Letting Your Kids Feel Rejection

August 16, 2006

Here’s a hypothetical: It’s your child’s birthday and you’re planning a big party this coming weekend.

Do you:
A. Make out 30 invitations and invite your child’s entire classroom?
B. Invite those you know are your childs friends and playmates?

If you answered “B”, according to this article, you won’t be allowed to pass out the select invitations in your child’s classroom.

Gone are the days when a kindergartner dropped a handful of party invites in the classroom cubbyholes of their closest buddies. Today, if anyone is excluded the invitations can’t be handed out at school.

According to the article, protecting kids from rejection is “crucial” to safeguarding their self-esteem. Examples of this trend?

Valentines Day. At some schools, children can’t offer paper valentines or heart-shaped candies to a short list of pals and secret crushes anymore. They give cards to everyone or no one at all.

Or sports: In many towns, scorekeeping no longer happens at soccer or softball games played by kids under 8 or 9. Win or lose, every player in the league gets a trophy at the season’s end.

But, is this a good idea? Some parents don’t think so. In fact, some see it as a problem. Can this be the reason that kids grow up and have this inflated sense of self-worth? Rather than imparting self-esteem, some experts believe this gives kids an unhealthy sense of entitlement.

Critics of the trend worry about a generation of kids who haven’t experienced rejection or failure — especially compared with countries such as China and Japan, where a focus on competition defines the lives of many children.

Learning to compete, says Nichols, is vital. “It sets them up for real life things like a job,” she says. “It helps people develop their skills.”

So fellow Mothertalkers, what kind of mother are you?