Book Review

Educating Today’s Overindulged Youth

Combat Narcissism by Building Foundations, Not Pedestals

by Chad Mason and Karen Brackman, Rowman & Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2009, 112 pp., $22.95 softcover

The unspoken rule is that the PTA president’s child gets the most coveted teacher. The kindergarten teacher gives an award to all the children in his or her classroom on the last day of school. Every 8th-grade girl wears the same brand of ragged jeans. These occurrences are commonplace in most schools today.

Educating Today's Youth

In their book Educating Today’s Overindulged Youth authors Chad Mason and Karen Brackman warn these behaviors are signs of our increasingly narcissistic society. Although the actions often are well-intended gestures, the authors say these behaviors illustrate the trend toward a toxic reward system: Parents buying a house across the street from the school so their child will always have a parking place, renting limousines to transport birthday party guests and paying for cosmetic surgery for a teenager as a graduation gift.

Longtime educators, Mason and Brackman define and explore strategies for reducing narcissism in schools. They consistently point out the importance of families being partners in the effort to combat overindulgence. Though important, the suggested strategies often seem to be common sense.

A welcome addition to Educating Today’s Overindulged Youth is the final chapter of case studies. These scenarios can be nice conversation starters for staff, students and parents.

Reviewed by Jennifer Graham, learning enhancement coordinator, Arlington Heights School District 25, Arlington Heights, Ill.