Overpraising children for everyday accomplishments gives them a false sense of entitlement and bloated egos. That kind of helicopter parenting and teaching afflicts kids with narcissism, a trait that’s on the rise in Western cultures. (“Narcissistic individuals feel superior to others, fantasize about personal successes, and believe they deserve special treatment. When they feel humiliated, they often lash out aggressively or even violently.”)
Duh, say past generations of hardscrabble Americans from their graves. But a new study–called Origins of narcissism in children–confirms that old folk wisdom with data. Attempts to boost self-esteem in kids by overpraising can have disastrous effect, setting up kids for a lifetime of frustration, anger and–paradoxically–feeling underappreciated. So let’s agree, no more giving a trophy to every kid–just the ones that win.