How do I get my 8 year old to think about others and not just herself??

Terrina - posted on 08/22/2016 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My 8 year old daughter is so so selfish and I have no idea how or why. She doesn't want for anything and has a little sister who adores her. I do not play favourites, though lately she is definitely getting into more trouble than her sister because of her selfish behaviour. She has no consideration for other peoples feelings (mainly her sister and myself). Acts like she is the only person that matters. The main problem is that when you call her on her actions, which I always do (it's almost every 10 minutes of every damn day), she acts like you've wronged her and goes further into her negative state and becomes more self focused, rude and thoughtless.
Today we had to pause a movie we were watching so that her sister could go poo. She was constipated and you could hear her crying in the washroom. After less than 4 minutes of her being in there my 8 year old said in an irritated tone 'She's taking so long! I bet she's not even doing anything. Can you tell her to hurry up? Go check on her'. This is with hearing her sister crying.
It's all kinds of selfless behaviour like this. All the time! She doesn't see it from anyone else. I don't understand it and don't know how to stop it. All my talks and 'consequences for selfish behaviour that won't be tolerated' don't seem to be working.
it's getting to the point now where my feelings are being hurt by it. I'm the grown up and she's hurting my feelings. I have told her this too, to make her realize that mommies have feelings too. But it all does not work.

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Always - posted on 08/25/2016

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You've had several great suggestions. I strongly agree with the one about volunteering. Does your daughter work any around the house? Does she do much for others? I'd start there. I'd also have a talk with her - not when she's upset, but when she's in an open mood - and see if there is some underlying reason she is being ugly to you and your other daughter. Does she see the hurt she causes? The article someone posted was good too. You mentioned, in a comment, how she kind of glazes over now when you're disciplining her. I've had that same problem - I talk too much and the girls tune me out. It's so hard to just give a consequence and walk away. Sometimes we need to talk and explain and see where their heart is, and sometimes we need to just dispense punishment, enforce it, and be quiet. Consistency is key. I know it's hard to be calm and consistent when someone is being unkind to you. Praying for you today.

Jodi - posted on 08/25/2016

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Maybe it is time to think about having her volunteer somewhere where the children aren't so fortunate to help her understand what a good life she has, and to gain some empathy towards others.

Jodi - posted on 08/24/2016

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Just out of interest, what ARE her consequences? For example, what was the consequence for her rudeness about the paused movie incident? Did you only reprimand her, or did you follow through with a consequence (reprimanding is not a consequence). Personally, I would have told her she could go to her room and not watch the remainder of the movie for being so rude. But that's me.....

" She doesn't want for anything"
And this. It doesn't hurt a kid to want for some things and have to earn them. Not wanting for things can contribute to an increased sense of the self being the centre of the universe.

Etta - posted on 08/23/2016

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Sorry you are not able to enjoy your daughter as a result of her behavior. Sounds as if there are many years between your two daughters and your oldest thinks the world revolves around her. Perhaps lay out some guidelines of accepted behavior. I always told my girls that we all speak respectfully to each other. Consequences could be loss of a privilege and an ,to be accountable for behavior. Try to catch her being good and spend some one on one time with her. Some kids are naturally more sensitive to others, but selfishness is more the norm. Don't take it personally, but address the issue without attacking her. Example: "What you said sounded mean," rather than, "you are so mean to your sister." She may be a strong willed defiant child and will only learn when it happens to her. Try to be patient with her as she grows in her character and tell her you love her, but not her behavior. Parenting isn't easy. Praying for you.

Eager - posted on 08/22/2016

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That’s definitely frustrating behavior, and I can totally understand your concern for your daughter. Have your tried talking to her about her behavior at all? I encourage you to do so, she might realize where’s she’s going wrong and might correct herself. Also, this link might be helpful for you: http://bit.ly/2bcSIGa. I will be praying for you and your daughter. Good luck!

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Always - posted on 08/30/2016

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How's it going this week? I know - it's SO hard to walk away. I want my girls to have a heart change and care about how they're affecting people, but sometimes they're just not ready for that and just need a swift consequence. It's not easy to do. Hope you are having a great week!

Terrina - posted on 08/26/2016

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Always Grow: I have a chores list that i typed out and printed and stuck in the kitchen, her room and her sisters room. Regular chores like cleaning their room and their own mess they do not get paid for. But if they want to earn extra money, they can chose a chore on the list to do (25cents to wipe a table or counter, 50cents to vacuum a room etc). She hasn't taken to it. Complains about not having enough pocket money, but when i remind her that there's the list of 'work' she can do to earn money to buy what she wants, she complains that she has to do work to get money.
She sees the hurt. There's no hiding it. Her sister cries out at her, grits her teeth and screams in anger and frustration at her. I have even shed tears when talking to her because it's hurts so much to see her so unaffected and unaware and unaccountable for how she can sometimes be. I agree with you. Dish it out and walk away. Very very very hard though because i so desperately want her to understand how it's all connected.

Terrina - posted on 08/24/2016

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Etta: 'don't take it personally'... I tell myself that all the time, but the intense emotions over ride logic and it doesnt end well. And when you said that she is the kind of kid who will only learn when the samethi g happens to her, problem is, when the same thing happens to her she goes into victim.mode and the fact that she just did the same thing g to someone else and that's just how she made someone else feel goes straight over her head! It's beyond frustrating.

Terrina - posted on 08/24/2016

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She got a time out and if she continued being rude she would've been sent to her room. She has had privileges like playdates, sleepovers taken away that she has to earn back with better behavior. But she does it so begrudgingly. You just know the only lesson she's learned is 'do this and I get what I want'. Never the real message behind the reason for not being rude and mean. I completely agree it doesn't hurt a child to want for things. What I meant was she has a home food, books and toys...I've also told her that if she chooses to continue being rude after she has been reprimanded and/or given consequences, then she will have to spend the day in her room because because that behaviour is unacceptable and i don't want it spoiling my or her sisters moods. That if she'd like to be around people that she has to be aware of how her behavior makes people feel. But then I run the big risk of her thinking she has to act a certain way just to please others....argh!!!

Terrina - posted on 08/22/2016

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I talk to her all the time about it. Not a day goes by where there is something that doesn't need addressing. It's getting to the point where I feel like I'm talking too much. I see that glazed lookin her eyes every time she knows she's about to be reprimanded for something like 'here we go again'. I read the article. It's comforting to know it's normal. Doesn't make the day to day any easier though :)

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