When I first met the kid he was kinda' soft and spoiled.
But I don't play with children.
The kid's mom was proud of her son and she felt that his little award shrine was just as good as any other child's.
"Man, these aren't real trophies these are participation trophies and medals. You didn't earn these.", I said to the kid (hurting his feelings).
The thing is, after this conversation the kid joined me in the gym. We'd go for nighttime runs or play tennis or basketball.
I'd check his homework and have him revise any mistakes.
He'd watch the news, ESPN the History Channel and whatever else I was watching and he'd comment or ask questions.
When he doubted himself or didn't know how to do something, I'd just say, 'That's alright, we'll just have to work on it and practice. You'll get it.".
When he was getting picked on at school I bought a heavy punching bag and gloves and we'd workout. (He ended up going to the kid's house and beating his bully in a straight up fight.)
And on and on...
After a few years the kid made the honor roll, played football (Receiving his first bone crushing blow leaving him in tears. 'You're alright. You're not dead or injured. Now you won't be afraid to hit or be hit.' I said as his mom waited to baby him.)
The kid made the AAU basketball team and he's starting on his high school team.
'Your job isn't to make my life easier, your job is to make me better.', he repeats back to me when things get hard. (And the thing is, the kid believes this. He believes in this.)
The kid now has a shelf full of EARNED awards, of which he is very proud.
The kid did the work and made the sacrifices and he doesn't feel in the least entitled.
As far as this new generation of kids who are worried about getting their feelings hurt? Effum. As long as I'm around a kid he will not be concerned with trivial offences - he'll be too busy trying to do and be better.