How do you get an egocentric 3 ½ year old to engage with the concept of family? At the moment it’s ALL about him. If, for example, DH [dear husband] or I are trying to do write the weekly food shopping list and DS [dear son] wants to do something else, he repeatedly whines at us,”But I want to do X.” I know we should be getting him to help out, but there are only a few things he’ll help with and other things he absolutely won’t! He is pretty stubborn (his preschool teacher say this too) and only likes to do what he likes to do. He does fully understand about helping, he’s great at sharing and has good empathy, so I’m sure he can “get it,” but we’re at a loss about how to do it!
-Mother of a “King Baby”
Dear Mother of a “King Baby,”
My colleague, the late Tracy Hogg, warned new parents not to allow their infant to become “King Baby.” Young children see the world through me-me-me eyes and yours already seems savvy about getting his way. He feels eclipsed by a shopping list because it’s not about him.
But we shouldn’t fault his age or personality or even how you’ve parented him. Self-centeredness is part of the human condition. We adults aren’t necessarily less inclined to unleash our “egocentric tendencies.” We are simply more efficient than children at correcting our self-centeredness.