Goodbye trophy wife. Hello, trophy kids.

Young, gorgeous women hanging on the arms of an older, affluent guy is so yesterday. Alpha kids with high status achievements are the trophies of today.

Yes, raising kids with every imaginable benefit can pay off. Many of them are remarkably talented in diverse areas - not only academically but in technology, sports, drama, music, art, dance and more. You name the field, you probably know someone who knows someone whose kid won a regional, national or international award for achievement in that field.

What a generation! And what brilliant parents to have produced such amazing children! These parents are rewarded with never-ending bragging rights. Any why not? They have put so much into their kids, why shouldn't they be proud?

But what happens when despite having received a first-class education, your kid is not losing sleep over whether to grace Harvard or Yale with his presence? Or has not been invited to perform in Carnegie Hall? Or has not received an athletic scholarship?

Have you failed as a parent? Did you not provide enough? Did your "good job" cheerleading efforts fall short of the mark?

Or, has your child failed you? After all, considering the time, effort and money you've put into his education along with supportive services, such as tutoring (when she was stumbling), psychotherapy (when she was anxious), vacations (when he was stressed), you'd be forgiven for expecting at least a decent return on investment (ROI).

Yet, despite the abundance of advantages, many kids turn out to just average (a fine category, unless we delude ourselves into believing that average is shameful). And some kids turn out to be screw-ups with no loftier goal than achieving the next "high" or the next eye-popping pair of Blahnik stilettos.

If you're putting everything you can think of into raising your kids yet feeling that something's amiss, listen up:

1.Get a life! You don't need to raise trophy kids. If you put the pressure on them but they're not top achievers, you're creating a failure mentality. Let them be. Find something else in your life and in their life to be proud of.
2.Get real! Don't raise princes and princesses. If you do, expect tyrants with a never-ending sense of entitlement that sticks around well past their teen years.
3.Respect yourself! Don't let childhood trump adulthood. If you do, expect their wants (masquerading as needs) to trump yours for years to come.
4.Stick to your decisions! Don't let the rules you set or the boundaries you create be inconsequential. If you do, expect that your kids will become the "deciders" and you - well consider yourself lucky if you wind up being simply the serf and not the slave.
5.Value your own self-esteem. Don't let guilt pervade your psyche. If you do, you'll doubt every move you make and lose any shred of confidence.

Here's to being proud of your kids without any need to make them trophy kids!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Sapadin is a clinical psychologist, author, columnist, educator and motivational speaker. She is known for her sharp insights and exceptionsal ability to provide timely, yet timeless advice.

Her specialties are how to master debilitating fear, anxiety, procrastination and other self-defeating patterns of behavior in order to build self-confidence, enrich relationships, enhance communication and get along with difficult people.


Now I Get It! Totally Sensational Advice for Living and Loving (Outskirts Press, 2007) To be published in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia

Master Your Fears: How to Triumph Over Your Worries and Get On With Your Life (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). (Also published in Korean and French)

Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How STUDENTS can Overcome Them (Penguin, 1999).

It's About Time! The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them (Penguin, 1996). Also published in Japanese by Nihon Eizo Press.

Person to Person weekly column, published by Richner Communications.


TV and Radio media: Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox Morning News, National Public Radio (Celeste Quinn Show, Derek McGinty Show, All Things Considered), The God Squad, Canadian Broadcasting Company, the Voice of America, Good Day New York. Full media resume on request.

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BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS The American Psychological Association, Smithsonian Associates, 92nd St. Y, Herman Miller, Inc., Coopers & Lybrand, Hofstra University.