I’ve always wondered why celebrities seem so messed up. Can’t there be one couple that stays together forever? Why do famous people have weird riders in their contracts about red M&Ms? Why the rush to serial cosmetic surgery? How come there’s so much addiction? Isn’t anyone normal?

I have a theory. It’s just a theory, but it makes sense to me. Our culture kind of worships famous people. And people weren’t actually designed to be worshipped.

Something inside of us, even inside A-list celebrities, knows it’s not normal or healthy to have millions of people hanging on every word from your last tweet. Something inside of us knows it’s not normal to have millions of people think you’re so much better than you really are. It’s incredibly unhealthy, and it drives celebrities to do some very unhealthy things. As much as there is something inside each of us that would love to be the center of the universe, there’s something wrong with that desire. We were not created to bear the weight of being worshipped.

You think we might have created a culture (without intending to) in which we’ve ending up worshipping our children? The assumption in so many families is that the child is the center of the home, and that the parents are there to serve the child and ensure his or her perpetual happiness.

You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen the parent who dotes over a child like he was an actual angel. A kind of supernatural being who can’t be criticized, is worthy of endless affirmation and who requires that adults drop what they are doing to meet every demand. It’s as though the parents are willing to inconvenience and exhaust anyone in the house except the kids.

I’ll bet you’ve seen all these scenarios (and more):

  • The parents who look bewildered because their kids won’t stop dancing on the table or who have now broken Tonka truck #8 this month. The parents often sigh something about not being able to believe they have to buy yet another coffee table (their third) or yet another truck because their children are so “active.”
  • The parents who stay up late doing homework with for their children and show up tired for work the next day. These parents rescue their kids mostly because they cant imagine their child not doing well in school.
  • The kids who get in trouble at school,l but know that mom is going to be on the phone to the vice-principal in minutes to find out why the teacher made the day difficult for her son.
  • The dads who so adore their daughter that they can’t stand up to her, constantly compromising on consequences, spending and boundaries to ‘keep the peace.’

The problem in this scenario is that the child is the center of the home.

The problem is that ultimately, child-centered parenting produces selfish children. Children who live in this environment end up being rudely awakened when they leave home only to learn the world doesn’t work that way. (This story about Harvard University made me smile and made me sad at the same time. Watch the second video.)

At it’s heart, child-centered parenting isn’t good for anyone, especially the kids. While it was never your goal to produce selfish children, you can end up doing that by mistake.

Where have you seen child-centered parenting at work?  How do you think it might have impacted your thinking on family?