Moms Talk: Are We Raising a Generation of Narcissists?

Are children caught up in a culture that supports entitlement, narcissism and a lack of self-control? A Royal Oak psychotherapist thinks so.

Royal Oak psychotherapist Sheri Noga has been working with families and children for 33 years. In the past 10 years, she has started seeing problems that did not exist in her first 23 years of practice.

“I began working with kids, 2 to 8 years old, with much more serious behavioral problems,” she said. “Kids who were lost and didn’t know how to fix their problems.”

Noga blames indulgent parents and a culture of immediate gratification for out-of-control children. She believes the culture that has led to problems in areas of finance, food, weight and fidelity has now led to a marked increase in narcissism in our youngest generation.

“We give kids everything,” she said. “They have nothing to work for. They can't care for themselves, which is the basis of being an adult.”

Noga said she works with parents who are good people and well-intentioned, but she warns them, “When you give your child everything, you destroy them.”

“There’s a study (by Princeton University economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman) that found that people who earn $75,000 a year are just as happy as someone who makes $10 million,” she said. “Those (millionaires) have more stuff — but no gain in happiness.”

Video games and smartphones don’t deliver happiness, said Noga, who encourages parents to ignore the culture and set normal limits for children. She has written a book, Have the Guts to Do it Right: Raising Grateful and Responsible Children in an Era of Indulgence, to help parents be independent thinkers.

The book raises many questions, including:

  • Why does my child ignore discipline, and what can be done about it?
  • How can I match my child’s will and determination?
  • What parenting style produces well-adjusted children?
  • Has disrespect become the new cultural norm?
  • How do I teach my child to soothe herself/himself?
  • Are computer and video games bad for children?

Noga has a master's degree in humanistic and clinical psychology. She says her theraputic approach of honesty and compassion has allowed families to find their way to more rewarding relationships. Visit sherinoga.com to learn more about her practice and book.


What do you think?

Are today's parents are too indulgent with their children? Is today's generation disrespectful or carries of sense of entitlement?

Kimberly Middlewood August 03, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Kudos I'm glad someone finally said it
Teri Williams August 04, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Raising children today is quite a challenge. Is it really more challenging than any other era? It sounds like the book can help answer a view questions and give parents some new strategies for dealing with current issues.
Thomas Gagne August 05, 2011 at 12:04 PM
I heard the author interviewed on WDET's Craig Fahle show. I purchased the book that night. http://www.wdetfm.org/shows/craig-fahle-show/episode/psychotherapist-sheri-noga-guest-hosts/


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