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February 19, 2015

How to Create Self-Centered Children (3 Easy Steps)

How to Create Self-Centered Children (3 Easy Steps).

Self-Centered Children

Step #1: Set Unrealistic Expectations

Create a sense of entitlement by giving them everything they want.
A few examples of what this looks like for us:
We do not create Christmas lists or set up gift registries for birthdays.
Our children do not receive an allowance.
When the kids go to Target with us...they don't always leave with a new toy.
You may chose to handle these situations in a different way that promotes positive traits in your children, but these are just a few personal decisions that we have made for our family life. 
I love Becky Kopitzke's thoughts on teaching children all about stewardship.

Outsource all family chores to where children are never involved in home management.
Our little ones are regularly involved in household chores - For example, I do not clean up their toys...they do. If you would like to read a little bit more about what this looks like in our house, check out
Chores for Pre-schoolers: Practical Ideas & Tips that Work.

Encourage your children to embrace popular mantras such as:
 You can do anything! 
If you believe it, it will happen! 
Everyone is a winner!
Think about it...In real life, these things simply do not hold true.
We simply can not always do everything we want to do.
We may sincerely believe something with all of our might, but that does mean it will happen.
Not everyone is a winner.

Shield your children from real life.
Children need to understand (in age-appropriate ways, of course) what is going on in the world around them. Life is messy. This world is devastatingly flawed. Evil is real and active around us. These are not things that any of us like to think about, but to ignore the fact that these realities are very much a part of this life would be unrealistic...and to paint a picture to our children that these types of harsh difficulties do not exist is doing our children a terrible disservice. 
I shared a little more of my heart on this matter in the following post: 
Why You Should've Taken Your Kids to That Funeral

Step #2: Make Your Children the Center of Your Home

Allow your children to interrupt you and your spouse when you are talking to one another. 
It is hard work to teach little ones to respect other people, but I believe that such lessons are some of the most valuable gifts we can give our children.

Never take time away from your children.
It is so easy to get busy with life, and as parents, we are most definitely focused on our children - their needs, their schedule, their academics, their extracurricular activities, but friends, you and your spouse were a family before your children joined you, and your marriage deserves some undivided attention as well. This is an area where my husband and I have to be intentional, because, happens. So, fellow mamas, I would encourage you to take some guilt-free time for yourself; and I would also challenge you to make your marriage a priority as well. Hubby and I are already planning our next get-away...not because we don't like our children (We are absolutely crazy about them!)...but because our family life is better when we have invested in each other.

In daily routines, such as mealtimebedtime, etc. let your children call the shots.
At mealtime, our kiddos eat what we do. I do not make separate meals for them. Are there things they don't like? Sure. Do they ever gobble up part of the meal - leaving the rest of it on their plate? Yes. But I love the article that I read recently that talked about how we have created a generation of picky eaters by indulging a child's tendency to only eat chicken fingers, mac & cheese, and pizza. How about offering your children the same food you and your spouse eat? (Hopefully, that is something other than chicken fingers, mac & cheese, and pizza.) If you're not so sure how this is going to work in your house...I promise you...your kids will eventually get hungry enough to eat what you put on their plate. Bad eating habits can be changed...It's totally worth the fight. 
Interested in how we do bedtime? Here's a little bit about our routine~

Always say "yes".
Have you heard of the #yesmom movement? It's out there. Please hear me...I love saying 'yes' to my children...It's fun to see their faces light up when I agree that 'Yes, we'll go to the park!', 'Sure, we'll eat at Chick-fil-a this weekend!'...but to always say 'yes'? To always agree to their every whim simply because you have committed to being a Yes Mom. What is the result of this attitude? What does life look like when the little ones become teenagers? College Students? Working Adults? When the real world doesn't always say yes to them? I find this whole idea very concerning~
It seems to me that society would greatly benefit from a few more No Moms. #nomom

Step #3: Foster a Victim Mentality
Rather than empowering your children and inspiring them toward greatness, allow them to make excuses...encourage them to blame others for their difficulties...strategically model how to force unrealistic demands on others. Whether it be a learning disability, a food allergy, a physical challenge. etc. that your child faces, you have great influence over their perspective and their ability to navigate life. 

I have crossed paths with so many amazing parents! It has been especially inspiring to learn from parents of children who have special needs - parents who have committed to doing everything possible to empower their children to reach their full potential - to accomplish far more than others may think is possible. I consider these parents (and their children) heroes in every sense of the word.

End Note:
What opportunities do you have for providing your children with outlets for service? 
Homeless shelters? Hospice Facilities? Crisis Pregnancy Centers? Political Involvement?
Community Projects? Church Outreach Programs?
By participating in various outreach opportunities, children begin to see a bigger picture...They learn to look beyond themselves...They are challenged in the natural selfishness with which we all struggle...Their lives will be different because they gained perspective that only comes from getting a their hands a little "dirty" with real life struggles.

Why You Should've Taken Your Kids to That Funeral

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