How to Help Your Child Deal With Self-Centered, Egotistical Children


Children often find themselves in adult-like situations; having to deal with selfish peers is one example. However, the world of children is quite different from that of adults. Children not only lack the social skills necessary to deal with arrogant peers, but they also must deal with peers in school, which can change the paradigm. By using methods that range from role-playing to social skills training, you can help your child prepare for the next bout of conflict with her mean or egotistical peer.

Get at the Bottom of the Behavior

  • Let your child know that selfish behavior always has a root cause. Help your child think through the reasons as to why her peer might be so arrogant. Offer possible reasons for that peer’s big-headedness: he might be used to getting his way at home; his parents might not have taught him to control his temper; or as John Gottman, a developmental psychologist, points out in his book, “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child,” the child might be seeking the attention that he lacks at home. By helping your child understand that her self-centered peer has a legitimate problem, she will understand that she isn’t to blame for any conflict between her and her peer.

Role-Play to Prepare Your Child

  • When encountering a self-centered, egotistical classmate or peer, your child is likely unprepared to respond in a way that lessens or avoids conflict. Use the preventative measure of role-playing to help your child develop a tangible method of responding to the arrogant peer. In role-playing, you expose your child to the possible problems she might encounter, which allows her to develop solutions. By giving her feedback and suggestions, you help her build a useful paradigm for handling egotistical children.

Spend Time With Your Kids

  • As the number one tool in avoiding conflict and dealing with difficult people, social skill goes a long way in dealing with arrogant peers. According to Gottman, the more time parents – fathers in particular – spend with their children, the more likely their children will be to develop strong social skills. You can also directly teach your child both explicit social skills such as communication methods and implicit social skills such as eye contact and body language; these lessons will go a long way not just in dealing with self-centered peers but also in other areas of life.

If All Else Fails, Ask for Help

  • Hopefully, your child won’t have to rely on asking the school to step in to resolve a problem with an egotistical classmate. However, for his safety, let him know that he always has the option of seeking help from the school officials when needed. For example, if a physical conflict seems unavoidable, informing teacher is the safest means of resolution. Let your child know that he should try to deal with his social problems on his own, seeking out the school’s help only when a conflict with a peer becomes potentially dangerous.


  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child; John Gottman
  • The Bully Action Guide; Edward Dragan
  • Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers, Michael Riera
  • Photo Credit XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images
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