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Attitude Makeover: Selfish

Begin with the five questions below.

Why. Why does your kid have this attitude? Has she always been treated as if the world revolves around her? Has he learned that he is going to get his way if he keeps at you long enough? Have you been ignoring him because his selfish attitude is so obnoxious or embarrassing? What do you think is the root cause in the way your family works or doesn't work that motivates this selfishness? Are you neglecting your child or being too judgmental or demanding? Might he be craving your love and approval? Or have you put so much time and energy into just this little person that he thinks the whole world revolves only around him? What is fueling this attitude, and why do you suppose your kid continues using it?

What. Are there particular issues or things he is more selfish over? Is this about wanting stuff, wanting his way, needing more attention, feeling he "deserves" it, being jealous or resentful of siblings?

Who. Does he display the same selfish behavior to everyone or just some individuals? For instance, is he this way only with his siblings or younger kids, his friends or peers, certain relatives, or Dad or Mom? Are there some folks he does not use his selfish ways on? If so, who are they? Why are they spared?

When. Is there a particular time of day, week, or month he is more demanding? Is there a reason? Is it around the holidays? Back to school? Summer? Vacations? Birthday? Report card time? Are you seeing any pattern of when your kid is most selfish, or does he display the same attitude all the time?

Where. Are there certain places he is more likely to be selfish? How does he act when he goes shopping with you? What about at a restaurant, the movies, day care or school, or a certain relative's? If you notice that he is selfish in some place more than others, why? What is so different about the location that triggers the attitude?

Now take a look at your answers. Are you seeing any predictable patterns? Do you have any better understanding of your kid's selfish attitude and where it's coming from?

What's Wrong With Your Current Response?
Talk to your friends. Are they seeing the same kinds of selfish behaviors in their kids? What are they doing (if anything) to halt their kids' selfishness? Are there individuals your child is not selfish around? What responses are they using that is causing your kid not to try his antics with them?

Try to identify the last incident when your kid was selfish. Did you give in and buy what she wanted? Lecture her? Set a consequence? Ignore the attitude? Is this how you typically react to your kid's selfish streak? And how did your kid react to your response?

Write down the one thing you will never do again.

I will not


From Don't Give Me That Attitude by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2004 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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