Anonymous asks:

How can we help our pre-teen be less self-centered or less focused on self when it's others' time for attention?

When we buy gifts for our daughter's friends or cousins, or compliment their achievements, our pre-teen daughter's initial response is often, "What about me? Where's my gift? How come you didn't buy that for me? When are you going to buy that for me? Promise you'll buy that for me!", or "What about me? Aren't you proud of me?"

It's very disappointing when this happens, and even worrisome, as her grandmother still often behaves this way in her mid-'50s (to the dismay of many who know her, including relatives!) and we don't want our daughter to be the same way when she grows up.

What can we (her parents) do to help her get over this self-centeredness, so she doesn't think that rewarding or complimenting someone else is somehow taking attention or rewards away from her (or that we have to match the gifts and compliments for others to gifts and compliments for her)? Is there anything we can do to ensure that this is just a phase that she'll outgrow?
In Topics: My child's growth and development, Parenting / Our Family, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Wayne Yankus
Mar 4, 2010
Subscribe to Expert

What the Expert Says:

Explain that a gift given to some one is a joy as much as it is to receive one.  Each one is given for a reason and compensation is not part of the process.  Don't use grandma as an example, it will give her more ammunition.  Give dates when she could expect gifts such as birthdays.  Help her select gifts for friends and get her into the process of giving.  Help her pick a charity she can follow and learn about other kinds of gifts. Remind her of your love and attention as I am sure you do, but we learn to share love and attention.  I hope this helps.  She is of a generation that needs reinforcement to the concept of disappointment.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

Did you find this answer useful?
Answer this question


You are about to choose ${username}'s answer as the best answer.

Cancel | Continue

*You can change the best answer in the future if you think that you received a better answer

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely