have an unfortunate tendency to create narcissists, by forcing their children to become what their parents want in order to receive love, or if a son — after all, 70% of narcissists are men — believes he is the central focus of a family, according to McWade’s research.
      “A higher rate of divorce and lack of intact families are also causing a spread of narcissism, Fabick said.”



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