Children are wired to express their own needs and get those needs met. It often feels very egocentric to parents and caregivers. Yet we know that this is normal in how they develop their personalities. Parents are often concerned about this type of egocentrism and wonder how they can get their children to be able to be other-oriented in their relationships.
In a recent article on the Child Mind Institute this topic is addressed with some tips for parents and caregivers. Here are some excerpts from the article:
It is natural for children to be somewhat self-involved. Their primary focus, especially when they are young, is making sure that their needs are met by the people around them. This generally means that kids learn to ask for the things they want fairly early in their development, and they will have many opportunities to perfect their technique.
But as kids mature, it also becomes necessary for them to look outside their own needs and begin being more responsive to the needs of others. Parents play a big role in helping kids develop generosity, both through encouragement and example.
We as parents can teach and model generosity for our kids. We can create and share in various giving opportunities. We can find ways in which certain giving opportunities might align with our children’s interest. Then we can share in the wonderful feelings we get from being generous and helpful. And praising them for their altruistic actions might illicit more goodwill from them.
This article continues on to suggest some guiding principles for how to help children become more generous with others. It is helpful to read these simple tips to give parents guidance to help our children grow and develop with others in mind. Our society certainly needs more giving, sharing and caring even from our children.