Are we teaching our kids to be selfish-by Serene Sarah George
|   Mar 17, 2017
Are we teaching our kids to be selfish-by Serene Sarah George

Selfishness, rather self- centeredness has gone to an altogether new level these days. I feel this trait by

itself is a side effect that started showing up when the human race ‘developed’ from interdependence

to self sustainability. The concept of selfishness still had a wider perspective of ‘Me and my whole

family’ or ‘Me and my friends’. This later reduced to ‘ Me , my spouse and kids ’ and then to just ME.

The irony here is that beyond this, there is no level to stoop to and the ‘self ’ comes to a breaking point

when the realization of ‘I am alone’ strikes. We blame umpteen things for this –the competitive world to

inflation in our economy to the growing trend of single child and what not! But seldom do we recognize

the fact that we are teaching our children to be selfish. I can’t really say consciously or not; that’s for

each parent to introspect.

Let me share a personal experience here. I and my little nephew were once flipping through my

wedding album and there was a picture where I was posing with two of our domestic helps with my

hands on their shoulders. I was dumbstruck when he popped a question- “Why did you pose with

them? It’s not looking nice “. I tried making him realize how important their role in his daily life is- from

making him food to cleaning up the house for him to hop around. But those disturbing words from a

child left me thinking - where is it that we are going wrong with our kids.

We do have reasons, our rights and wrongs, and it’s difficult to judge or prescribe a ‘one correct

method’. The only way is to become conscious- so that even when you do damage, you can do some

damage control too. I am sharing here some very simple signs that may help you look within and be

aware of your negative influences you may have on your child.

In the name of hygiene: Undoubtedly, hygiene is something every parent is paranoid about and that’s

totally called for. But when you say do not play with the poor children in the locality, or do not take food

from the cleaning lady in the apartment - it is not obvious to our little one that you are just being

protective. You are feeding some conflicting thoughts in their innocent brains and you will need to

reason it out to them why you said so.

Sharing , from food to gadgets : I was this kindergartener who was least interested in food and would

happily distribute whatever I had in my snack-box until I grew up and feeling of appetite set in. So ,my

mom would constantly pester me to finish my food on my own and this is genuine motherly concern

that could have some side effects. Nowadays, this has extended to iPads too. Sure, you don’t want your

hard earned money to be broken into pieces by the brats. But, it is a better way to write it off the

moment you decide to give an expensive toy to your child than telling your child to play it alone when

friends are not around. It is important to ‘show’ that sharing is caring.

Inter-dependence: Ms. Google aunt helps you with the intricate routes and you do not even have to

look up from your phone to realize whether its day or night. Each to his own is a principle that the

current generation is living by. While it is difficult for us to unlearn, try not to pass this on as a legacy.

Nurture empathy in your children and while teaching them to be independent, teach them the

importance of inter-dependence too. Encourage them to help and ask for help. Financial and emotional

dependence should not be taught as something that’s undesirable. While earning on my own gives me 

confidence, I am happy not to be carrying my wallet and feel totally dependent when I hang out with my

parents or husband. My mom has not worked all her life, but every penny my dad earned is in their joint

names whereas now there are pre-nuptial contracts that details how the joint property will be split in

case of a divorce. Let our children not grow up into adults that will fight saying ‘my money and your

money’ even in a committed relationship. You can be stingy on the pocket money you give- but do not

give them ideas on how not to spend it for a friend so as to save on it.

Selfishness will bring negativity to your own child, if not addressed at an early age. Let them learn to

share their toys and tiffins and they will grow up to share their time, money and feelings too. Even if we

cannot raise selfless children, let us not raise selfish ones.

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