If you're a first-time parent, let me offer a suggestion, which I will pass off as wisdom.
We went through A LOT to have our first child. 4+ years of infertility treatments, and when she finally arrived, we lavished her with all of our attention. We knew so little. When she cried, we assumed she was sick or hurt. When she wanted something, we had a hard time saying no. And when she wanted our attention, we gave it to her. Which was pretty much, all the time.
Now, while I am not suggesting you ignore your child, you might want to ignore your child. Sydney was the center of our universe. And that's just how she acts five years later. "Acts" might not be a bit too strong, but I would at least say we are still struggling to overcome an early precedent we set. She doesn’t YET understand that, sometimes, you can't everything the way you want it.
And while it is NOT my mission to make her feel this way, she needs to see that if it doesn’t work out the way you want, that’s not always so bad. Things change, you can change them. I want her to see this as the opportunity versus just as something that is “the most terrible thing ever.” Yes, that is one of her favorite quotes.
From the beginning, Sydney was strong willed, emotional, needed a lot of attention, and wanted to negotiate everything. If I Googled the definition of high maintenance, I swear her picture would be there. Our other two children, which I won't say we completely "ignored," but didn't get nearly the attention of our first, are much more easy going, can play on their own for hours and are nearly always low maintenance.
My wife will argue, to no end, that Sydney was born with her personality, and it was not our nurturing that did it. I won’t say she is wrong, because I do see both as an influence (and because, smartly, I don't often point out when she is wrong). But had we realized that our child was going to have to cope in the real world some day, not "Sydney's World," and helped her begin life more balanced, I’m convinced she would be less high maintenance.
On the plus side, all that attention did give her an extended vocabulary...
So my advice is to give your kids attention, teach them everything you can, but try to find a balance so that they don't think they are at the center of the universe. This is easier when you have more than one child and a lot less time for them all! For those of you with one kid, maybe take turns in your head? It’s mommy’s turn this time, daddy's turn next time, and then your kids' turn(s).
Lessons Learned Recap: Too much attention is not a good thing.