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What To Give To Someone Who Doesn't Like Anything!

Updated on December 15, 2010

A Behavioral Science Specialist's Point Of View

I want to start this HUB out by saying that I am not a biological parent. I am, however, a Behavioral Science Specialist, trained in the US Army, and I have five years of experience as a professional foster parent working with children with disabilities and severe behavior problems. With my foster children, I was successful in getting their inappropriate and dangerous behaviors under control and getting them reunited with their biological parents, thereby avoiding institutional placement.

I am approaching this HUB request from that point of view.

Don't Give In To Attention Seeking Behavior


Don't React! Do Respond!

If you have a child in your family who has everything and makes a show of not liking anything, in my opinion, you have a behavior problem. A child like this can turn all of the attention away from the special event at hand and to him or her self. This not only spoils the event for everyone else present, it spoils it for the attention seeking child. A child who focuses on commanding all attention has created a big job for him or her self and is not a happy child. Having his or her attention shifted from the enjoyment of the occasion to self gratification is not a satisfying pursuit. No matter how much attention is paid to this child, it will never be enough.

If you are considering getting a gift for this child, and you know that whatever it is, it will not be appreciated, realize that less is more. Keep your gift simple and your expectations modest. Know that you are highly unlikely to delight a spoiled child who would rather have attention, negative or positive, than any gift you could give. Your choice of a gift should be something plain and simple like a rubber ball, a coloring book and a small set of colors, a book, or a simple game that can be shared with the whole family.

The idea is that, if the child discards the gift, it won’t matter much. If it is something the entire family can share, then others can enjoy it without the child’s participation. This is really preferred as the child is likely to be lured into participating when s/he sees others enjoying the gift. Participation gives the child positive attention without making him or her the center of attention and gives the child a way to “save face” and move on after misbehaving.

The presentation of the gift should also be simple. Don’t give the child an opportunity for a dramatic build up by packaging the gift elaborately. A simple gift bag with the gift showing slightly at the top will cut down on suspense and drama that can easily be manipulated into disappointment and trauma! If the child expresses disappointment over the gift, don’t “react” by being disappointed yourself, wheedling, attempting to show the child how wonderful the gift is, etc. Instead respond! Respond by calmly saying something like, “Oh, I’m sorry you feel that way.” Then gently set the gift aside where the child can approach it on his or her own later if s/he wishes, and go about your business. Don’t say or do anything that would fuel complaints or tantrums.

Understand that a child who is used to being placated and coddled under these circumstances, may act out at first if not given the attention he or she is used to. It is important that everyone present be on the same page. Be kind and considerate to the child, but don’t give in and try to “make things better”. It won’t work, and before you know it, everyone will be trying to appease the little tyrant! Just be sure that the gifts that have been given are available to be played with. If the child insists on making a show of displeasure, a time out may be in order, but don’t let him or her spoil the event for everyone.

It will take a firm consistent approach on occasion after occasion for this behavior modification to take a firm hold, but in the long run, everyone will be happier.

Copyright:SuzanneBennett:December 7, 2008 


Submit a Comment

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Texas

    Thank you so much! I am so happy that this worked for you and your mom is now toasty and warm! :D

  • Chuck RitenouR profile image

    Chuck RitenouR 

    7 years ago from Front Royal, Virginia

    Oddly enough, I applied this to my 79 year old mother and giving her a Xmas present. After opening her present (an electric blanket) and getting the usual, I don't want, I don't need, I can't believe you got me this. I sat quietly and smiled and placed the blanket under the is now on her bed. You wrote a great article. It will be a pleasure following you.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, Larry! I appreciate your kind comment! :)

  • larryprice5372 profile image

    Larry Wade Price 

    7 years ago from Long Beach, California

    When I see qualuity family oriented aticle hubs like this, I am very impressed.

    Parenting is a skill that many lack. Education about behavioral problems and how to recognized their reasons, and deal with them is high quality.

    I thought this article was very helpful and educational. I am a family oriented person, who has served six years in the military during the Vietnam War. I see the value in your military training here. Veterans do have serious adjustment problems when they return home. You were obviously well trained about psycolocal problems by the military, and how to determine cause and effect, that is what gave you the skills you've got.

    Keep on sharing, I'll be looking for more.


  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! I wondered if anyone would ever comment on this one, and I have to admit, I had a particular child in mind when I wrote it. Not the one pictured! That child is the unfortunate victim of a photographer who posted his photo on everystockphoto with the title BRAT! LOL! :)

  • Dottie1 profile image


    9 years ago from MA, USA

    Great information and very interesting. I am so glad I stopped by to read.


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