How to Deal With Arrogant Children

By Damon Verial
While some arrogance is natural in all children, controlling it is better than letting it ride.
While some arrogance is natural in all children, controlling it is better than letting it ride.

Arrogance stems from negative emotions. And from arrogance stems impulsive, often dangerous behaviors. Though not all egocentric behavior is by default problematic, as a parent, you should at least be aware of the reason for this behavior. By understanding the root cause of arrogance and engaging your child in a conversation about arrogance, you can prevent that arrogance from producing antisocial and bullying behaviors.

The Root Cause

Before you can deal with a child’s arrogant and selfish behaviors, you must find the root cause. While noticing arrogance is easy – “He’s showing off again!” – understanding why they occur is more difficult. Most parents don’t abuse their children, but they can indirectly encourage selfish behaviors through undesirable parent-child interaction styles. Generally, these poor interaction styles come in two forms: pompous parenting and inattentive parenting. Being pompous teaches child that vanity is acceptable; being inattentive gives children an impetus to draw attention to themselves.

Egocentric Behavior: The Gateway to Bullying

As the article “Egocentrism and Risk-Taking among Adolescents” in the Asia Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Research suggests, egocentric behavior in children is correlated with risky behaviors. The school environment and the peer groups within tend to enhance such behavior via phenomena such as peer pressure and the desire to fit in. To appear “cool” or solidify their status, arrogant children under such circumstances might often engage in dangerous and antisocial actions such as cheating, playing dangerously, and – most severe of all –bullying other students.

Bullies and Their Need for Attention

Because of its severity, bullying warrants special attention. If you suspect your child or other children engaging in bullying, pay attention to the telltale sign of bullying. That sign, according to Jennifer Sarazen, author of the book “Bullies and Their Victims,” is the consistent need to win in power struggles. Whether in the physical or social domain, arrogant bullies seek out weaker peers to dominate. For example, a child who takes pride in his family’s wealth might socially or physically harass less well-off children.

Deal with It

Common sense is not always the best form of parenting. Luckily, researchers on bullying and egotistical behavior, such as Dr. Edward Dragan, author of “The Bully Action Guide,” have sought ways to deal with such behavior. Once you recognize the signs of self-centered behavior, talk to your child in a non-judgmental fashion. Begin by asking questions, triggering your child to reflect on his behavior. Locate the negative emotions driving the behavior – emotions such as feelings of inferiority or a need for attention. Discuss and agree on new ways to handle those emotions. Finish the conversation by telling your child that egotistical behavior can have serious consequences, giving age-appropriate examples.

About the Author

Having obtained a Master of Science in psychology in East Asia, Damon Verial has been applying his knowledge to related topics since 2010. Having written professionally since 2001, he has been featured in financial publications such as SafeHaven and the McMillian Portfolio. He also runs a financial newsletter at Stock Barometer.