Too Big For Their Boots: Dealing with Arrogant Children

Do you know an arrogant child?  Have you had to sit and listen to them?  Is your child the brunt of an arrogant child’s over-inflated ego?

We all know them and we’ve all heard them – the kids that brag and shout and like to think they’re king of the castle – but do we like them?  In essence those that wave their flags and turn everything in life into a competition get on our nerves, make the hairs stand up on the back of our necks and irritate us unreasonably!  The child that just has to tell your child that they live in a bigger house, have an opinion (usually derogatory) on everything and everyone or have a propensity to quite simply mention how intelligent they are and how stupid everyone else is – the “I’m going to get straight A’s so I’m brighter than you” are a pain in the neck, fairly insensitive and not a pleasure to be around.

But in spite of all this, is it us and our children that have a problem celebrating this amazing child’s advertised success or is it the arrogant child that despite appearances is possibly standing on sinking sand?

The reality is that the arrogant child is often the one that has a big hole in their life.  They plump up a false self to cover up areas of their life that is lacking and hide behind a camouflage that disguises their lack of confidence and self-esteem.  Often these children are the ones that actually experience the pain that they subsequently project onto other poor unsuspecting bystanders.  For instance the child that boasts of their academic prowess and berates the onlookers’ capacity is the one who feels they have failed elsewhere.  Maybe they feel they haven’t come up to parents’ expectations, or even their own.  Maybe they have been made to feel inferior to a sibling at home.  Possibly they don’t have a concrete sense of self but rather than face that and work on their own internal disquiet they storm on through life building up a consciousness that completely denies the veracity of their reality.

These are the children that turn everything into a competition.  Talk to a secure child and their sense of compassion and self-governing responsibility for their own behaviour and actions will become apparent.  The arrogant child however will be driven by a competitive self that sees everyone as a threat to their supremacy and who considers everyone else as responsible for their state. The secure child will be proud of their own accomplishments for their own sake whereas the arrogant child will focus on how impressed everyone else is with them, and thus whilst the secure child will listen to others opinions and then make their own judgement calls, the arrogant child will determine what promotes him/her foremost and run with that.

Sadly, the arrogant child is thus despised but often this has been nurtured by parents who have undermined the value of being ordinary.  In our celebrity hyped world too often parents are wanting to distinguish what makes their child “special”, and in many cases define themselves by how “special” their child is.  If the child doesn’t make the grade then the parent deems themself to have failed and so children are brought up not only with huge expectations on their head, but fulfilling their parents’ agenda and when they have succeeded in their parent’s eyes, these “special successes” are broadcast to the world.

Now don’t get me wrong there is no harm in letting your children feel special (particularly in our own eyes) but there needs to be a reality check!  We need to embrace a culture of encouraging them to fulfil their own dreams, to work for their own successes and critically to own their own behaviour.  When they then truly understand responsibility and respect themselves they will then go out into the world respecting others.  When they perceive they shine they will be happy, intrinsically happy and not because their ego has been stroked energetically by a self-absorbed parent.  This then reflects in their attitude and relationships with others.  They are secure and confident in their own right and don’t have anything to prove to anyone.  They are driven and happy because there are steering their own course through life.  Clearly they may need some help en route (this is not an excuse for parents to take a back seat) but critically the force that drives parents will be one of intrinsic endeavour to encourage their children to walk a path in life that is autonomous, respectful and critically one that is able to take responsibility for their own actions, thoughts, words and deeds.  They don’t blame others and avoid their own realities but stand on the side of truth and responsibility.

So next time you come across an arrogant child, the child with the bad attitude or the over inflated ego they thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread, consider essentially how fragile their self-esteem is and how unconfident they are, despite outward appearances.  For at the end of the day the child that matures to be a caring adult, a proficient worker, an honest citizen, a loyal partner and a good parent will truly embrace what it is to be ordinarily special with a world-centric vision where they can actually like themselves, to steer their own ship and to sail in calmer waters.

Too Big for Their Boots: Dealing with an arrogant child

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