Self-esteem boost backfires?

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," January 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Is "Yes, you can" a pointless scam?

Well, for years, we've been told that high self-esteem leads to high achievement and that giving everyone a trophy creates smarter, happier kids with a lot of stupid trophies.

The problem is all those phony affirmations didn't result in a better anything. And teachers have once again begun to embrace criticism in order to whip America's brats into shape.

According to the Washington Post, growing research is found that always praising kids makes them shy away from real challenges for fear they will soil their perfect record. Meaning real success is no option when you never dare to fail. Said one researcher, quote, "We used to think we could hand children self-esteem on a platter. That has backfired."

So, what's the long-term harm to all this feel-good nonsense? Well, by encouraging kids to look internally for validation, we disconnect feeling good from doing good. Rewarding you for being you means you could be a crappy you forever. And that leads to one place -- jail.

After all, the people with the highest self-esteem are killers, because if you think you are really special, it's easier to get rid of those who aren't. Far better to instill a little self-loathing in your kids. If anything, it will be great preparation for middle age.

BECKEL: Very interesting. Well, you know --

GUTFELD: You have no shortage of self-esteem.

BECKEL: No, I don't. But I'm not a serial killer either.

Let me tell you something, it is true about serial killers. Actually, that's my hobby. I study serial killers.

TANTAROS: You have been to jail.

BECKEL: Well, I've been to jail. Yes, but I'm not as a serial killer. It did meet Ted Bundy in Florida. I did. I got a chance to interview him.

Here is the thing, like -- we talk about the serial killers or self-esteem?


BECKEL: I'm sorry.

PERINO: He said serial killers have high self-esteem.

BECKEL: I'm trying to catch up. Now, self-esteem, listen, giving trophies out to every kid for everything, whether you score or not, I mean, you get a dork kid who hits it to the wrong goal, you give him a trophy?


BECKEL: What's all that about?

My old man, when I made a mistake in football, you know what he did?


BECKEL: He took a tooth. That's why every one of them, I am missing every other one.

GUTFELD: I think that might be going a little too far.

PERINO: A little too far.

But you know what I can't stand?


PERINO: Fifth grade graduation, eighth grade graduation. And then people asking for time off from work so they can go to their kid's fifth grade or eighth grade graduation. That really irritates me.

TANTAROS: The bumper stickers.

PERINO: Presents, it's all scam.

BECKEL: My daughter graduated from fifth grade, ridiculously expensive school they go to. They had a fifth grade graduation. You know what she wanted?


BECKEL: She wanted a down payment on a new car. And she was like 12 years old.

TANTAROS: Well, bumper stickers "My child is on the honor roll at such-and-such middle school." Who cares?


PERINO: Did your son have fifth grade graduation?

BOLLING: No, not fifth grade but eighth grade. But every parent cares if your kid is on the honor roll.

GUTFELD: Yes, but then --

TANTAROS: A bumper sticker, my kid is better than your kid? C'mon!

BOLLING: Oh, I don't know.

TANTAROS: And the kid says, look, I got a bumper sticker.

BECKEL: I agree with Andrea. I never had one on my parent's car.

BOLLING: So, how do they get away with honor rolls then? If every kid has to get a trophy and they will not keep score in little league anymore which they I think --

GUTFELD: It's not an honor roll. It's a happy roll.

I want to ask you, though, what about the experts and the academics that have been pushing this crap? Shouldn't they crawl through the broken glass to apologize?

PERINO: They are with the global warming academics. And they are crawling -- their walk of shame.

BECKEL: There is a segment for you.

BOLLING: When they grow up, they become -- you know, when the kids grow up and they will become teachers. And don't forget, teachers are against any merit system. They just want everyone to make sure they stay in the union, make sure they are employed. Not like what some of the municipalities want to do. Reward teachers for better performance.

PERINO: Remember, I don't know if you ever read the story. In England, there was a school that banned musical chairs because somebody had to lose.


TANTAROS: People lose in life, though. That's the reality. This generation of there are no losers in sports, there are no losers in school, it's just ridiculous. And that's what they created the millennial generation of these kids that feel entitled to the corner office right when they come out of college.

I mean, it's true. They do need an attitude adjustment. Not all parents are like Bob's father.

BECKEL: I won at sports and lost in school. I mean, that was as simple as that. But the two may not be exclusive.

But, you know, I used to coach little league baseball team -- until I was fired. But --


TANTAROS: Why were you fired?

GUTFELD: You have to wear pants at practice. It's a small problem.

PERINO: And on "The Five."


BECKEL: Well, serious. But one of the things I refuse -- the reason I got fired is I refuse to hand out trophies to everybody on the team. My idea was to take a kid who wasn't doing that well, pull him aside and say, look, you didn't hit that ball. Here is the reason you didn't hit the ball. You know what we're going to do? We're going to spend 15, 20 minutes just you and me after practice is over and we're going to see if we can learn how to hit.

BOLLING: It's so non-liberal of you, though.

BECKEL: Well, I don't care if it's non-liberal.

PERINO: I think it's starting to change. I think it's a generational thing, though. I think that it's starting to come back. That way of thinking is starting because of the -- maybe because people read these academic studies are starting to realize, oh, now they tell us, telling your kid that you are fabulous at every turn like you drew a stick figure, so beautiful. You're like an amazing artist -- it doesn't work in the long run.

And so, people that are worried about their kids future and the America's competitiveness are I think younger parents now or parents of younger children are starting to turn. Remember the Tiger Mom?


BOLLING: Very quickly, though, I think the opposite. What has happened is that generation of that is now -- that's where we see the Occupy movement.


BOLLIN: People think I don't need to work. I deserve more. You don't deserve to make more than I do. So, I'm going to occupy this here.

TANTAROS: But I think the recession hurt a lot of those millenials because they were expecting to get jobs. A lot of my generation was getting jobs when they were in college.

A lot of them had to move home with their parents. Their parents didn't have the money to spend on them and move to a city like New York. So, they had to work at the blockbuster video and be humbled a little bit.

I think the recession was good for kids.

BECKEL: Just because you work 122 hours a week for yourself.

You know, the millenials are now the largest generation, bigger than the baby boomers. And interesting thing about them is they don't spend as much in politics as we learn through studying them, but they do more volunteer work. I don't know if there's a connection between the two of those. I don't know.

But, you know, I go back to that sports thing. When said we ought to learn to do that, if you were a good baseball player, you were a college star and a professional baseball player, I couldn't hit a curve ball. Now, if they give me a trophy for not hitting a curve ball, I might have thought I could have been where you were, you know? I mean, it's ridiculous.

BOLLING: But I'm starting to figure out how -- as liberal as you are, that, you know, I'm trying to figure that competitiveness and --

GUTFELD: Sports, it's so funny. If you applied liberalism to actual sports, liberals would go crazy because liberals like sports, too. Please don't ruin our competitive sports. What if you got rid of scoring and the Super Bowl and the World Series?


GUTFELD: What if you just played against each other?

TANTAROS: Yes, there would be no commercials.

BECKEL: Let's not suggest that all liberals are like that. I mean, I'm a liberal and I happen to think that you ought to go out and earn your spot.

TANTAROS: You are unique, Bob.

GUTFELD: I like to generalize, though, Bob, because it's easier.

BECKEL: I know you do. It's easier. Like Wall Street.

GUTFELD: All right. We got to take a break.

So, what's Kim Kardashian up to?

BECKEL: Who cares?

GUTFELD: About 5'3".

BOLLING: There's the joke.

GUTFELD: Anyway, we're going to force Bob to talk about her anyway. If you leave now I'll spray paint my name on your garage door.

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