‘I’m #1.’ No, You’re Not. And Take Off That Egocentric T-Shirt

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This weekend I was switching clothes out for my daughter who inexplicably skipped both a shoe size and a clothing size in recent weeks. From our box of hand-me-downs from my brother’s daughters, I pulled out a t-shirt that said “I’m the boss.” And I decided to donate it to Goodwill.

I’m sure I thought this shirt was totally cute when my nieces wore it. I never really gave much thought to vanity shirts until I had my own children and started seeing them everywhere. Taken individually, they’re not the worst. But after years of popularity, I question the message they send. Whether it’s “I’m Daddy’s Favorite,” “Girls Rule,” or Little Miss Bad t-shirts, they give an unhealthy focus on the self.

Self-confidence is not a bad thing. But it’s earned not by ridiculous t-shirts that make you seem kinda snotty but by working hard and achieving beneficial results.

My girls already think they’re the center of the universe and that the job of everyone around them is to cater to their every whim, diaper change and dietary need. We’re born selfish and the early years of childhood, where you’re completely reliant on others to meet your needs, reinforces this. My job as a mother is to change this and get them focused on how they can serve others. When my children scream “Mine! Mine!” as they fight over a toy (28-37 times a day), I don’t say “Yeah! Preach it sister! You are so deserving of that ball!” but I tell them to knock it off. I have them practice giving each other things and taking turns taking care of each other.

From what I hear from mothers of older girls, entitlement issues develop pretty early in girls and so does the accompanying snotty behavior. The last thing I want is to raise a daughter who actually thinks she’s #1. And that goes double in the case she happens to be blessed in the skills or looks department. So why would I give her a shirt that says she’s #1?