Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Selfish Kids - traits of Gen-ME

Found another great article in Star newspaper pertaining to parenthood "Are you raising selfish kids?". The piece shares an advice on a pivotal concern whereby the Gen Y & Gen Z or more commonly known as Gen Me are being molded to become selfish. I don’t think any parents intend to inculcate such negative value in their children but sometimes parents exude the tenet unconsciously. 

My daughter is only 1 year old but she is starting to exhibit unfavorable manner where she would give me those crocodile tears and tantrums in the event of dissatisfaction. Sometimes she does get on my nerves with her refusal to obey my disapproval or her ‘demand’ to have things her way. Nowadays, she would smack my face and bit me as a result of frustration when I tried to console her. Eeeeeeyyyhhh……. I really detest the thought of instilling “I will get everything I want no matter what” in my daughter. Hence, readings and references are my best savior right now……… 

Ok, back to the article, as usual do get the full length of information from here. I am only interested to share the gist of the article as I find it to be aptly newsworthy. From what I decipher, the root cause of this behavior comes from parents who over indulge their children with materialistic possessions or luxuries entitlement up to a point where children cannot differentiate between “wants” and “needs”. Well, I kinda concur with that. 

The article recommends several guidelines in forming a child who cares for the world beyond oneself:-

1. Be firm with boundaries – do not bend the rules w/o any good reasons
Set some rulings; If one child exceeds the stipulated time of watching his favorite show / playing a game allocated today, thus he will have lesser time tomorrow to instill the importance of sharing and compromising. Another example is a parent can  buy a good pair of shoes but if the child insist on a branded pair, say no and ask him to save up for it. 

This reminds me of another article I obtained from Parenthots titled “Are you raising abrand-conscious child?”

2. Role models
Parents lead by example. Be mindful to express kindness, generosity and importance of speaking the truth especially to our spouse. Synonymously, tell them inspirational stories of our prophet Nabi Muhammad SAW as an epitome of kindness and tolerance.

3. Pay attention to the root cause

Selfishness is deriving from jealousy and ignorance especially among siblings. Sibling’s rivalry is a very common trait as a result of favoritism. By understanding this, we tend to deter selfishness from them.

4. Build confidence
A confident child feels secure and tends to become more open to others.

5. Nurture empathy
Children are capable of understanding feelings. All you have to do is invite them to feel how you feel or how to be empathetic towards others. Stimulate their thoughts by asking, “What would you do if you were her?” or “Would you like it if someone did the same to you?”

6. Encourage sharing

Children will develop new habits when they are encouraged. Encouraging children to share will reduce their fear of scarcity. Assure them that they will have enough, so that they are willing to share their belongings.

7. Teach gratitude
Children who learn to value things in life and not take them for granted will be less selfish. Teach them how to appreciate what they have because not everyone is as blessed. When children learn to be thankful with what they have, they will eventually forgo unnecessary demands.

8. Develop sense of responsibility
Include your children in the daily chores. Do not be afraid to break taboos like keeping financial worries to yourselves. You can explain it to your children in simple terms and ask your children what they can do to help under these circumstances. They could perhaps learn to take ownership of their spending patterns and become more considerate when they are aware of the “adult problems.” They will also think twice before asking for a new tablet PC, phone or branded clothes.

9. Emphasize process despite of outcome

Selfishness buds when your child is reluctant to share knowledge and information with his classmates because of the fear of losing to them. It is all right to be competitive but you may teach him the true value of education. When he learns how to enjoy the process, he will not be hindered by the fear of sharing. Rather, he can learn to embrace the healthy competition.

10. Understanding peers

As children socialize, they tend to learn from their peers, too. It is important to know who their friends are. There is no clear cut way to help them choose their friends but identifying friends who are generally nice and kind will ensure that they stand a better chance of learning not to be selfish. The good qualities of friends can be infectious and make a child less self-centered.

I like these paragraphs:-

This can be a little hard to digest but the painful truth is, parents are sometimes selfish, too. We may think that we want the best for our children but end up being overprotective. Some parents think that their past was very painful and do not want their children to go through the same experience, and hence spoon-feed them as much as possible. As a result, they raise kids who feel entitled to everything and deserve full attention all the time. This is how selfishness develops.

Children are definitely entitled to a healthy dose of self-importance but not self-centredness. Parents can acknowledge a child’s worthiness but at the same time educate the child that the world does not revolve around him. There is so much more to the world and life than “self.”

Do read the piece when you have the time. I find this information to be insightful and crude for parents. I reckon it is wise to be tactful rather than compromising with a stamp of selfishness.  

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