Other-Centered Children

Parents must make a conscious effort to raise other-centered children since children are naturally self-centered. Self-centeredness is inherent in the sin nature we are born with, so the characteristic of other-centeredness must be taught and cultivated in the family. It comes through example, culture, and through training in rejoicing for others. Celebrations are a great opportunity to develop this habit. At birthday parties a parent can make sure to provide gifts only for the birthday child, and to prep the other children ahead of time that this day is a celebration for that child only. If the other children pout or cry, the parent has an opportunity to develop an other-centered heart within them through discipline and admonition.

Meal times are another opportunity to demonstrate other-centeredness within the family. Children can be taught to wait to begin eating until the person who is serving the meal can be seated as well.They can be taught to eat the meals that are prepared for them so they learn that the world does not revolve around them. Allowing children to avoid eating what has been served, or to grumble about the food, encourages a selfish heart.

Training in manners is useful in avoiding the self-centeredness of shyness or in demanding to be the center of attention. Children learn this through responding when being spoken to, looking others in the eye, and by greeting others. When children are encouraged to focus on self-discipline rather than self-indulgence, they learn to how to put others first.

Children can be required to demonstrate other-centeredness through generosity and giving. The practice of sharing within the home, tithing at church, and giving to charities all provide structured activities to develop the character quality of other-centeredness. The opportunities become fun and exciting as families choose how to bless others by living an other-centered lifestyle.

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