Home > Kids > Behavior and Discipline > Behavioral Problems > Attitude Makeover: Selfish

Attitude Makeover: Selfish

Facing Your Own Bad Attitudes
Think about when you grew up. Do you think your childhood friends were as selfish as the generation of kids today? What might be contributing to the rise of selfishness? How are you contributing to it?

Kids are not born selfish and inconsiderate, so where is your kid learning the attitude? Could it be from your behavior? How well are you modeling selflessness to your kid? Is your example teaching her to be selfless and giving or greedy, self-centered, and inconsiderate? Are you ever accused of being selfish? Why? Which do you feel is more important: what you have or who you are? How would your kid answer that question about you?

What about your own parenting? Is there anything you might be doing to exacerbate your kid's selfishness? Here are some issues to consider: Are you compensating for a lack of material or emotional generosity you experienced in childhood? Are you lax on limits because you want your kid to like you? Do you indulge your kid's whims hoping it might improve your relationship? Do you give in to your kid's cries, whines, pouts, demands (or whatever antics used) because it's just "easier"? Do you sometimes feel guilty for not spending enough time with your kids so you buy them things to alleviate your guilt?

How important to you are the virtues of selflessness and charity? Do you share those beliefs in your walk and talk to your kids? How much emphasis is placed on philanthropy and giving in your family? Would your kids agree with your verdict?

What is the first step you need to take to fight selfishness in yourself as an example to your sons or daughters? Write down changes you need to make.

I will

The "Don't Give Me That Attitude" Makeover
To eliminate your kid's selfish ways, take the following steps.

Step 1. Go Beneath The Surface
Here are some common and less apparent reasons that may be contributing to your child's selfish attitude. Check off the ones that apply to you:

You're spoiling the kid for bad reasons of your own (for example, guilt, compensation, avoidance, "love").

You don't treat discipline and setting limits as a high priority in your parenting.

You or another adult member of your family is modeling selfishness.

Your kid is feeling neglected.

Your kid is jealous of a partner or sibling.

Your kid resents how much you indulge yourself with luxuries and privileges.

Your child has never been taught the value of selflessness.

Your child has poor emotional intelligence and has difficulties identifying or understanding other people's emotions.

Your child is angry, anxious, or depressed or having some other problem that makes it difficult for him to think of others.


Review this list carefully, pick out the ones that most apply to your family, and start focusing on each problem with the appropriate steps below or elsewhere in this book.

Next: Take action >>

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.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

easter fun
& crafts

Egg-cellent ideas
for tons of
Easter fun.



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.