When a child irritates her parents with too much attention-getting behavior, she could be selfish. Of course being the 'star' is normal when children are young but how do you know when it becomes too much?
Dr. Partridge, our parenting expert and author, will share an excerpt from his book, Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child. Listen as he says,
"We start life at the center of our world - but all must give it up or drown in pathetic selfishness."
Ability to Give Up Being the Center of the Universe - The Story of David
"I don't like school, Mommy. I learn a lot more when I go to the grocery store with you, and when you teach me the words in my dinosaur book. I want to stay with you, Mommy."
David, age five, found he was just one of 25 active children his first day of kindergarten. At home, there was no waiting for snack time or recess.
At first, his mother was gratified that David valued her tutelage so highly. But as he began to stage emotional rebellions when it was time to go to school, she knew she needed help.
For five years, David had been the center of his own universe. His mother and father had given ceaselessly and had required nothing in return. David was the Crown Prince of his castle. And then he had to go to school.
If David's "I hate school" offensive wasn't working, he often became sick when the class bell rang. Now he had the full benefit of the teacher's attention as well.
It is important for all of us to push for a place in the sun - to be someone special. But shallow, attention-getting behavior that goes on and on clearly undercuts social growth.
A child existing comfortably in his environment - getting 90, giving 10 - has little need to learn to tune in to others, to become sensitive to their needs.
We will see in Chapter 8 how children are born into what might be called a "noncontingent" world. The love and care flows in just because they exist. It has to be that way because a baby has no capacity to earn love.
As the child grows older, the capacity for earning increases and he moves into the "contingent" world that all of us occupy. If we're loved by our family and friends as adults, it's largely because we hold up our end of the relationship.
The child who fights to keep the center of attention can find plenty of roles to play - particularly in the school classroom. The class clowns or the openly defiant troublemakers who touch off an uproar almost daily are children who are still insisting on center-stage attention. Sadly, many of them are...
Ultimately, these children are denied the chance to develop sensitivity, empathy, and a capacity to give and receive love. (To find out more and Dr. Partridges solutions go to page 74.)
I appreciate the story about David. When I was a young teacher, I remember several children like David. This is why I like to promote Dr. Partridge's work. He tells it like it is and parents get from him the solutions they need.
Let's give Dr. Partridge a BIG HAND for his no-nonsense views and his excellent parenting book.
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Jean Tracy, MSS
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