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The Pitfalls of an “Exemplary” Child: Understanding the True Nature of Behaviors in Children and Youth

  • Post category:Disorders
  • Reading time:12 mins read


The behavior of an “exemplary” child is the exact opposite of the behavior of a disobedient, lazy, aggressive, and especially delinquent child. It is the pride and pride of its educators. But his “exemplaryness” is not nearly as exemplary as it seems at first glance. That’s why we put it under quotation marks. It is a child who stands out with positive qualities; it imposes itself on the environment by the perfection of its behavior. Such a child especially emphasizes those qualities that educators like the most; qualities that most easily gain the praise and admiration of the environment.

The “Exemplary” Child’s Qualities

An “exemplary” child is regularly very obedient and polite. It sometimes just “gets on the nerves” with its emphatically good behavior, its intrusive helpfulness and overly accurate fulfillment of everything that educators demand of it. Thus a 14-year-old boy on the street already from afar greets the adults he knows; when he comes near to them, he worships them too much; when guests come to the house, he hurriedly jumps around them, once he brings a chair, another to an ashtray, a third holding a coat; in short, he does not know what to do sooner than mighty courtesy.

Such a child is unusually “good.” For many educators, being good means being very calm, not naughty, perfectly attached to parents, avoiding the company of “naughty” children, not engaging in any children’s exploits; it means not being interested in any adventures, avoiding love acquaintances, being “solid and serious.” When educators support and admire such behavior of a young man, they do not see that it is unnatural, insincere, artificial, that the child is not happy and that he does not really know how to be a child.

An “exemplary” child is very diligent, ambitious and conscientious, constantly sits at a book, is always worried about his success in school, is unusually sensitive to school grades, at school and on other occasions where he always tries to break out among his peers. to shine with their knowledge, skill, or emphatically disciplined behavior. All this is the reason why both parents and teachers constantly point out such a child as an example to others, and do not see his shortcomings.

Drawbacks of the “Exemplary” Child

Other children usually better understand the essence of their “exemplary” friend’s behavior. Unlike a truly positive child, who knows how to impress his peers and serve them as an object of identification, the “exemplary” usually serves to ridicule children. This is a child who is nicknamed by his friends at school

nerds, ”they don’t like him, they don’t hang out with him, or they challenge him, tease him, sue him, and otherwise express their aggression toward him.

The children are right; their “exemplary” mate does have a number of negative traits. Such a child is regularly unsociable, egocentric and conceited, underestimates his peers, likes to stand out at their expense, to play superiority. But at the same time, he envies them for everything they have and what they achieve. It is often withdrawn, incompetent, closed in on itself, grumpy. Or he is aggressive in a covert way: he likes to sue, reveal various children’s secrets, and during various children’s “conspiracies” against educators, he shows solidarity with these against his friends. Then it is understandable that other children regularly hate him, especially since educators fall for him and impose him on others as a role model. For this, his children take revenge wherever they are given the opportunity.

Antisociality of the “Exemplary” Child

An “exemplary” child is essentially often antisocial because he is very insecure about himself. He tries to compensate for his strong feeling of inferiority by behaving by which he constantly secures the affection of adults, when he no longer knows how to affirm himself among his equals. One of the most common motives for such an attitude towards the environment is jealousy, his feeling of neglect towards other children in the family, at school or in some other children’s group. By ostensibly exemplary behavior, he tries to bring such a child to the forefront when he feels overwhelmed by any advantages of another child, such as his greater intelligence, greater agility, muscular strength and the like. He can also become “exemplary” in order to maintain or regain the affection of his parents, who are more inclined to another child. Thus, girls gladly emphasize their naturally calmer temper in order to create a counterbalance in the heart of their parents to their greater love for their sons.

Sometimes the vain upbringing that parents provide is the basic reason for a child to start behaving in an exemplary way. Vanity parents constantly emphasize to the child to watch “what others will think of him, what others will say about his behavior.” Thus, the child becomes accustomed to taking someone else’s opinion of himself, and not the actual content of his actions, as the basic measure of the value of his behavior. It is completely oriented to the external effect of its posture. That is why in experiencing oneself it is completely dependent on the praise, admiration and flattery of other people. As soon as this is gone, the child is lost, his self-confidence shattered conceited, convinced that they must always be something special. This is difficult to achieve, so such children usually become very insecure and neurotic.

Puberty and Adolescence

In puberty and adolescence, there is an apparent role model as an attempt to compensate for strong dissatisfaction with oneself.

Thus, a 17-year-old boy suffers from being very whispered towards girls. Although he is intelligent, sympathetic and handsome, he still can’t cope in female society. When he finds himself among the girls, he is all confused, blushes, he can’t say a word, he becomes clumsy, he doesn’t know how to behave. At the same time, she really wants to be in women’s company, when she indulges in lively fantasies about women, and at night she experiences passionate erotic dreams. From this conflict, the young man tries to find a way out on the line of withdrawal – he does not go to society, spends his free time only at home, he is very “solid”, he studies all day imagining that his memory has weakened and that he has to repeat lessons to keep them. at school he knew how to reproduce. In his diligence he went so far as to start bothering his parents as well. Because he sometimes studies deep into the night, because of his studies he doesn’t have time to have a quiet lunch, he can’t go to the cinema or on a trip with his parents, because he “has to study” again.

With such behavior, which is taking on the proportions of forced neurosis, the young man tries to suppress his feeling of failure in front of the opposite sex, and at the same time tries to justify himself and himself for being incompetent in female society. “I don’t have time to go out, so it’s no wonder I’m clumsy,” he says to himself. By not going into society, the young man also deprives himself of the opportunity to experience a failure that would intensify his disappointment. But with that, his self-confidence is declining. Despite persistently learning, his success in school is declining. He is constantly obsessed with thoughts of himself, of his inability to be a man, to win a girl. That is why he is not collected during learning, so he does not learn his lessons properly. Therefore, he believes that he is less valuable in the intellectual field as well. Of course, that also lowers his self-confidence.

The young man’s parents are still convinced that their son is “the kind of boy to look for”. They cannot understand why the young man spontaneously sought the help of a psychiatrist. He really needs intensive psychotherapy to help him get out of the vicious circle of his emotional conflicts.

Above-Average Talent

Above-average talent can also lead to exemplary “behavior. When parents notice a special talent in their child, for example, for music, mathematics, acting, sports, etc., they usually try to make him a “miracle child”. Then they relentlessly chase him to persistently, excessively and one-sidedly develop their talent, while neglecting the harmonious development of other psychic traits. Such a child is forced to simply “skip his childhood. It has no time to play or socialize with other children, it has no opportunity to identify with other children, to be naughty, to practice adapting to people, to satisfy its natural emotional needs.

This is the reason that such a child often develops into a type of prematurely matured. He is serious about his age, he only hangs out with adults, he is interested in problems that exceed his age, he does not show interest in children’s mischief, he is very ambitious, he reads a lot. But his seriousness is not a sign that he is really ahead of his peers in his mental development. It surpassed them in only one feature with its talent. But its development is terribly one-sided. Other components of his personality remain stunted. Prematurely matured remains less mature emotionally than his peers, less sociable, less adaptable, less resistant to life loads.

The Burden of Being a Prematurely Matured

Prematurely matured suffers because of the unnatural, just weird shaping of his personality. He is in fact very unhappy because of the enormous burden that the educators have placed on him. It’s very hard to always shine, to always be something extraordinary. Therefore, the “seriousness” of the old man is not an expression of his above-average maturity, but a sign of his dissatisfaction, grumpiness and anxiety. His emotional immaturity comes to the fore when such a child grows up. Then he is usually incompetent, neurotic, very insecure in himself, does not have enough energy to continue practicing his abilities, and sometimes does not fulfill the great hopes that his educators placed in him.

Nurturing Gifted Children

A particularly gifted child should be given the opportunity to develop their talent. But at the same time, one should make sure that he lives in the most natural way possible, like other, average children. It is especially important for such a child to play and socialize with other children to a sufficient extent, to practice acquiring various skills, not only in the area of ​​their talent, and to become independent in all areas of life. Care must be taken not to spoil him, not to spare him from the burdens that go beyond the circle of his talent.

Characteristics of the Prematurely Matured Child

Prematurely matured don’t just become particularly gifted children. The characteristics of the old child are also observed in children who develop predominantly in the company of adults, and do not have enough opportunities to socialize with other children. Then the child identifies too much with the adults. It is serious, diligent, obedient, polite and ambitious. But at the same time he remains insecure, withdrawn, timid, incompetent in the company of his peers, and therefore unhappy. When he goes to school, emotional conflicts arise in him, which are often manifested by various neuroses. Emotional whispering, unsociability, loneliness, difficult adaptability can accompany an old child even when he grows up.

Proper Upbringing for Children

Educators need to practice distinguishing really positive traits from apparent ones in the behavior of children and youth. When they see the falsity of someone’s “exemplaryness”, they need to look for its cause and motive. It is then the duty of the educator to, by proper upbringing, free the child from the feeling of insecurity that drives him to behave in an unnatural way. First of all, one should abandon the admiration of the “exemplary” child. One should stop praising his personality, one should not point it out to anyone as an example. At the same time, such a child should be encouraged as much as possible to engage in constructive activity that will provide him with real affirmation. And from the action of the environment with him, everything that discourages him, which causes jealousy and a feeling of inferiority in him, should be removed.