Egocentric view

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My son takes a very egocentric view of things. This is of course partly related to his age - nearly five - and to the fact that he is an only child but I think it's more extreme with him. I have been making a lot of fuss of our dog yesterday and today because she was spayed yesterday and is very under the weather and each time I do so he gets upset and insists that I redirect my attention to him, claiming that he is sick also! I have tried to get him interested in the dog's welfare and, grudgingly and momentarily, he is.
    This is another of those big questions but... I see this as such a central feature of the difficult child mindset and the one that will do him a great disservice in life. How to enlarge his world view?? Any brilliant ideas gratefully received :)
  2. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    Malika, your son's egocentric thought process is due to his age. I haven't met a four year old yet who isn't ego centric to the extreme. :) I understand your concern and the love you have for your son, but, in this case, your kid is probably just rockin'to the beat of normality. Celebrate! :)
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Ok Methusaleh - at what age should one expect a child to have genuine concern for another being's welfare, do you think
    (serious question :))?
  4. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    About age 7, I think. All of this is on a spectrum, of course. There will be kids who think outside of themselves earlier and some later, but at age four, they are still the center of their world. At age two and three, they will cover their eyes to play "hide and seek" and not physically hide their bodies, because, to them, if they can't see you, you can't see them. Very egocentric. That was just a year or two ago for your son.

    I'm not trying to criticize you. I just wanted to reassure you he was normal, which, as a mom of difficult children, I would love to hear. Please forgive me if I inadvertently offended you. It wasn't my intent.
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    You didn't offend me Methusaleh! I was grateful for your perspective and genuinely interested to know your view... I think part of my vision may be skewed by the fact that a lot of the small children I have seen in some depth are in Morocco... a country that is very collectivist (as opposed to our individualist ones) and where thinking of others is encouraged at a very young age.
  6. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Age 7 is a general marking point for reasoning, expanding perspective, etc. If age 7 is the average age for this type of thought process you will also have children on either end of a range surrounding that number. It may be perfectly 'normal' for a child to display this at age 10, regardless of whether you would prefer it to be possible at 4,5,or 6. If you add in an adhd or autism spectrum component the age at which this occurs should be expected to be much older in the normal course of those children's development. That, of course, does not mean the child shouldn't be exposed to and have the thought processes narrated for him/her in the mean time.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, this is a tough one. I've raised five kids (one didn't come until age six). From the ones I've had from birth to age two, three of my kids, including my autistic son, showed genuine concern for others who were hurt or crying by the time they were two. At the same time, they also sometimes got jealous, but they did show concern. HOWEVER, my now 34 year old biological son never really showed much concern for others and he has always sort of been me-centric. Is he a terrible person? No. He is a loyal husband and a truly loving father. But he does tend to focus his conversation on himself and be more into his own needs than those of others. Was this early lack of empathy a "sign" that he would be a little more selfish than some people are?" I have no idea whatsoever. I think it is a little early to worry about it. Does J. act upset when people are upset? He may think of the dog as different from people.

    In the preschool I work at, the 4K kids are all over the board too. Some enjoy inflicting pain (honest) and some are drama queens and kings and some have very sweet hearts and major concern toward anyone hurting. It's such a confusing mixed bag. I would put this one on the back burner for now. If you want to work on it, maybe tell stories that show empathy and have him help you tell them?
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I think folks are right, probably more on the normal development side of things. But knowing that you have concerns overall, it wont hurt to just narrate things (not lecture) but to point out (kind of a indirect/direct teaching approach if that makes sense)... when you observe sweet, caring moments... On TV, while out in the community, etc. OH, she dropped her purse... that was really nice how that man helped her pick it up. (in a nice sweet just observing things kind of conversational tone). But dont feel pressured at this time, since he has shown kindness and empathy in the past (he was the one who was rubbing friends backs, right? or am I not thinking of J?)... I would not get too worried yet.

    Always good to be proactive though, if you can balance it with not worrying.
    YOu get it that you are a good mom, right? smile.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, it wasn't J who was rubbing backs - that was an older child but I can't remember whose now :)
    It's a complicated one, isn't it, because actually J does have empathy for others in certain circumstances, and more highly developed than some children of his age. Quite a few times I have seen him taking care of a younger child or a girl - he is often solicitous towards girls... I guess the example with the dog was because he felt in competition with her for my attention/love.
    On the other hand, he is of course extremely egocentric much of the time - finds it almost impossible to lose graciously, very competitive but has to win, meltdowns when he does not get what he wants. Egocentric in the manner of a two year old, therefore, and so it is a developmental problem...
    As for whether I am a good mother... to be honest, I don't analyse it that way :) I am dealing with certain challenges in myself in parenting (as is every parent, one way or another), and he presents certain challenges that anyone would find difficult. I am reasonably open to learning new approaches, I would think. More than that... Parenting is just very humbling, isn't it, because you find out how extremely hard a job it is. Anyone trying to do their best, whatever that is, gets my vote of confidence.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Favorite therapist said that this whole empathy thing... develops somewhere between the ages of 5 and 25, "most of the time".

    Somebody else - some book somewhere - said that the way your kid behaves outside of family is probably a better indicator of developmental condition than how they behave within the family...
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That is good news! Hope the somebody is right :)
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    You know - the whole reason I got dogs and pets with matt was to develop empathy in him because I could see at an early age he had the potential to lack it. It most definitely worked. Now he would lay down his life for his pets, not to mention a stray animal. However - I am not sure how much empathy he had for the pets until around 7 or 8 (like the others have said).

    It is hard enough for a kiddo to do it person to person - let alone person to animal. Plus, yours, like mine, are only children with an only parent. That means that anything that interferes with that one on one relationship, is cause for jealousy. It sounds more like J is jealous than anything else. Plus he really also may be concerned about the dog, in his own way, but his concern is getting projected into a fear of losing you, therefore needing you closer.