Psychologist John Townsend writes that much research is coming out about children and entitlement (The Entitlement Cure, 97).
"Scientists are discovering that when kids get overpraised, they become less confident and so become risk-averse. Praise is a great thing, and we all need to know that others affirm our efforts and successes. But overpraise is a very different thing. When you overpraise a child, you affirm successes out of all proportion to reality— and the child inevitably pays for it." (Ib.)
When kids get overpraised "they know at some level that the praise is not based on reality. So they develop a fear of taking risks and of failing." (Ib.)
"Most kids have not yet developed the capacity to think, I know what I’m capable of, and what to do when I come to a situation beyond my capability. Instead, they overflow with anxiety and shame, and so they just don’t try at all." (Ib.)
We all want our children to be confident. This will not come from overpraising them. It will come from success. "The only path to great and genuine self-confidence is a history of success. When you can look back at twenty speaking events that went well, or a series of work promotions at the same job, or a year’s AA chip, you will feel confident. And you should... Confident people don’t have to talk themselves into “I can do this.” They know they can, because they already have done it. (98)
Entitlement produces people who lack confidence. Because...
Confidence is earned, not bequeathed.