In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 21, 2007 / 9 Tishrei 5768

Hold the confetti

By Betsy Hart

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Have you gotten an "applause note" recently?

If you are in an office with a lot of "millennials" (twentysomethings), chances are you have. Jeff Zaslow wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal that "companies are celebrating young employees by throwing confetti at them, passing out 'applause notes' and giving them kudos just for coming to work on time."

Why? Because this is the generation that the "self-esteem" movement built. For decades, experts have told us that "helping our children grow up with strong self-esteem is the (begin ital) most important task of parenthood (end ital)" and "high self-esteem is the (begin ital) single most important ingredient for success in life (end ital)." (Emphasis mine.)

Really? Well, now the generation that grew up regularly praised for breathing is in the workplace apparently needing praise for walking and breathing at the same time.

So, what's wrong with constantly affirming workers, anyway? Carol Dweck, a renowned self-esteem researcher currently at Stanford University, says that people often recognize hollow praise for what it is. But moreover, she told me, people who desperately need praise to function are probably far more open to being manipulated by praise, false or otherwise, than folks who develop an internal sense of their own worth.

Oh, and if and when the praise-hungry face a boss who sees not firing someone as affirmation enough — as a few of mine sure did — these young people will fall apart.

Dweck says that in a misguided effort at a good thing — positive reinforcement — leaders of the self-esteem movement "convinced parents they could hand their children self-esteem on a silver platter, just by telling them how wonderful they are." In reality, the constant praise for everything and nothing is creating children who are, she told me, both "entitled and fragile." Worse today for fear of bruising a delicate psyche, "parents withhold important criticism that could help the child to do better next time — and so essentially teach kids that a failure is up there with the end of the world."

Those of us who want to buck the culture may not be able to save the twentysomethings who need confetti with their morning coffee, but how about today's generation of children? As a mother of four young kids, I want to know how I can build resilient children who can thrive without the applause-o-meter constantly on high.

What to do? Dweck told me, for starters, to forget the "smart" label, as in "You are so smart!" or "You are so good at math!" Dweck said it's much better to praise what it took to get the end result: That the child faced a challenge, worked hard, didn't give up, stayed focused and so on. Her research clearly shows that kids praised for being "smart" are more likely to eschew new challenges because they so fear failing — and losing that "smart" label. But kids praised for how they handle the "process" are more likely to eagerly embrace a new challenge — and succeed.

And instead of the typical "wow, you're great" conversations at the dinner table, we should ask our kids: "What's a challenge you faced this week?" "How did it go?" "What's a mistake you made today — and learned from?" "What's a failure you dealt with in the last month — that grew into something positive?"

Dweck says that kids who see themselves as "fixed" in their skills, talents or intelligence tend to be fragile. But kids who believe those things can be acquired through hard work, facing challenges and learning from mistakes tend to be far more resilient, positive and optimistic.

Surely we just want our kids to know that we, as their parents, love them unconditionally, just because they are our children. What a gift we give our kids when, in contrast to the culture, we give them the freedom to learn from their failures, and the encouragement to grow from their mistakes.

Confetti with coffee can never provide that kind of a boost.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.

"It Takes a Parent : How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting Our Kids — and What to Do About It"  

"Hart urges parents to focus...on instilling industry, frugality, sincerity and humility. She encourages parents to reclaim the word "no." Contrary to advice you may have received, you needn't give your child choices, or offer alternatives, or explain to little Suzie why she can't eat eight cookies right before bed-you're the parent, and sometimes you can just say no."

  —   Kirkus Reports

Sales help fund JWR.

Betsy Hart Archives

© 2007, Scripps Howard News Servic