Help! My Child is getting more and more Selfish

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In a self-centered world of today, we often mistake selfishness with being self-reliant and dignified. You may tell your child to not take anyone’s ill-treatment but this may also confuse them to be completely self-indulgent and insensitive towards another’s emotions. Because many a times, kids become so enmeshed in their own desires that they forget to come out of their comfort zones.

And this is where parents face the challenge- how to teach kids to not to become mean, disrespectful and materialistic in an attempt to achieve everything that they want.

Here’s how you can help your kid control selfishness:

Step 1: Seek the root cause

There are some unseen reasons which may not appear apparent to us parents because we think pampering our children and protecting them from facing any harm is our priority. But it’s important to realize that this may end up spoiling our kids, thereby, making them self-centered.

how to help your child not become selfish- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Find out if any of these situations apply to you:

  • Letting your kid have whatever he/ she wants to make up for your own reasons (guilt, compensation, avoidance and majorly- out of “love”)
  • Not considering discipline and putting restrictions and limits as a high priority and letting certain scenarios go, even if your instinct stops you to (simply because you think it’s just about your innocent child who isn’t as wise and mature as adults)
  • Covering up for your child’s mistakes (either by you or an adult family member that shouldn’t be ignored)
  • If your kid is feeling left out, unheard and lonely
  • Noticing your kid is jealous of a partner or sibling
  • Identifying your child has poor emotional intelligence and faces difficulties in understanding other people’s emotions
  • If your child is mostly angry, anxious, or depressed that makes it difficult for him to think of others

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Step 2: Control Selfishness

If your child is used to having his/ her every demand fulfilled, it’s time to put a stop for the things that you know, will not be of any good use. Begin by clearly stating your expectations to change your child’s selfish behavior. For example, tell him/ her to always be considerate of others. Maintain a stern tone every time your child acts selfishly and reason out your disapproval. Be sure to state why their behavior was wrong, and if the selfish attitude continues, consider enacting on consequences that should be told to the kids beforehand.

Address the selfish acts by asking, “Will you be able to take what you did?” or “Keeping every game/ toy to yourself and not sharing is a bad habit. It’s selfish.”

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Step 3: Infuse Empathy to replace Selfishness

Kids who are empathic can see where other people are coming from because they can put themselves in their shoes and feel how they feel. And this very emotion of being able to “feel with” someone else makes them more generous, unselfish, and caring.

Point out others’ emotions. Let your child notice other people’s facial expressions, posture, and mannerisms in different emotional states as well as their predicaments. This will help kids tune into other people’s feelings, which will make them behave accordingly as per the different situations. Talking to your child, like, “Did you notice Mayra’s face when you were playing today? I asked because she seemed sad about something. Why don’t you talk to her to see if she’s okay?”

Questions like these may help your children begin becoming compassionate about others too:

Parent: “Mom’s had a long day at office. How do you think she feels?”

Child: “Kind of tired.”

Parent: “So what could you do to make her feel better?”

Child: “I guess I could turn down my video game, so it’s not so loud.”

selfish kids can be improved- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Step 4: Start enforcing Limits

One reason kids become selfish is because they are used to getting their way. Be consistent in telling them what’s acceptable and what’s not and be consistent here. Don’t give in to your child’s whining, sad expressions, tantrums, and guilt-laced reprimands. And don’t fall for their emotional blackmail when they even end up telling you, bursting into tears, “You’re the worst parent in the world!”. Be strong and see yourself as the adult, while never forgetting that many child development experts even conclude that kids whose parents set clear behavior expectations turned out to be less selfish. If required, you may also need to have a serious talk with other caregivers in your kids’ life who are guilty of overindulging and letting your child do whatever he/ she wants. Let such people know that their cooperation is needed for the child’s good.

Step 5: Reinforce Selflessness

Keep working towards raising selfless children and ensure they’re well-aware of the rights, feelings, and needs of others, while helping them keep a balance between achieving their own dreams and not letting anyone walk all over them.

Of course, the easiest way to increase selflessness is by addressing your kid while he’s practically found doing/ saying something mean and hurtful. Always remember to describe the selfish deed so that he clearly reflects upon what went wrong and let the child find out the alternative ways himself. Doing so will also help your kid repeat the same generous act another time.

get your child out of the selfish mode- Parenting resources by ZenParent

At the end of the day, if we can teach our kids not to take things for granted and understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them alone, our job is done!

Image source: via Google Images

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