The clock keeps ticking

He wanted to do one thing, his father suggested another.

He insisted on doing what he felt was good for him.

“You are egoistic… it is your ego that is compelling you to do what you want to do…!”his father told him in frustration.

I let him continue to talk. There was a long pause before he asked me… “Coach…! What is it…? Is it really my ego…? Why can’t they understand me…?”

In another case, a mother was perplexed because she thought her 18-year-old child was arrogant, selfish and misbehaved. She classified the child’s behavior as egoistic.

Most teenagers’ parents do the same when their teenager doesn’t behave as expected. They believe that a teenager is deliberately being disruptive, and often want to express superiority among siblings and peers. Children misbehave, parents get strict with them, children misbehave more; thus a cycle of constant aggression is created.

But is this behavior really egoistic? Let’s take a look. Ego, according to social scientists, is an idea or opinion about one’s own worth. It is an admiration of one’s self. Ego resists criticism and fosters superiority. On the other end of the spectrum is Self-Esteem.

Self-Esteem, it might seem is the same as ego, when defined as the sense of self-worth and personal value. While ego has negative connotation, self-esteem is taken positively. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-esteem is about dignity, achievement and prestige.

People with good self-esteem are realistic, empathetic, and open to criticism. While they understand their own worth, they don’t need to express it over and over again to gain respect. They also don’t give in to any superiority complex.

So next time, when we see our teenage children making their own choice in life or insisting on their choice of action, and we tend to rush to a judgmental conclusion, let us pause for a moment and ask ourselves…

“Is this my child’s Ego… or does he have a high Self-Esteem?”

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