Parenting Solutions: Selfish and Spoiled (page 4)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 31, 2010

What To Expect By Stages And Ages

Preschooler   Kids this age will be a bit self-centered and egocentric. They need reminders to wait their turn, share their toys, and think about others. Your goal is to stretch them to consider others' needs and feelings.

School Age   Competitiveness gears up, which can make kids more one sided in their thinking and inconsiderate of their class- or teammates' feelings. Use competitions and team activities as opportunities to help your child be less selfish. Watch for a materialistic need always to be "one up" on another friend.

Tween   Self-centeredness and the need to "fit in" peaks during these ages. Watch out for put-downs, vicious gossip, and verbal bullying (especially among girls), which are usually rampant with tweens. Call your kid on any callous actions so that she considers the other girls' feelings.

One Parent's Answer

A mom from Toronto shares:

My husband and I always volunteered in our community, but my son was always too busy. It was when I saw a selfish side of him that I decided to drop his violin lessons so he could work with me at the homeless shelter each week. He hated it at first, but I insisted that he had to start giving back. When he began playing games with the kids, within weeks his selfishness was gone—all because he was required to think of somebody besides himself.

One Simple Solution

Play the "Step into My Shoes" Game

Research proves that a great way to stretch your child from always thinking "me-me-me" is to have him actually stand in another person's shoes. You can start with your own shoes or that of an older or younger sibling. Your child literally acts out the situation from the other perspective. "How do I feel? What would I say? What would I want to have happen instead of what did?" The trick is to help your kid switch roles so that he starts thinking about others instead of always himself.

One Simple Solution

Let's face it, deprogramming a selfish, spoiled kid is tough work, but it needs to be done. If you find your resolve waning a bit, answer this simple question: "How would you or others honestly describe your child's typical behavior?" If most terms are derogatory (such as rude, demanding, self-centered, obnoxious, impulsive, bossy, materialistic, selfish, only thinks of himself), reenergize your commitment to change your kid's current ways.

More Helpful Advice

Don't Give Me That Attitude! 24 Rude, Selfish, Insensitive Things Kids Do and How to Stop Them, by Michele Borbae Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children, by Robert Shaw

Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age, by Dan Kindlon

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