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Responsible Children

If you are a parent, how can you help your children to reap the benefits of being kind and to avoid being contaminated by the self-absorbed culture that surrounds them? Consider three traps that could foster a me-first spirit in your children, and see how you can avoid those traps.

The problem. Researchers have noted a disturbing trend: Many young adults are entering the workforce with a marked sense of entitlement—an attitude in which they expect success, even if they have done little or nothing to earn it. Some just assume that they will be promoted quickly, even without mastering their trade. Others are convinced that they are special and deserve to be treated that way—and then they become dejected when they realize that the world does not share their view.

What you can do. Make it your goal to give correction when it is needed and commendation when it is genuinely deserved. Do not dole out praise just to make your children feel good about themselves. Likely, it will not work. “True self-confidence comes from honing your talents and learning things,” says the book Generation Me, “not from being told you’re great just because you exist.”