by Ron Huxley, LMFT
A lot of parents feel their children are selfish and mean to others. No one wants to raise a bully or narcissist. Fortunately, parents can use volunteerism to turn the tide on entitled behavior.
When we help others we increase our capacity to empathize with others. You could even go so far as to say we increase our spiritual development. By the time your child reaches the age of 5 they are fully able to understand the hurts, needs, and problems of others. Parents can model helpful behavior and deal with children’s selfishness by volunteering to help others less fortunate.
Helping does not mean write a check although that can be a big help too. In this context I am talking about talking the family out to a local community non-profit or special event to volunteer your time and talents. Let children offer suggestions about what they would like to do in the community. What cause would they like to get most involved with? You may be pleasantly surprised by how creative and genuine children can be when asked for their thoughts. Let the children help contact the organization or event and give choices of things they can do to help if there are choices. Take time after to reflect on what they got the most from it, what new insights did they gain, and how do they feel about themselves.