Teaching Selflessness

Selfish kids and selflessnessThere’s nothing worse than a selfish child, screaming and shouting until he gets his own way and refusing to share what he has. He certainly doesn’t gain the favour of other children, nor any adults. Yet the truth of the matter is that it’s actually his parents, and not the child, who need to be chastised for his behaviour.

It is up to the parents to set the boundaries, to determine the limits, and to enforce acceptable behaviour patterns for their child. For difficult children, parents need to pull in the reigns a tad tighter.

It is true that children are born pure, with a natural caring and loving nature. But these traits need to be nurtured before bad habits creep in. Selfish children are not likeable and not enjoyed by others.


Tired and lazy parents

Mostly, selfish children are used to getting what they want from tired parents who are simply too lazy to parent in a healthy way. Little do these parents realise that they are simply creating a load for their own backs and destroying their child’s personality and coping skills in the process. This will undoubtedly lead to interaction problems as they grow into adulthood. Sometimes more serious consequences can even develop.

Spoiling a child is the first step to creating a selfish member of the Brat Brigade. A spoilt child is not the answer to anything. Trying to give your child anything and everything he wants in material ways and in other aspects because you don’t want him to -suffer , perhaps as you did during an unfortunate childhood, is only going to cause him untold damage because what he will learn from this is that he can, and must, have everything he desires.


Hard work is what good parenting is about

Good parenting demands hard work, but it is hard work born from love that is the ultimate factor in being a kind and loving parent. If you have the financial means then it is wonderful to provide the best for your son or daughter, as long as you instill virtues along with that.

Teach your child the joy of giving. He will learn this by seeing you give selflessly to others from material ways to your love and your time. He will see the gratitude of recipients and the happiness it brings them.

It’s never too early in a child’s life for him to learn to share with those less fortunate. Encourage him to spend time playing with another child who has no friends or a youngster with fewer, or less fancy toys than him. He needs to be with you and understand the process when you donate the clothes he has outgrown to the less fortunate. Toys he has outgrown are a match for this too. But – be careful he doesn’t give what is old and worn out in order to cause insult to a child less fortunate than he. You have to be careful not to encourage feelings of superiority in him over others.


Learn like sponges

Children learn like sponges, watching our every response, listening to the tone of our voices, hearing the words we speak. We don’t give them enough credit for just how perceptive they really are in this regard!

They are even liable to pick up our habits and behaviours, so it is vital we feed them positive input.

Author and educator, Michele Borba, agrees that selflessness needs to be rewarded. Children naturally want to please, so the more encouragement and acknowledgement we give them for positive behaviours, the better.

When your child acts in a selfless manner, snap up the opportunity to praise him, to really make a song and dance about it and explain to him why his actions were so important to you or to the other person.

When you do this, you are bound to see a new kind of little smile on his face and a lovely twinkle in his eye. It’s the smile and the twinkle of the joy of sharing…

 – Bev


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