A short while back, I attended the prize giving ceremony for my sons school. It was a good function. Sonny however did not feature in the awards list.
Why I am writing is because in all honesty I felt a bit disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, he still is the smartest kid I know (not just because he is mine, hehe). And his grades in school are perfect. I felt terrible for feeling the way I did. Then I stumbled upon a subtopic in Dan Ariely’s book, The Upside of Irrationality, that cleared things up for me.
What Mr. Ariely describes in Understanding Overvaluation is that most parents think very highly of their children, so much so that they do not realize that other people do not see them in the same way as they do.
Think about it, those who have children. You can go on and on about them showing pictures to anyone who cares to stop, look and listen, but lose interest or struggle to listen immediately the other person starts to share about their kids.
The author further writes that, in reality, he suspects that very few people are either wholly unaware or aware of their children’s gifts and faults. This translates to that, not only do most parents think their children are the best thing on earth, but that they think other people think so, too.
This tendency by the way does not just manifest in how we view our children. Naturally we view anything we create like this, the IKEA Effect.
In my unsolicited opinion, I feel it is good to be aware of our overvaluation so we are able for instance to discipline our kids when they err instead of defending them. It also makes as not make unrealistic demands of them since we understand their capabilities. And in understanding their capabilities, we are also able to nudge them when they are slacking.