Does ‘The Giving Tree’ Give Off A Bad Message To Parents and Their Children?

Bridge Street

Experts say there is a big difference between selflessness and generosity and a recent article in the New York Times suggests that sometimes even some of the greatest stories we grew up with, aren’t always as they seem.

Dr. Tanya Pellettiere says that the article detailing how ‘The Giving Tree’ actually could foster selfishness and entitlement gave her pause.

“To think of the ‘Giving Tree’ as a recipe for how to raise a spoiled child threw me for a loop a little bit,” says Pellettiere.

But she also adds that there is a big difference between being generous and self sacrifice. She calls generosity, giving because you want to, and self sacrifice, giving without reciprocity.

“Our modeling as parents is super important, and unfortunately we overdo for our children,” she says.

Dr. Pelletiere thinks that the underlying message for parents is to stress the importance of not dropping everything for your children. She says that there needs to be an expectation of something in return, and modeling that healthy balance is the best thing we can do.

When talking about ‘The Giving Tree,’ parents should talk to their children about what could the boy have done better she says.

To learn more about how Dr. Tanya Pellettiere can help you and your family visit

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