I completely agree with you! And I have 3 men and 1 woman I'm raising right now. I want my children to know that they have to work hard to be recognized for whatever it is they've done.
I admit, my children are spoiled in that they have more than I did growing up. I tell them they're special. But at the same time I also tell them that they have to earn respect and recognition.
For example, with the game Jay invented for the inventor's convention, I knew it wasn't all that great. But he did his best. He did win Honorable Mention because it was unique and wasn't a variation from another game. I knew he'd be upset for not winning an award. But I told him he needed to work harder next year.
Jimmy told me I was being too harsh for telling him that although I loved his project and it was fun for us to play, that he probably wouldn't win. I argued that it was realistic to prepare him for failure so that he would work harder the next time.
I hate "labels." Jay was diagnosed with ADHD. Yes he's hyper and yes he has some trouble paying attention to things that don't interest him. But I refuse to let him use that as an excuse for anything. I feel I'm harder on him than my other kids because I know how smart he is, and I know that even though he hates English and History, that he knows the material. He just doesn't care and tries to say it's the ADHD. No, son, it's not. He does well on all the tests. So I know he's learning something.
The same goes for when one of my kids comes home saying so and so made fun of them and said whatever. I want to teach them that it doesn't matter what others say. They know it's not true. So why let the other kid get to them? No, they're not always going to be the best. The smartest. Most creative. Or whatever. They have to learn that for themselves. I try, as their mother to prepare them for the worst, while hoping for the best. Does that make me a negative person? I've been told so. I've been told I'm ruining their self-esteem. I just want them to be prepared and work harder for the best.