"I want it NOW"

When you ask your child to do something, do they say "No"?
Do they always expect to get their way?
Does your child have a case of the gimmies?
Is your child unappreciative?
Does your child expect special favors.?
Do you often hear "I want" and "Now"?

If your child exhibits any of the above behaviors, you want to double check that they are not falling into the spoiled trap.
All kids will exhibit selfish spoiled behavior, unless as parents we step in and help them recognize that other people have needs and that the world doesn't revolve around them.

The first thing you want to do is try and figure out why your child has a selfish attitude. Here are some common reasons.

  • Your child is jealous of a sibling or your spouse and is looking to feel loved and get attention.
  • You or other family members demonstrate selfish behaviors.
  • You feel guilty for whatever reason and so you satisfy the guilt by spoiling your child. Lots of times this happens in families where both parents work. They feel bad because they are not home with their kids so they "give them things" to make up for it.
  • All the families around you have lots of "stuff" and your kids want it to. Keeping up with the Jones'.
  • They are an only child. 
  • You want them to have everything you didn't have. My husband fights against this one. He didn't grow up with a lot. I remember when our son was a year old and he wanted to buy him one of those motorized jeeps that you drive around the neighborhood. I asked him why and he said "I always wanted one of these as a kid, but couldn't have one. I want to give our kids all the things I couldn't have." He doesn't feel this way anymore. :)
  • Your family doesn't worry about money so you spend freely.
  • There is little discipline in the home.
  • There are family problems in the home and to make up for them (enter guilt), kids get whatever they want.
  • Your child has never been taught about selfishness. 
Think about what has brought about the selfish behavior. Try your best to pinpoint the problem. Once you have, start to implement a solution so the behavior doesn't get any worse. Some things you can do. 

Be an example of selflessness.
As parents, our example is the best way to teach our children. Children for the most part will do what their parents do. We need to teach our kids how to be selfless by serving others and being kind ourselves. Explain to your kids how it feels to help others and serve. Explain how happy it makes you and how it makes the person you serve feel. The words you say, coupled with actions will teach great lessons. If we are always saying "I am too busy to help", or "they can do that themselves", our kids will pick up on that. 

Monitor Television and Movies.
Think about the shows on T.V. and the commercials. Commercials are the worst. They are constantly promoting the newest fashion and the latest trend. One Saturday of morning cartoons and I am inundated by my kids and their "wants" for weeks. The newest this and the newest that. The shows on T.V. put ideas into kids heads. It teaches them that to be happy they have to have "stuff." When my kids start to get a case of the "gimmies", I know that it is time to turn the T.V. off for a while. I also know that I need to start saying "No". Limit T.V. in the first place and avoid the problem. 

Set limits.
Enforce those limits. When you say "No", you have to mean "No". Don't let a temper tantrum change your mind. 

"How would you feel..."
Ask your children how they would feel if....? Teach them to think about how others feel. This will help them think less about themselves and more about others.  

Praise for the right reasons.
Build your children up. Help them see that what lies inside is more important than what they wear on the outside. Don't compare your child's appearance with others. . Praise them for their hard work and good manners, not so much for their cute shirt and new shoes. 

Tomorrow we will talk about what to do if your child is past the point of no return, and how to establish a house of selflessness.


Family Volley 


  1. We love the Berenstein Bears in our house. We have most of them, some left from when I was young. The Gimmies is one of our favorites as is Junk Food!

  2. Thanks for all the great tips. Can't wait for the rest.

  3. Jumpin J's, a lot of ours come from my childhood also. Love them. They have helped reinforce a lot of situations. A few months ago I leant the "Berenstain Bears Go to School" to a friend of mine. Her 5 year old refused to go to Kindergarten. They read the book a few times and a week later he was back in class and never looked back. She went out a bought every Berenstain Bears book she could get her hands on. Haha.

    Andrea, glad they are helpful. To try and not make the post to long I decided to write it in two parts. Tomorrow, getting the grandparents on board. Yikes, touchy subject.

  4. I had this problem with my oldest when my second child was born, and I have to say that the 'How would you feel.. .' technique worked wonders!

  5. Amanda, that is so great to hear. We use that technique in our home all the time too. It does work wonders.

  6. I have so many Berenstain Bears books with my maiden name written in my 7 year old handwriting in the front cover. My sons loves them! Learn about Strangers is a favorite of mine because that is a hard topic to discuss with kids without scaring them.

  7. Just found your blog and think it's great! We used Berenstain Bears books as a potty training incentive - every time they used the toilet, they received a button (large, shiny, varied), and after they had 25 buttons, they could go pick out a BB book. We literally loved those books to pieces - they're awesome.


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