Home Uncategorized Getting Your Children to be Friends–Part 5: "Me Monster"

Getting Your Children to be Friends–Part 5: "Me Monster"

by Kelly Crawford

I loved Ted Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, because he brought to light the truth that every misbehavior is a heart issue. We can deal with the behavior itself, but if we don’t deal with it in a way that trains the heart, we are only rearing “white washed tombs”.

“Ideally, we train the habits that will “meet” the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of our children.”

That is why I’ve spent so much time talking about the foundation of sibling relationships. But when we start addressing specific occurrences, we will still need to discern what is going on at the heart level, most of the time.

When a two year old whines and cries for having something taken from him, he is doing what comes naturally–displaying a lack of self-control. It is our job to build that into him.

When a child is a “me-first” monster, he is also doing what comes naturally–being selfish.

There’s a delicate line to be drawn here…much of the natural man takes a work of the Holy Spirit to break. And yet, much of behavior and character can be shaped by habit. Ideally, we train the habits that will “meet” the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of our children.

Let’s address a “me-first” attitude. I don’t know a family who doesn’t deal with this, because, really, we are all “me-monsters”!

  • Because we teach basic biblical principles like “let each esteem others better than themselves”, we simply do a lot of reminding in addressing wrong attitudes. Beyond reminding, we usually give the child the opposite of the thing he is coveting. If he’s always wanting the toy first, we remind him of what the Bible says (the above verse, or “if any wants to be first he must become last”, etc.) and then explain that someone else gets it first because he demanded it.

  • Another way to deal with selfishness is to require an act of service for each selfish act–and better if the service can be directed to the other party involved. Requiring service teaches in a tangible way, what the Lord requires of us, but it also allows the child to see what a blessing it can be to serve. It can be making a bed, doing another’s chore, or creating something special for the other. Always require the opposite of the undesired behavior.

Of course discretion must always be used in determining if the heart is really struggling with selfishness, in order to determine the severity of the training session. A reminder may be all that’s needed.

A good way to tell? How does the child respond to your suggestion? If he pouts, his heart needs some additional training. (A private talk? Prayer? Scripture? Or just time to let him talk to you.) At the point a child’s behavior becomes defiance and disobedience, it is a spanking.

We really do have to balance discerning the motives of their hearts and deciding what level of training is needed. This isn’t easy stuff! We must beg God for wisdom at every turn!

In addition to giving them the opposite of what they want, and reminding them why, I find it very helpful to constantly read stories about children who chose to do the right thing. Usually you have to dig for the older, out of print books to find the good ones, and if any of you have any good suggestions, please let us know!

My favorites are:

Biographies of some of our great founding fathers

Ten Boys Who Didn’t Give In by Irene Howat

Moral Lessons of Yesteryear by A.L. Byers and Little Bear Wheeler

Grace and Truth Books

You may also like


Jamie October 4, 2008 - 12:28 pm

Kelly, Lamplighter Publishing has some great books that would fit this bill. Basket of Flowers comes to mind as a great one, but I know there are many others. If you haven’t seen their books before, I think you’ll love them. They reprint older books (some several hundred years old), all with Chrisitan themes. I love them!! Just go to lamplighterpublishing.com

Kim M. October 6, 2008 - 7:02 am

Thank you for all of the resource suggestions (as I am sure your other readers are appreciative too). Keep them coming!

I know what I want to teach my kids a lot of times, but the “how” part is the hardest.

Thanks for the practical advice/suggestions.

I highly agree with you that giving a child the opposite of what he wants when he is being selfish does truly work. We have only recently started using this (especially with whining!).

my son:”I HATE broccoli. I am not going to eat it.”
Me: “You need to eat it and be thankful for it”
my son: “But it’s disgusting”
Me: “perhaps you would like for me to add more on your plate since you aren’t being thankful”
my son: “no thanks, I’ll just eat this”

Growing Relationships at Home | November 6, 2013 - 11:49 am

[…] Conquer the Me-Monster. […]


Leave a Comment

Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram

Post Category

motherhood/family/parenting Uncategorized christian living homeschooling pregnancy/birth control marriage frugal living/saving money large families public school abortion feminism dating/courtship church/children's ministry entrepreneur pictures

Author's Picks

Why We Should Encourage Our Kids to Marry Young 220 comments Two Children are a Heritage From the Lord (After That, You Should Know... 173 comments Population Control Through Tetanus Vaccine 127 comments

Latest posts

The Power of Gathering Around the Table: Beyond Hospitality 0 comment Weddings, Getting Older, Navigating a Large Family & God’s Goodness 33 comments Help My Friends Find Their Child Through Adoption 0 comment The Shocking Truth About Education 2 comments

Copyright ©2023 Generationcedar. All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by Duke