Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Works For Me Wedneday: Backwards edition

Every week, Shannon at Rocksinmydryer hosts Works for Me Wednesday. Usually, you post a tip on your blog of something that "works for you". It can be about literally anything. Every so often, she hosts the backwards edition, where you post a question instead of advice. Either way, the regular or backward edition, there is a lot of good information out there (if you have the time to read them). I usually just skim the titles and only read the ones of major interest. Check them out if you'd like.

Anyway, with that being said. I actually do have a question for all the readers out there. Brace yourself, this is on parenting.

My Question Is: What tips might ya'll have dealing with a spirit of selfishness in your children? My 5 year old son is struggling with this issue right now.....and before you all tell me that that's just him being a kid, I realize that. I know all kids deal with selfishness to some extent or another, and I don't think my little man is any worse than the rest. But, I want more. I don't want to explain it away, I want to proactively address it.

Here's what we've done so far:

We've participated in operation Christmas Child last Christmas to help introduce the concept of global need; and just recently, we've decided to sponsor a child from Uganda through Compassion International. So far, neither has really helped. And, quite frankly, sometimes I wonder if it has hindered his progress because now he thinks that I'm going to give his toys away to the other children (I've explained to him that that is not the case).

We've tried the concept of earning money to buy the things he wants, thinking that earning will make him more appreciative of what he does have (to combat him always thinking he needs more).

We've tried talking to him about it during our devotion time, and explaining that having an attitude of selfishness is wrong and will also make it difficult for him to get and keep friends.

We've prayed (and obviously still are).

These things may work eventually, but so far, we can't tell that we're getting through to him. And, I'm looking for practical activities that we can do with him to help him understand. Any ideas???

And, please understand, I'm not here posting to be complaining, whining, or griping about my kids. Every child struggles with something. I just see a character trait in which he needs a little help, and I'm looking for ways I can help him. He actually is a pretty good kid and we're very proud of him.
I'm all ears....


The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

One thing I do with my 3 kids is whenever they get new gifts (Christmas, birthdays), they have to choose that number of toys to give away (I, of course, have to approve those choices). The items they give away must be of similar value.

Another thing is respecting that there are some toys that are "special". When my kids have playdates, they may put away beforehand a few toys that are expensive, breakable, or just special to them, but then they are expected to share everything else.

TransitionGirl said...

Remembering back on what my parents did, one major experience that sticks out in my head was going to Myanmar for a mission trip for 2 weeks and really experiencing the poverty, the life there. It was a rough change for me at first and I kept whining, but i remember my dad saying, "look around you. you have a roof over your head, tons of yummy food. these children don't." The experience of getting out of my comfort zone and seeing all these first hand left a very deep impression on me.

Brittany said...

Good post. Unfortunately I can't offer any advice at this point due to lack of experience and/or thoughts :), but I can't wait to see further follow up from others.

BTW, how was Saturday? I ended up hanging out with Jimmy & Ada. With Ada being so little I thought it could be potentially stressful timing around an event in which I had no clue how long it would last.

Laane said...

It's right the age that they are again a bit in the middle of the world.

The selfishness at that age is a way of defining themselves.
It's nice to make international efforts, but it doesn't work.
And we can save the children the cultural shock so many grown ups have difficulty with.
It's also not very healthy to make them give away gifts they have received, because it creates a feeling that they can dispose of gifts the way they want. It creates a kind of undetachedness. Like a gift is not important.

The best way for a child to learn that he's not the centre of the world is slowly creating a bigger world of sharing and doing little things for others.

Real selfishness is not about capitalism and giving things, it's about seeing what other people need.
Bringing a spoon when one is missing on the table, bringing the scissors when something is in the paper and you want to cut it out.
A child learns best through interaction. Planting seeds and giving a bit of water every day, growing some vegetables and thinking who might enjoy eating them.
Sharing sweets at a birthday. On sunny days he's not allowed eating an ice all alone, but children playing with him get one too.
Learning by imitation that is.

Whenever he does something not selfish, give him a compliment and a hug.
Children often become in character the person you tell them they are.
So tell him he's such a kind and caring person, he will try to become that person to please you.

You can find my "works for me" at:

Laane on the World

Have a great day!!!