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How do I raise a child so as to minimise the risk of them being selfish?

(17 Posts)
OrlandoTheCat Mon 13-Mar-17 10:25:11

We have a young DS. Both DH and I are only children and our DS will be too.
I feel that I'm not particularly selfish.
While DH is very responsible and capable and has many other great qualities (sense of humour, doesn't take himself too seriously, independent and hugely motivated to name a few), he can be very selfish.
I'm very keen that our DS doesn't grow up to be selfish. How do I best try and ensure he doesn't grow up to be selfish?

Pleasejustgetdressed Mon 13-Mar-17 10:31:41

What do you mean by selfish?

misscph1973 Mon 13-Mar-17 10:42:38

I guess you model non-selfish behaviour and praise him him when he is non-selfish. Also point out non-selfish behaviour.

But of course you DS will be heavily influenced by your DH as he is his primary male role model.

For your own sake, I suggest you try to focus on the good qualities that your DH and your DS posses. As you can't really mold your children like playdough, they have their own personalities.

seafoodeatit Mon 13-Mar-17 10:48:34

Being an only child won't make them selfish, you can try to instill empathy and understanding so that they understand why we share and why it's a good thing.

SuperRainbows Mon 13-Mar-17 10:54:16

I agree with modelling kind and caring actions, both in the home and out and about.

From a young age, I would prompt the dcs to help people e.g. with doors and bags. They now do it without being promoted, which I love to see.

OrlandoTheCat Mon 13-Mar-17 11:03:40

Pleasejustgetdressed I mean doing what he wants to do regardless of how it might make those closest to him feel...for instance, if he wants space, he makes sure he gets space. If he wants a holiday, he makes sure he gets a holiday.
We have come a long way in terms of him realising that there is a cost to other people of his actions and he does try to mitigate this (e.g. by getting in help for me or saying that I should go on my own holidays for example).
And he's not selfish in the sense that he uses money we don't have for prioritising what he wants. He is very responsible with money.

OrlandoTheCat Mon 13-Mar-17 11:05:41

Sorry, that wasn't very clear. I meant he's not selfish by, for example, using money we don't have for prioritising what he wants....
(Fortunately?), we have the money that allows him to do these things without any negative impact on the family's resources.

anametouse Mon 13-Mar-17 11:09:00

Sorry he's selfish because he's selfish, not cos he's an only child

OrlandoTheCat Mon 13-Mar-17 11:14:46

yes, I agree anametouse. Otherwise I (as an only child myself) would also de facto be selfish.
I just wonder if being an only child can - if not managed correctly - more readily entrench selfish traits that were already a part of a person's personality?

anametouse Mon 13-Mar-17 13:49:17

I don't think so Orlando, I agree with others on modelling your kind behaviour and he will be fine. I also only have one DS and never worry he will turn out selfish

nonameinspiration Mon 13-Mar-17 13:56:23

You can only model and encourage nice behaviour. At that age it's easier to start with sharing. Dd1 we had a rule for when she was about 3 that she could take a tub of sweets out with her on the condition they were offered to other children first and not kept to herself. If she couldn't share they were removed.
Also you can use situations to talk about other people's feelings. I won't let dds take a toy someone has abandoned in a cafe or whatever even if it's junk from a kinder egg because 'that child might be looking for it and feel really sad they can't find it'. I have done similar when dds toys have been handed in and retrieved 'that person was worried you would be upset about losing rabbit so they did all they could do you would find it'. All this stuff is teaching emotional literacy both for the child and others.

Crumbs1 Mon 13-Mar-17 14:00:39

By example - cook for elderly neighbours, pick up litter you see, offer to help total strangers, get them to hold doors open, to say please and thank you. Get them to make up shoeboxes for Christmas. Make sure they help around the house. Teach them morality. Talk to them about the news from a young age. Let them give their old toys to charity shops. Discuss how their actions make others feel (good and bad). Teach them to smile at people.

OrlandoTheCat Mon 13-Mar-17 14:43:59

Thanks. All good tips. For any parent! I just don't trust myself to have the imagination to think of these myriad ways I can teach my DS (only just turned 2) how to be more thoughtful / considerate.
At the moment, I sometimes see his more egotistical behaviours/conduct (which I must remind myself are normal for his age), and worry...

Crumbs1 Mon 13-Mar-17 21:13:18

Yes two year olds are designed to be ego centric- it's a survival skill.

nonameinspiration Mon 13-Mar-17 22:15:06

And don't freak out if he doesn't display empathy - that's a really developed emotional concept and not to be expected with a two year old

jessplussomeonenew Tue 14-Mar-17 20:04:02

Some great tips here:

Trb17 Tue 14-Mar-17 20:23:37

Only children aren't automatically selfish. I'm one and I occasionally consider myself a mug for putting everyone else first! 2yo's are often selfish but that's normal at that age as they're only learning. DH is one of five siblings and he's often selfish (until I remind him he's doing it) grin

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