No one is born arrogant. For many reasons, from special talent to heightened intelligence to over-zealous, pampering parents, children can get snooty and exhibit a character of superiority. Let’s teach children to balance self-confidence with humility.
Consequences of Arrogance
Humans are social beings; we don’t want to be alone during our journey through life. Arrogant children repel their peers, push away empathy, invite loneliness, and unknowingly undermine their own social growth and development. Arrogant attitudes and behaviors lead to the multi-layered consequences of stress, anxiety, and depression, casting a dark and potentially lifelong shadow.
Our children watch the way dad treats people—and are likely to approach social situations in ways that follow our lead. Be kind, humble, and respectful; showcase the attitudes and behaviors we want our children to imitate. Treat others with courtesy; don’t scream or yell at anyone for petty mistakes. Neither personally nor professionally, don’t “rub someone’s face” in our success. As children witness our salt-of-the-earth temperament—as we show goodness towards all people, places, and things—we help them cultivate their own honorable values.
Every child is different and has their own unique gifts. Sometimes, when children feel inferior, they cover up feelings of inadequacy by boasting about their talents or intelligence. Fathers should lovingly and firmly discourage the seeds of jealousy from taking root—it can easily mutate into arrogance.
Nourish a Growth Mindset
With unconditional love and support, encourage children to try new things, instilling and nourishing a growth mindset. With confidence in their father’s support, children are less likely to fear challenges—some of which they will overcome—and some of which they will not. When children fall short, they often learn lessons that provide greater benefits than if they had achieved success. Failures are a part of life; they discourage arrogance and build empathy. When children adopt a growth mindset, they view failure as the path to learning, improving, and getting closer to success next time.
American author, Neale Donald Walsch, wrote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” By introducing children to a variety of activities, we engage their learning in different ways. As kids learn new things, they climb a learning curve. This “stretching” fosters humility and deters arrogance, while stirring children—from within—to recognize the importance of being supportive of others.
Be cautious about lavishly showering children with attention and praise. Whether sports, academics, or any other domain, fathers naturally feel proud of their children’s accomplishments. Be mindful to give appropriately timed praise proportional to the achievement. Celebration is fun and well-deserved compliments are reasonable—but don’t overdo it. When children perform excellently or possess outstanding talent, appreciate their efforts, and encourage them to keep dedicating themselves to their craft. Specifically convey the message that we are proud of them, and subtly, but wisely, help them realize that we can always improve from where we are today.
Avoid boastfulness. Let others speak about accomplishments—or better—let accomplishments speak for themselves. If we find that our child feels too highly of themselves, or we overhear them boasting about their achievements, it’s time to have a talk. We need to let them know that while it may make us feel good when someone else says something nice about us, we should NEVER brag about ourselves.
Do we want our children to emulate modesty or boastfulness? The consequences of arrogance are far too costly, especially considering how easy this bad habit is to discourage. By leading humble lives, we give our children a model to imitate. By teaching, encouraging, and nourishing a growth mindset, our children receive first-hand experience with the humility inherent in stretching our capabilities, less the over-confident undertone. There is a spectrum between not enough and too much praise; a father’s ability to find the right balance can help us raise children who avoid arrogance and embrace humility.
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” —Romans 12:3 NLT
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.