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  • Writer's pictureAmy Orlovich

Self-Esteem vs. Self-Control: Who Is Really Winning?

The cover of Time Magazine for May 20, 2013, shows a teen girl lying on her stomach taking a “selfie” (picture of self) with the title “The Me Me Me Generation.” Current data for popular baby names shows that Messiah and King are among the fastest-rising baby names in America. Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues recently studied college freshmen determining they have the highest self-esteems and lowest achievements of any generation with the highest levels of anxiety and depression.

As parents, what can we do to help our children? Twenge goes on to talk about the importance of self-control in kids. Those with self-control go on to be the most successful. As a group, we are worried about our children’s self-esteem far more than we are their ability to control themselves. Someone’s child cheats on a test or gets in a fight at school, and the teachers are afraid to call the parents for fear of their job or personal attack. Coaches of children’s sports are being abused and even killed by kids as well as parents. Our society lacks self-control. Our children must be encouraged to succeed due to hard work and determination rather than calling them a “rock star” just for participating, While it is important that kids “feel good about themselves” for participating in an event, do adults really think children don’t know one team wins and one team loses? They deserve more credit than that.

Let us hold the standards high for our children. However, let’s begin to hold the bar high for acts of kindness, caring for others, and self-control, rather than being the most beautiful, smartest, and best without the work.

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