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Corrupt Media: How Can You Protect Your Child from Becoming Self-Centered?

by Lee Ann Mancini

Our morally corrupt media has the ability to influence both children as well as adults in alarming ways.

Corrupt media influence

Every day, television programs bombard us with the false narrative that we should learn to love ourselves before loving others. At times, self-centeredness like this can stem from a legitimate physical or emotional pain, but in all cases, it leads to dangerous consequences. For example, it can lead us to become vulnerable, anxious, or insecure.

In today’s society, how do we raise our children to understand that the world does not revolve around them? How do we teach our children to care for others and to put others’ needs before their own?

Naturally egocentric

We would all agree that we should teach our children to be selfless at an early age, but this goal presents no small challenge. Young children are characterized by egocentrism; they do not yet understand that other people have different perspectives and different desires. Instead, young children assume that everyone feels exactly the way they do. They don’t understand why a parent would ever disagree with them or say no to their request.

It is precisely for this reason that toddlers are famous for throwing temper tantrums. Tantrums are their way of exhibiting independence and expressing frustration when things don’t go their way. Toddlers use these outbursts of anger to express feelings that they cannot yet put into words.

For more information on egocentrism and more read about The Preoperational Stage of Cognitive Development.

Teach empathy

I believe that empathy is the best way to respond to a temper tantrum. Explain to your toddler that you understand the emotions they are feeling. If they are upset about an early bedtime, tell them, “I’m sorry you don’t want to go to bed. I know it is more fun to play with your toys in your room.” Acknowledging your child’s feelings is the first step.

Once you have done this, instead of just saying no, you have opened the door to dialogue. When your toddler calms down, praise them and hug them. Sometimes words are not necessary, but if the situation is appropriate, tell them honestly, “I am proud of you for understanding that sometimes we can’t always have what we want.”

I remember seeing a child on America’s Funniest Home Videos who was crying inconsolably. When his mother acknowledged his frustration and asked if he was done, he calmly said “yes”—and that was the end of that!

Empathy leads to virtue

Having a good temper is a virtue. Do not allow uncontrolled anger in the form of tantrums or angry outbursts to become an acceptable form of behavior in your household. Some people think that temper tantrums are a cute way for toddlers to express their independence.

But a failure to address angry outbursts at a young age can result in serious problems later in life—whether in school, at work, or in the home. Children who do not learn to control their temper become self-centered, narcissistic adults. Never forget that what looks cute now will not look or sound cute when your children are teenagers![1]

A tempestuous personality will cause pain and heartache for both the child and the parent. “Remember, children, do not grow out of anything but their clothes!”[2]

Be wise, and address anger right from the start (Proverbs 29:11). Make sure that your child knows that you love them and care about their feelings, but stand firm.

Strong foundation

When children are given a strong foundation in Jesus Christ and the truth of His Holy Word, they can fight the sinful nature that dwells within them. Then, as they grow, they will acquire a greater ability to resist peer pressure and the negative influences of the media.

Don’t hesitate to begin building a strong foundation in Jesus from a young age; don’t wait to teach your child about the Savior because you think they are not old enough. This is a huge mistake and a lie from Satan.[3] If your child has a strong foundation in Christ, they will grow into an adult who can see through the morally corrupt media that permeates our homes with lessons of self-centeredness.


[1] Lee Ann Mancini, Preparing Soil – Planting Seeds – Building a Strong Foundation in Jesus for Children. A Comprehensive Guide.  (forthcoming).

[2] Phil & Diane Comer, Raising Passionate Jesus Followers, 100.

[3] Lee Ann Mancini, Preparing Soil – Planting Seeds – Building a Strong Foundation in Jesus for Children. A Comprehensive Guide.  (forthcoming).

Lee Ann Mancini is the award-winning children’s author, publisher, host of the Raising Christian Kids podcast. and executive producer of the Sea Kids books and TV series She is a renowned speaker and Bible college professor whose passion is to help parents raise their children to have a strong foundation in Jesus.

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