Does America have a self-esteem problem?

I've recently been studying about Americans and our focus on raising our children centered around their self-esteem. From what I've learned is instead of creating children with true self-esteem, our country has created a generation of children who, for all the appearances of high self-esteem, actually have little regard for themselves (because they have little on which to base their self-esteem). This started back in the 70s when the "self-esteem movement" started, a bunch of parenting experts said that raising well-adjusted children is all about self-esteem. 
Schools and communities accepted this misguided attempt at building self-esteem by "protecting" children from failure and feeling bad about themselves. For example, school grading systems were changed. I remember between sixth and seventh grade, my middle school replaced F for failure with NI (Needs Improvement); god forbid I'd feel bad about myself for failing at something! Youth sports made the same mistake. They eliminated scoring, winners, and losers in the belief that losing would hurt children's self-esteem. Unfortunately, life has a way of providing a reality check and children learned the hard way that they weren't as fabulous as their parents told them. 
The result: lower self-esteem and children who were self-centered and spoiled. What do you think? Has America gone too far? 

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