Positive reinforcement isn’t a new concept. We can trace it back at least to the 1930s, with Ivan Pavlov and his behavioral training for dogs through encouragement instead of punishment.
In the 1940s and 50s, Dr. Benjamin Spock touted positive reinforcement training for children. This guided younger parents through the 60s and 70s. Former fanny-spanking, wrist-paddling teachers and parents feared this would lead to generations of spoiled children. Were they right?
By the 1980s, pop psychology had turned “positive reinforcement” into the constant feeding of our children's egos. Partnered with Political Correctness – where of course it's wrong to even tell someone they've made a mistake – we've now trained multiple generations of parents and teachers to think children must never get any negative feedback or criticism. And we’ve created little monsters.
Despite mountains of evidence, the leaders of our liberal public education system, most government officials and most “mainstream media” refuse to acknowledge this fact:
Allowing our children to “do whatever feels good” and the theory of “everyone gets a trophy” is backfiring miserably. Kids are becoming more resistant to boundaries of any kind. They're flabbergasted at the first sign of disapproval, or if you suggest that anyone is better at something. And they go ballistic if anyone says they've done something wrong that could be harmful to themselves or others.
Children through young adults are increasingly becoming egomaniacs, narcissists, and even “megalomaniacs” – a mental condition marked by delusions of grandeur for oneself. They want fame to come easily, people to move aside when they pass, and unreasonable accommodations and attention for whatever behavior they choose to display.
This wasn’t the plan. The reinforcement of “healthy ego” was supposed to turn our children into obedient, lovable, caring angels and responsible, successful adults. Or was it?
With each article and piece of research I read, I’ve become more convinced that it was the task, all along, of liberal educators and “children's rights advocates” to steal our kids’ judgment and minimize parental authority. If younger generations are made easily pliable by compliments and ego-stroking, they also become more controllable by government, bullies and madmen. Or, maybe, they become the madmen and bullies themselves.
Here are some articles for consideration on this topic. These articles aren't “religiously swayed” - They’ve been featured in prominent nationwide publications and written by journalists or outlets with unbiased credentials.
“The unteachables – a generation that cannot learn,” Janice Fiamengo, PJ Media, 5/20/12.
Main idea: The tragedy of progressive education is that children no longer have a teachable character. They are steeped in self-esteem training.
This reminds me of an old episode of the Twilight Zone where a little boy used his mind to send people out into a cornfield and turn them into scarecrows if they didn’t smile and tell him everything he did was wonderful.
“Are we raising a nation of little egomaniacs?” Victoria Clayton, MSNBC, 4/2/07.
Main idea: Lessons like the constantly reinforced “you're special” are making kids think they are mini-masters of the universe. Giving “A” for effort and trophies to losing teams isn't developing their competitive nature, the desire to excel, or the ability to take life’s knocks.
“Study finds alarming rise in narcissism, self-centeredness in ‘Generation Me’” Associated Press (staff), 2/27/07.
Main idea: Today’s college students are so self-centered that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.
“Yep, life’ll burst that self-esteem bubble,” Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY, 2/16/05.
Main idea: People raised in the “self-esteem” buzzword generations are crumbling at first criticism in college, post-grad education and at their first jobs. Employers and universities have had to hire more counselors to handle this problem!Yes, we want our children to have good self-esteem, to think they can accomplish a lot in their lives. But when we over-shelter them from any negative feedback, we're not showing them what the real world can be like.
A curious component of this ego-boosting system is the number of children/teens who are somehow bullied by self-esteem addicts into having no hope. They may be pre-disposed to low self-esteem, so that anything but the highest praise makes them question their very existence. Since they don’t hear about the hope of God, they believe there is none. And with teachers undermining the credibility of parents, they don’t talk to their parents about their problems. This can result in suicide, or in taking other lives.
*Of course, the kids with the unusually high self-esteem will run for President without having the credentials to do so.