Different people had reacted differently to the outrageous behaviour of the unruly Irish tourist group in Auckland that had captivated our collective attention in the last few days.

Like many others, I was first incensed by their sheer lack of respect for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

However, gradually scare took over the initial feeling of incense, as the gravity of the video showing seven-eight-year-old boy saying “I am going to knock your brains out,” to the eyewitness in Takapuna Beach, began settling in my mind.

For many of us who are parents sometimes it is a scary thought when we see such arrogance in little ones like him.

But the question is what gives the eight-year-old an audacity to become so rude and arrogant to a stranger...! Was he never taught when and how to draw a line...!

This incident has opened the whole new pandora box for people and media to comment and discuss many angles of this story but for me its only about thinking deep and reflecting on today’s parenting.

If we look around then we may not find it difficult to encounter children around us using words like “I don’t care, or anybody thinks”. To me it is not empowering; that’s arrogant …and that’s a problem.

My friend’s daughter has often been doing this but last week when my seven-year-old daughter gave the same I don’t care attitude I knew it was time to have a dialogue with her and I realized that constantly telling her that she is excellent is perhaps giving her an inflated view of herself.

A psychological study found that instead of telling children they are better than others, parents should tell them they are as good as anyone else. One psychologist said his research changed his own parenting style. He said that in 1990 when he started doing research on self-esteem and narcissism. He used to believe that his children should be treated like they were extra special, but he said now he is careful not to do that anymore. Dr Eddie Brummelman from the University of Amsterdam suggested that parents could be taught to express affection without telling their children that they are superior.

It’s fine for a child to be confident but the line between confidence and arrogance is quite thin. Some ways to identify are we raising arrogant children..?

Overconfidence

When an overconfident child is asked to do something, they feel they can do it better than everyone else and they take it much more serious. For him winning is important

Makes a big deal out of it.

Kids often brag, it's one of the fun ways they play with their friends but arrogant children brag to impress others of their own achievement and capability. A confident child however would inwardly be proud of their achievement but would never go around bragging about it.

Can’t take failures

Anytime they fail, arrogant children hide their failure and feel ashamed instead of accepting their fault and working on their imperfection as they confident children would.

Everything is competition

For arrogant children, everything is competition, from having a big car, expensive gifts including games that are supposed to be fun as competition

Bullies

Arrogant children are often bullies, they see others as threats and therefore try to pull them down with words or through beating, they are often without compassion. Meanwhile, confident children treat other kids fairly.

No team work

Arrogant children always want to take credit and get noticed so instead of working as a team, they prefer to work alone so they can stand out.

What I say is always right

Whatever they say is always correct and they often disregard other people's views as nonsense. They care less about other people's opinion and ideas. They love to pull others down.

Some Tips to Bring Change:

  • Praise but avoid special treatment: It's okay to acknowledge your child's success but giving them special treatment every time they succeed can make them proud. Tell them they did well, just like others, don't make a big deal out of success.

  • Avoid making a big deal of assets you earn: As parents we should avoid making a big deal of buying a expensive car, vacation , house or lifestyle. Children tend to pick up such behaviour from their parents

  • Comparing children: Never put down your child, it never brings positive result, most kids who are treated this way become bullies.

Tulika Saklani is a Kiwi-Indian mum, passionate about various social issues including parenting. She is a guest writer for the Indian Weekender.