How to Deal With an Ungrateful Selfish Attitude


It’s frustrating when your child is so selfish that she expects everything to be handed to her upon her command, but it’s even more frustrating when she doesn’t even attempt to seem grateful for the things you do on her behalf. Giving your child everything she wants without making her work for it and not teaching her about the value of hard work and earning will only make her more selfish and less grateful. This feeling of entitlement is not something that will go away on its own.

  • Teach your child to put herself in your shoes, advises Family Education, part of the Pearson Education, Inc. family. For example, when your ungrateful daughter doesn’t make an effort to thank you for carving time out of your schedule to take her shopping for a pair of $100 jeans, tell her you want her to pretend to be you while you pretend to be her. Tell her you want her to make your bed, make your lunch, clean your room and spend all her money on you without being thanked for doing so. Knowing how her behavior makes you feel will help her change her ways.

  • Require that your child earn an allowance and use it for the things she wants. Don't buy everything for her, advises Domenick Maglio, Ph.D., psychologist. Selfish and ungrateful children can quickly change their attitude when they have to work hard to earn money to buy stuff.

    Require that your child do chores around the house to earn an allowance and then pay her only on a specific day each week. Teach her that her money is hers and she can do what she wants with it, but she will not get anymore unless she does her chores and waits for the next payday. This will teach her that money is earned through hard work and it will make her more appreciative of the things she buys with her own money.

  • Stop tolerating selfish behavior, advises Family Education. For example, tell your child that her selfish behavior is reprehensible and will no longer be tolerated. Anytime you catch her behaving selfishly, you will enforce a consequence. Consider withholding privileges, such as playing on the computer or watching television. Warn her about the possible natural consequences of her inappropriate behavior. For example, her friends may stop playing with her because she always wants things her way.

Tips & Warnings

  • Praise your child when she acts generously and displays gratitude.


  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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