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Are You Damaging Your Kids’ Self-Esteem?

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You’re a Pimp
Your doorbell rings and there are your parents, all crouched down and ready for a big hug from their very own pint-sized flesh and blood. But your kid doesn’t rush over. Perhaps she’s busy playing. Or maybe she needs some time to warm up to them. For whatever reason, she’s not feeling it.

And you can’t help but wish she was. Can’t she give them something? They’ve come a long way and a cuddle would mean so much. Feeling the pressure, you whisper to your daughter, “Go give Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss!”

But as soon as those words come out of your mouth : BOOM! You’re guilty of prostituting your kid to perform acts of affection to satisfy your parents’ desires. Make no mistake about it: You’re the pimp. Your parents are the johns. And the currency you’re using is the single most powerful in the world: parental love and approval. Just because the affection isn’t sexual doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Each and every time your child performs an act of “love” at your behest, her innate drive to genuinely express love takes a pummeling.

You’ve also set her up to believe it’s her responsibility to use her body to satisfy another’s desire, regardless of how she feels about it. So even if you’ve explained to her a million times that she has the right to say “no,” your actions, particularly when ingrained at an early age, speak much louder than words.

Physical affection when not given freely is wrong. Full stop.

My recommendation: Stop asking for a kiss goodbye. Stop asking where your hug is. Be loveable and your kids will want to love you – in the way they want to, when they want to.

The above is a selection from an article my wife came across the other day and wanted me to read it. She was taken aback by the advice that was given. So I read the article and I was also taken aback.

The article is featured on babble.com and is written by Jennifer Lehr/Schlosberg. It covers three items of advice she provides to parents based on observations she has made that could negatively affect the self-esteem of the child. After reading the article I went to her website to see what were her qualifications for making such assertions since none of them hold any weight with me. She does have a masters degree, but it appears to be a Masters of Fine Arts degree that does not specify her concentration. Ms. Lehr’s work is listed as interior design and she has written a book about sex advice.

Given this, I will consider her post to be her opinion on a blog and not professional advice. My opinion on this blog is much the same. Currently, that opinion is her post is bupkus and should not be heeded. That’s my opinion. But I also have a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in counseling, and am a licensed and certified counselor who has facilitated parenting classes. I would be extremely reluctant in that capacity to espouse any of the views expressed in that post and would not devalue the level of parenting of any mother or father who did the things that she mentioned.

My wife and I recently watched the movie "Parental Guidance" with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Great movie and a great comedy. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. Apart from some bias from being set in Atlanta, we both loved the movie because Crystal’s and Midler’s characters are grandparents who clash with their daughter on parenting styles and we agree with the former. Sometimes a little tough love is needed. I won’t ruin the movie or go on a diatribe about the merits of tough love, but its great and is a must-see.

That being said, feel free to check out the full article in question by Ms. Lehr. It can be found here.

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2 Comments

  1. crazymom1386 says:

    I don’t think You would have to have any type of degree to realize that comparing encouraging your kids to show their love to other members of the family to pimping is absurd.

  2. marlajayne says:

    I agree with crazymom. Instead of “You’ve also set her up to believe it’s her responsibility to use her body to satisfy another’s desire, regardless of how she feels about it” being true, what you’re teaching her is that she’s a part of a family to whom she owes some respect. It’s a matter of civility.

    There are always exceptions. Like the other day I read an article about people who thought tickling others, especially children or women, was a sign of affection. Turns out that the women and children on the receiving end often perceive this as a scary thing, a situation in which they’re trapped and helpless to escape. I could go on and on but I won’t.

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