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Parenting Blog

I post here from time to time as issues come up, or in response to parent feedback and questions

Parenting Blog

Book Recommendation: Generation Me

Posted by Dave on June 11, 2009 at 6:45 PM

Author Jean Twenge, Ph.D., a member of the generation she researchs and writes about, is echoing what some older researchers, psychologists and educators have been saying for years: the so-called self-esteem movement has got to go! Her book discusses her research from the last few years, but it certainly isn't a thick, boring academic tome at 249 pages. Her prose is witty and readable - and sprinkled with rather earthy language. It's an easy and enjoyable read.


Twenge and I agree that the self-esteem craze of the last decade or so has done far more damage than good. A few years ago as a Scout leader I had to constantly fend off parents who didn't want us to let their sons make mistakes - any mistakes, or take even the smallest risks - for fear of hurting their self-esteem. They failed to understand the importance of making and learning from mistakes as part of the educational process, and the critical role of accurate, constructive feedback. Criticize a child's performance or attitude? Correct mistakes or poor behavior? Require them to actually EARN an award? Horrors!!


In her book, Twenge chronicals the dramatic rise of clinical narcissism, the decline of academic performance, the increase of disruptive behavior in the classrooms, and the problems of students who feel they are entitled to more or special instruction or priveleges than other students. Her data clearly ties it to the simultaneous rise of the self-esteem movement.


She also talks about kids who first enter the workplace and crumble the first time a boss criticizes their performance. They've never learned to deal with criticism and correction, and fall apart - or self-destruct - when their boss does his or her job.


This is a book that every parent, teacher, and empolyer needs to read - before we do any more damage to our young people.


2006 Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. - Published by Simon & Shuster, Free Press Division. Available from

Categories: Book Recommendations