If a child receives everything he wants, making decisions will be difficult and frustrating. Selfish children want it all and become angry when that’s not possible. Parents must teach young children how to make good choices, accept that they can’t have it all and plan for better situations in the future. If you neglect to teach your small child to make good decisions, your teen will not be ready to face all the decisions that he/she will need to make. Making good decisions takes practice. Practicing while you are a teen can have grave consequences. Start early so your child will not be frustrated because he/she doesn’t understand situations and how to make good decisions.
Often parents think giving their child a better easier life will make them happy and they will in turn be grateful to their parents. Unfortunately, the opposite happens. When children are not taught the basics of making good choices and have not been taught how to choose “the best” (being a good friend over being a selfish brat) – they will become angry about their situation. They will turn their anger to anyone trying to help and you will be in their sites for a tsunami of anger and rebellion. Their anger is not really about the situation but rather about the fact that they don’t know why it turned out so bad. Anyone who doesn’t understand the rules will be frustrated and that will lead to anger and rebellion.
Good parenting is when you parent for the future. Good parenting is realizing that securing a bright future for your child is better than allowing them to have everything they want now. Allowing your child to have a meltdown about no ice cream before supper seems ridiculous if you knew that stopping that behavior would help him say “no” to drugs when he’s a teen.
When faced with a decision that requires letting go of one thing in order to receive another, a selfish child will lose control with frustration. “If I let go now, will it go away for good? Will I ever get it back? What if I can’t have it when I need it?”
The only solution for a selfish child’s frustration is to teach him not to be selfish. Teach him that there is good in the word “no”. Teach him that it is often better to wait for the best than to settle for little things along the way. Help him understand that “not now” doesn’t mean forever, that letting go could mean receiving it another day. Teach him to be giving and helpful to others. By practicing unselfish behavior, he will learn to accept waiting for his turn.
Having too many choices can be frustrating, confusing and often scary for a child. When a selfish child doesn’t know what he wants, he will exhibit bad behavior. When my children were small I limited their choices. If we went out to eat I didn’t let them choose from the entire menu. Instead, I offered two maybe three choices. “Would you like chicken nuggets or a hamburger?” It helped them build their choosing abilities. After a few years I added a third choice. Gradually we built up to multiple choices.
Make sure your children know how to handle frustration and you will save them from a life of anger and problems.