(Part 2 is at the bottom of the post. Watch them with your kids)
Is your child unappreciative?
Do you often hear “I want” and “Now”?
When you ask your child to do something, do they say “No”?
Do they always expect to get their way?
At one time or another, all of our children get a case of the “gimmies”? If you have any of this behavior going on in your house, selfishness might be setting in. All kids will demonstrate selfish spoiled behavior, unless as parents we step in. We have to help our kids realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that other people have needs too.
Take a minute and see if you can pinpoint why your child is being selfish. This will require some soul searching. We very easily could be causing, or at least perpetuating the selfishness.
- You or other family members demonstrate selfish behaviors.
- Your child is jealous of a sibling or your spouse and is looking to feel loved and get attention.
- They are an only child.
- All the families around you have lots of “stuff” and your kids want it to. Keeping up with the Jones’.
- You feel guilty for whatever reason and so you satisfy the guilt by spoiling your child. Lots of times this happens in families where both parents work. They feel bad because they are not home with their kids so they “give them things” to make up for it.
- You want them to have everything you didn’t have. My husband struggles with this one. When our son was a year old, he wanted to buy him one of those motorized jeeps that kids can drive through the neighborhoods. I asked him why and he said ” I want to give our kids all the things I couldn’t have.” I always wanted one of those as a kid, but couldn’t have one.”
- Your family doesn’t worry about money so you spend it freely.
- Your child has never been taught about selfishness.
- There are family problems in the home and to make up for them (enter guilt), kids get whatever they want.
- There is not a lot of discipline in the home.
- Monitor Television and Movies. Think about the shows on T.V. and the commercials. Commercials are the worst. They are constantly promoting the newest fashion and the latest trend. One Saturday of morning cartoons and I am inundated by my kids and their “wants” for weeks. The newest this and the newest that. The shows on T.V. put ideas into kids heads. It teaches them that to be happy they have to have “stuff.” When my kids start to get a case of the “gimmies”, I know that it is time to turn the T.V. off for a while. I also know that I need to start saying “No”. Limit T.V. in the first place and avoid the problem.
- Be an example of selflessness. As parents, our example is the best way to teach our children. Children for the most part will do what their parents do. We need to teach our kids how to be selfless by serving others and being kind ourselves. Explain to your kids how it feels to help others and serve. Explain how happy it makes you and how it makes the person you serve feel. The words you say, coupled with actions will teach great lessons. If we are always saying “I am too busy to help”, or “they can do that themselves”, our kids will pick up on that.
- Praise for the right reasons. Build your children up. Praise them for their good manners and hard work, not their new shoes and cute shirt. Help them understand that what lies inside is more important than what they wear on the outside. Don’t compare your child’s appearance with others.
- “How would you feel…” Ask your children how they would feel if….? Teach them to think about how others feel. This will help them think less about themselves and more about others.
- Set limits. Enforce those limits. When you say “No”, you have to mean “No”. Don’t let a temper tantrum change your mind.
P.S. We love Berenstain Bear books in our house. If you need a good one about selfishness to read to your kids. It doesn’t get better than “Get the Gimmies”.