As children grow, there are many traits parents would like to instill in them. Traits such as kindness, consideration and respect for others will help your children adjust well at home and in the school environment. In contrast, traits such as selfishness and snobbery will be a detriment to your child’s emotional and social growth.
By definition, a snob is a person who believes he or she is better than others due to social status, intellect, physical appearance or outstanding ability or skill. People who are snobbish tend to criticize, reject, or look down on people who they feel are inferior – those who come from a lower social class, have less education, or are less attractive.
Snobbishness is a behavior that children learn from others such as their parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, or other family members. If you or your spouse act snobbish around a neighbor or your children’s friends, chances are your children will pick up this type of behavior from you.
Common Traits of Snobs
It’s quite common for people who are wealthy or come from a high social standing to be snobbish to those of a lower class. Even though it’s common, it doesn’t mean it’s right. Snobbish behavior displays a lack of etiquette. A person who has been taught good manners will recognize right away that snobbery shows a lack of consideration and respect. When it comes to manners, there should be no distinction between classes. If you and your children have good manners, you will be kind, courteous and respectful to everyone, not just those of wealth or high social standing.
If you’re wondering if your kids are picking up on snobbish habits, here are some telltale signs:
- Snobby people make others feel they are not deserving enough of their company or friendship
- They criticize or poke fun at others for their lacks
- Snobs think they are smarter, better, or better looking than their peers
- They exclude others from social activities or games due to their inferior abilities or skills
- Snobs pretend to be the know-all and end-all in all situations
- Snobs rarely stand up for what’s right but go with the flow, even at the expense of others
- Snobs think certain jobs are beneath them and unworthy of their time
When you contrast snobby behavior with that of children who are well-mannered, you can easily see the difference. Children who are well mannered:
- Do their best to include others and make them feel comfortable
- Will be respectful of others’ feelings and opinions
- Are not conceited about their looks or abilities and skills
- Are kind, friendly and considerate to everyone alike
As a parent, it’s important to define snobbery in a way your child will understand so you can teach them to avoid this kind of behavior. Explain to your children that snobbery is highly undesirable. Snobs may think they’re better than others, but in reality, they’re not. By excluding others who are different, your kids could miss out on the opportunity of making good friends. Their snobbish behavior could very well become a habit that hinders their social growth later down the line.
Snobs tend to stick together in little groups or cliques. Group snobbery can be even harder to overcome, especially as your child grows older, as by then he or she has developed some strong snobby habits. There are many ways to exhibit snobbery. People can be snobbish about friendships, sports, cars, food, jobs and more. For example, football players may consider anyone who’s not a fan of football unworthy of their time and attention. Upper class teens may look down on their peers who don’t own the latest electronic gadgets.
Children and teens who succumb to snobbery can lose out on the character traits and values that are really important in life. Snobbery weakens a person’s character as it causes them to look at outside factors such as money, possessions, or physical appearance to define who they are. If these outside factors fail, snobs have no core values to fall back on to sustain them.
Dealing with Snobs
Sometimes children lean towards snobbery due to their circle of friends at school. They may not know how to handle this behavior and just go with the flow. If you don’t want your kids to develop snobby habits, you’ll need to help them deal with this behavior in an age-appropriate way. Here are some possible choices:
- Have your kids avoid the snob(s) altogether and look for friendships that are more inclusive
- Tell your children to talk to the snob and explain how his or her behavior is unacceptable to them. In some cases, a snobby child may not realize that his or her behavior is offensive to others and your children may be helping him or her by pointing this out.
- Your kids can choose to ignore snobbery, especially if it’s directed toward them. Explain to your kids that snobs can only affect them as much as your kids allow them to.
It’s only natural for children to make friends with others who have similar interests. If your boy loves to play sports, most of his friends may be sports lovers or members of local sports teams. Smart kids who love academics may gravitate towards other intellectual children. The trouble comes when these groups of children choose to exclude others due to their lack of abilities or skills. The same holds true for children who share the same religion, culture, or economic standing.
As a parent, you can help your kids avoid falling into the trap of elitism or snobbery by teaching them manners and developing their core values. Good manners and values supersede snobbery. Through manners, your kids will learn to treat everyone with kindness and respect rather than be selective. Manners and values give your children a foundation on which to build their lives. Their words and actions should reflect the values they are learning at home. If they have a strong foundation in this area, they will have the conviction to do what’s right, even when you’re not around.
Once your children begin school, they will face new experiences and challenges they’ve never had before. Some of these experiences will be good and some may be bad. Snobbery, bullying and negative peer pressure are some of the negative aspects your children and teens may face in the school environment. If you have instilled good values in your child’s life, he or she will have a strong foundation to face these challenges. Even so, you should maintain a close relationship with your children to be a help and support to them throughout their childhood and adolescent years.
What’s the Goal?
As a parent, you want to see your children happy, healthy and capable of adjusting to the world around them. There’s so much for children to learn to accomplish this goal. You cannot protect your kids from all negative aspects of life, but you can equip them to handle difficulties by strengthening their character. Here are some real-world ways in which your kids can put the values they are learning into practice in their lives:
- Show kindness and respect to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they’re from
- Be honest and truthful in your dealings with others
- Be a good sport
- Respect the opinions of others
- Don’t criticize or humiliate others
- Acknowledge others’ accomplishments
- Never take advantage of others
- Stand up for your convictions and what’s right
- Be generous to those in need
- Do to other people what you would want them to do to you
Your child’s values will help him overcome snobbery and grow into a mature, responsible adult.