The awareness about narcissism and how narcissistic people and their behavior impact those around them has grown recently. While it is not easy to point out to what actually causes and influences this behavior, genetics are believed to play a role. In addition, it has also been found that a particular parenting style and childhood relationships can also influence such behavior.
“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
Researchers wanted to understand which parenting styles in particular were more likely to give rise to children who had a narcissistic personality, and then took into consideration 565 children between the ages 7 to 11 and also interviewed their mothers and fathers.
The results of the study found that parents who praised their children excessively and tell their children that they are superior to others and deserve special children are more likely to raise children who have a narcissistic, and those children may in turn, grow up to be a narcissistic adult.
Researchers stated in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “When children are seen by their parents as being more special and more entitled than other children, they may internalize the view that they are superior individuals, a view that is at the core of narcissism. But when children are treated by their parents with affection and appreciation, they may internalize the view that they are valuable individuals, a view that is at the core of self-esteem.”
Basically, it is important for parents to show affection, but at the same time, it is also important for them to teach their children that they are humans and also flawed, and they are the same as others around them. Maintaining a healthy balance of praise and realistic approach is essential. Many times, children also develop narcissistic behavior in order to protect an insecurity they may have, and that’s where these tips can come handy.
-Teach your children to connect with others, not impress. Tell your child you love spending time with him because you love him, not because of his abilities. This will play a role in how your child approaches future relationships.
-Teach your child the importance of empathy. He needs to understand that his actions can hurt another person, and being aware of another person’s emotions and feelings before doing something is essential, and it also plays a role in inculcating social skills that will help him through adulthood.
-Encourage your child to make friends. Friends don’t just speak up the truth, but there’s also no need for your child to be perfect with them in order to be liked or appreciated. Friendships will also help teach your child how his actions affect those around him.
-Be gentle with them. Most narcissists have low self esteem and while discipline is important, make sure you do it with care and respect for your child. Remind him that it is okay to make mistakes, but it is important to apologize and realise that they did something wrong, and also to try and fix it.