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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 4/4

By now, members of the Me (parents), or Me Me Me Generation (children of Baby Boomers) who might be reading this series of posts have become angry and may accuse me of being an idiot and even a racist for daring to say too many white parents have raised a generation of narcissists—about 30 million. Of course that leaves 50 million that were not raised by parents obsessed with the self-esteem of his or her child.

Here’s the rub, over a thirty year period, I saw it happening in my classroom. I don’t need the studies that Joel Stein refers to in his Time Magazine piece. I taught about 6,000 students in the public schools from 1975 to 2005. In the 1970s the self-esteem narcissist epidemic was just getting started and in the late 70s and early 80s, many of my students cooperated in the classroom, read the short stories, read the books and actually studied and worked.

Then we come to the 30 million, because if you are perfect, why read, why study, why work? If the teacher isn’t entertaining the students and students feel bored, why pay attention, why cooperate? And narcissists are very loud and sure of themselves—in fact, they are convinced that everyone else is wrong.

It may even be too late to fix what’s broken, because there is an industry that feeds this cult of self-esteem and it may be impossible to stop this terminal illness from killing our culture through narcissism.

But maybe it isn’t too late, because we don’t see this obsessive level of narcissism among most minority parents and children, and it has been predicted that minorities will be the majority by 2043. Maybe America’s minorities—along with the few white parents who aren’t inflating the self-esteem of their children—will save this country by not raising children to grow up and become sociopathic narcissists.

What has the price of inflated self-esteem been so far? To find out, I suggest you read Joel Stein’s piece in Time Magazine—the May 20, 2013 issue.

– a few facts for thought –

In 1950, the U.S. suicide rate for ages 15 – 24 was 4.5 per 100,000. These suicides were from members of the Greatest Generation born 1901 – 1945.

In 2005, the suicide rate for ages 15 – 24—all white members of the Millennial generation—was 10.7 per 100,000 (an increase of 238% compared to 1950), but for nonwhites of the same Millennial generation, that number was 7.4 and for Blacks 6.7 per 100,000.

However, for Baby Boomers, the U.S. suicide rate decreased in 2003 compared to 1950. In 1950, suicide for ages 45 -54 was 20.9 per 100,000 compared to 15.9 in 2003—the Baby Boom generation.

Note: suicide rates increase dramatically after age 45 but have improved significantly since 1950. In 1950, the suicide rate age 65 years and older was 30 per 100,000. In 2003, the suicide rate for the same age group dropped to 14.6 per 100,000. Source: Suicide.org

The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers were not raised by self-esteem obsessed parents. Therefore, has the cult of self-esteem practiced mostly among white middle-class parents of the Baby Boom generation caused the increase in suicides to more than double for white Americans born to the Millennial generation or is that just a coincidence?

Return to The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3/4

Just because 80 million were born into the Millennial generation, that doesn’t mean they were all raised by parents obsessed with self-esteem.

For example, the Millennials “are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history. Among those ages 13 to 29: 18.5% are Hispanic; 14.2% are Black; 4.3% are Asian; 3.2% are mixed race or other; and 58.8%—a record low—are White.”  Source: The Society Pages.org

Then there are the immigrants. In 2010, there were 40 million in the US, and most immigrant parents raise children differently—than the average White American born parent—often practicing different forms of authoritarian parenting styles found in other countries. Source: Center for Immigration Studies

In addition, research has found that authoritarian parenting is more common among African Americans than among European Americans (Hill & Bush, 2001). … Furthermore, research shows that the authoritarian parenting style is widely accepted by both middle-class African American parents, and their children (Smetana, 2000). Source: Adolescent Health-Risk Behaviors: The Effect of Perceived Parenting Style and Race

Moreover, “efforts to boost the self-esteem of pupils have not been shown to improve academic performance and may sometimes by counterproductive.” The findings of this study did not support continued widespread efforts to boost self-esteem in the hope that it will by itself foster improved outcomes. Source: Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?

“Teens whose parents exercise more control over their teens’ activities are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors (Jacobson & Crockett, 2000; Patterson & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1984), smoke, use alcohol or other drugs (Brown, Mounts, Lamborn, & Steinberg, 1993; Shakib et al., 2003), and engage in sexually risky behavior (Hogan & Kitagawa, 1985;Jacobson & Crockett, 2000; Newcomer & Udry, 1987).

“Latino youth are no exception to these patterns. … Drawing on previous work, we hypothesize that Mexican-origin youth with parents who exercise firm control (authoritative and authoritarian) will have fewer behavior problems and that teens with supportive parents (authoritative and permissive) will have better emotional well-being. …

“There is much concern that as the duration of exposure to U.S. society and level of acculturation rise, children exhibit increasingly poor outcomes, similar to those of children from the majority (white) culture. …

“Behavioral outcomes and depression were worse for third generation teens from permissive families than for first-and second-generation teens from similar families. Generational patterns in behavioral outcomes were similar for teens of disengaged parents, whereas third generation teens of authoritarian parents had fewer behavioral problems than either first-or second-generation teens of similar parents.” Source: Parenting Styles Across Immigrant Generations

It is obvious from the cited studies in this post that most of the parents that belong to the cult of self-esteem are white.

Continued on May 26 in The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 2/4

In 2002, The No Child Left Behind Act was voted into law by Congress and signed by President G. W. Bush. I think this law was a result of pressure from Baby Boomer parents that belonged to the cult of self-esteem, because this law only holds the schools and teachers accountable for education—not the students. If you read the provisions of this act, you will discover that students have no responsibility to learn—none. The responsibility for students to learn is all on the backs of the teachers and the schools.

Merriam-Webster says confidence means “faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way,” and I think the best way to build confidence is to learn how to be successful through failure and hard work.

The same dictionary says self-esteem means the same as self-conceit. Synonyms for self-esteem are ego, pridefulness, self-regard, self-respect, and the antonyms—the opposite meaning—are humbleness, humility and modesty.

The Attraction Forums.com says, “To better understand confidence let’s first clear up some really common misconceptions between confidence and self-esteem. The two are related but are not the same. Confidence is how effective a person feels in a given situation or dealing with a specific task. Self-esteem is how much a person likes themselves and how worthy they feel of receiving good things in life. A person can feel good about themselves (high self-esteem) while not feeling positive about their skill-set in a certain area (confidence).”

And students and adults with a high sense of inflated self-esteem hate to fail.

Today, there are about 80 million Millennials (ages 13 – 32)—also known as Generation Y, mostly the children of the Baby Boomers—in the U.S, but how many are at a high risk of being a member of the ME ME ME Generation that the Time Magazine piece talks about?

Continued on May 5, 2013 in The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

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The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 1/4

I read Joel Stein’s The ME ME ME Generation: Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents published in the May 20 issue of Time Magazine. My first reaction was to agree with what he wrote 100%.  Then I thought about it for several days and decided there was a major flaw in Stein’s piece.

When I finished reading the piece, this phrase was glued in my head: “In the U.S. Millennials are the children of the baby boomers, who are also known as the Me Generation, who then produced the Me Me Me Generation.”

There is some truth to Stein’s statement but it is also misleading. I taught in the public schools for thirty years starting with fifth grade in 1975-76; then graduated to 7th and 8th grade 1979-89, and in 1989 I transferred to the high school where I taught until August 2005 when I retired. During those years, I worked with at least 6,000 students and had contact with hundreds of parents.

There are five generations:

1.        The Greatest Generation (1901-1945) – my parents were born early in this generation and I was born near the end in 1945.

2.        Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)

3.        Generation X (1965 – 1985)

4.        Generation Y (1978 – 1994) – The Millennials

5.        Generation Z (1995 – 2007) — I never taught this generation. Source: List of Generations Chart

When I first started teaching, I worked with students from Generation X until 1992 when the Millennials first walked into my classroom.

It didn’t take long to witness a difference in attitude and behavior among the Millennials compared to Generation X, but not all of the Millennials were members of the so-called ME ME ME Generation. There were always great students who were not narcissists or sociopaths, but through the years there were fewer of them and more students with parents that were very concerned about their child’s self-esteem—there was a lot of pressure to give out higher grades and make the work easier.

For example, in 1979 when I first started teaching 7th and 8th graders at Giano Intermediate, at least half of my students earned A’s and B’s. Few failed.

After I reached the high school, the failure rate climbed to 30% and about 20% earned A’s and B’s. By the time I left teaching in 2005, the failure rate among the Millennials had climbed to as high as 50% in some classes and about 5% of the students earned A’s and B’s—that was in my English classes.

In one class—journalism—that I taught for seven years starting in the early 1990s, the students produced the high-school newspaper, and ninety-nine percent of those students earned A’s or B’s, and it was rare that a student in that class earned anything less. In that class, there were few narcissists with self-esteem obsessed parents.

The parent cult of self-esteem became a serious movement in the 1960s and spread over the years like a virus until it reached toxic numbers—a malignant cancer, but not every Baby Boomer parent was a member of this cult so we have to be careful about stereotyping all Millennials as narcissists.

Continued on May 24, 2013 in The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

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