Understandably, nobody wants their child to grow up into a spoiled, ego-centric adult. But, is purposely teaching kids that they are NOT the center of the universe, the right way to do it?
Young children, who are loved unconditionally, made to feel at ease their environment and made to feel like they belong and are accepted, do not go on desperately seeking attention as they get older. Their cup becomes full. They will not, cannot become spoiled. Why? Because ‘spoiled‘ doesn’t even exist in my dictionary. To me, ‘spoiled‘ means disconnection from others.
Imagine you were having a bad day and you needed to be the center of someone’s attention for a moment. Then, imagine someone made you feel that you better suck it up, because the world doesn’t revolve around you… how would that make you feel? How would it make you feel if that happened every day? I know that would make me feel like a giant pile of poo.
The same goes if you were bubbling with enthusiasm and someone gave you the feeling that you should ‘can it‘ and save it for later. How would you feel?
If we want our kids growing up to be compassionate and caring adults, why not start with making them feeling like they are fine just the way they are? Children are born feeling like they are positively the most brilliant things on the planet, so why can’t we just roll with that? Why do we feel the need to squash their enthusiasm so early?
Kids are born with all the confidence and fearlessness that they need to flourish in life, but, society warns parents that we need to ‘train‘ children to be respectful and obedient. So, what happens accidentally, is that we train that enthusiasm right out of them.
It IS possible to make a child feel like the center of the universe while also cultivating their sense of cooperation and awareness of the world around them. Life is dynamic. We skillfully let them feel like they are the super important early on, so that later they can go and make others feel the same way.
Yes, my kids annoy me like every other normal person. And, no, I don’t go trying to fix everything for them. I still need to make sure I take care of my own needs, because hey, practicing self care is really great role modeling. I don’t just give them everything they ask for because sometimes they need some loving limits set in place. But I can still do all those things while honoring and valuing their emotions, even when their actions are unpleasant.
How long can YOU last when your emotions are running on empty? How long can you care for others if you feel disconnected from the people around you?
Do we want children to feel a sense of “belongingness” and compassion and trust? Of course we do! Well, those feelings come from within.
Little kids have a very limited sense of empathy. But, if we start making kids feel like they are important when they’re very small, then, as they get older, qualities, such as compassion and empathy, start to blossom. Their awesome little flames will grow bright and light the way for others. It’s not about giving artificial praise, or giving rewards or anything like that… Just to be natural with our children and to recognize their divine qualities so that those qualities will blossom. That is all.
If we withhold our love and attention, simply for fear of making a child ‘spoiled‘, then we are doing a great disservice to our kids later on in their lives.
Imagine a child who has been ‘trained‘ to believe that there are conditions to receiving love (in other words, I only love you when you act a certain way). Would you then later want to marry a person who loves you conditionally? Heck no! For better or worse, right?!
I let my kids cry on my shoulder without making them feel like they’re being stupid. I let them know that I love THEM and that love is not contingent on their behavior. I want them to know that they are perfect just the way are. I want them to know that they should trust others. I want them to feel secure in their ‘universe‘ first so that they can later go and interact with other people, who are also living in their own private solar systems.
Who do YOU think about most in your life? YOUR job, YOUR house, YOUR money, YOUR family. YOU are the most important person in your life, I hope you know that! After all, if you want to go out and help others and be a happy and healthy member of society, you better hope that you’re happy with your life first.
There are enough upsets and frustrations in a young child’s life already. Over a relatively short amount of time, kids will naturally learn that they are not the center of the universe. We don’t need to artificially induce that process.
If children are confident and secure in themselves, when they reach that age where they can start to feel empathy and a sense of time, you can bet that their creativity, their confidence and their ability to help others will flourish more than we can ever imagine. Even if we make them feel like the center of the universe when they are little, it doesn’t mean that they will grow up that way. In fact, I tend to believe that the opposite is true. If kids have nobody there believing in them when they are little, then how can they grow up into adults who believe in themselves?