Serving Others: Teaching Your Child to Serve
Why You Should Be Concerned
All children need to learn to care for and demonstrate their love for others with acts of service. Many parents believe that the selfishness they see in their children is simply a stage they'll grow out of. Unfortunately, instead of growing out of bad patterns of behavior, children actually grow into them. If not counteracted, selfish habits become more entrenched. In the teen years, unchecked selfishness creates multiple problems, resulting in tension and distance in relationships.
Training your child to do chores will serve several purposes.
- It will teach your child to be others-centered rather than self-centered
- It will teach your child gratitude when others serve them
- It will teach your child responsibility
- It will teach your child that their actions are important to others
- It will teach your child how to demonstrate their love for others
What is the cause for the decline in childhood responsibility and lack of concern for others?
We are living in very busy times but busyness is not always a good thing. It can become an excuse for not accepting responsibility and for selfishness. Many moms feel guilty asking their busy children to help around the house. Instead they serve their children to the point of exhaustion.
This can give the child the impression that they are the center of the world. The parent-child relationship for these children is one dimensional. The parents love the child, serve the child and the child just receives. The child may then expect that all relationships function in the same manner. Consequently, relationships with friends, teammates, teachers and coaches may be difficult for the child.
Know Your Child
Family habits can develop quickly and silently. Try to take an objective look at your child's behavior. Assess their motives when they say "I can't", "It's not my job, "I'm too tired", "I don't know how", "It's too hard" or "My friends' moms don't make them." Laziness is the outer manifestation that reflects a deeper attitude in your child's heart – selfishness.
What You Can Do
You can teach your child that serving others is love in action by:
- Modeling service yourself
- Tell them you are showing love to them when you serve them
- Hold them accountable to serve the family
- Go online to iMOM.com and download free chore charts
- Reward them with praise when they serve well
- Volunteer to serve your community
- Visit the grandparents and serve them
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