Are you a parent who is concerned that your child may be narcissistic?
You aren’t alone, it’s much more common than you might think. Six percent of the population has a form of this personality disorder, and it often starts in childhood.
Many of the traits of narcissism are brushed off as normal childhood bad behavior, but it’s important to spot the signs of the disorder and deal with it as soon as possible, both for your own peace of mind and your child’s development.
If you’ve ever wondered how to manage the issues that come with narcissist children, here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Narcissism
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be seen in a number of ways.
Narcissist children feel as though they are superior to everyone else and deserve special treatment. There is a lack of empathy for others as well, and have a need to be admired. Some of the words used to describe them often are manipulative, demanding, self-centered, and arrogant.
The narcissist child who doesn’t get his/her own way or the admiration they believe they deserve will aggressively lash out, sometimes even in violent ways.
The Origins of Narcissist Children
There are some parenting traits that create narcissist children, whether it’s giving too much praise or too little. With proper parent-training intervention, these destructive patterns can be identified and then fixed. We will explore how these traits manifest themselves in a home.
Narcissistic Values Held by Parents
In a family run by one or more narcissistic parents, everything is a competition. This type of parent can be summed up in the statement: “If you’re not going to be the best, why even bother?”
Children from families like these do not have a stable source of love and find it difficult to enjoy things for their own sake. The only source of happiness is an activity that confers status and shows high achievement.
This type of child often grows up to become a “go-getter” type who feels empty inside eventually, as no level of success ever feels like it is enough.
Recognize these harmful behaviors early on and nip them in the bud to make a child feel valued no matter what their report card or sporting achievements say. Support your child in activities they like and want to do more of instead of the ones you believe are best.
Parents Who Overvalue a Child
Also known as the “golden child” scenario, too much praise can create narcissist children.
This goes against everything we’ve been taught about parenting, but hear us out. A study blames parental overvaluation or parents’ belief that their child is more special and entitled than others for narcissism in children.
Are you a parent who is uncomfortable with the spotlight, but easily brag about how talented your child is? This is typical of parents who are closet narcissists.
There is a solution, however. Not attaching a child’s worth to their performance gives them a healthier sense of what a parent’s love means. Aim to let them know they are valued even when they don’t win or achieve perfection.
The Domineering and Devaluing Parent
At the other extreme, this scenario is when a parent constantly puts down a child and has unrealistic high expectations for them. These parents are irritable in general and very quick to anger. The traits are especially apparent in a family with multiple children, as the parent will praise one and devalue others.
Dealing with this scenario can be difficult as one parent is often the subject of the narcissist partner’s put-downs as well, which means that everyone in the household is a victim of the narcissist disorder.
Children react in a number of ways to the domineering parent. The child in this situation reacts sometimes by becoming a malignant narcissist, taking out their anger at the parent on anyone who reminds the child of them.
Other children become defeated and accept that they are worthless, after many years of being told so by their parent.
The rebellious child, on the other hand, rejects the parents’ message. They spend their lives proving the devaluing parent wrong, in an unending pursuit of achievement.
The Exhibitionist Parent and Closet Narcissists
Do you find yourself seeking praise and validation from your child and those around you? You may be an exhibitionist narcissist, who in turn creates a child who is a closet or covert narcissist.
These parents teach narcissistic values, whether consciously or unconsciously. They will reward a child with praise and attention – but the catch is that the child must constantly admire and stay subservient to them.
The lesson you teach a child by displaying these traits is that they should not exhibit themselves for admiration. The child internally absorbs the doctrine that they should never try to equal or surpass a parent’s achievements.
Solutions to raising closet narcissists include giving a child chances to shine in the spotlight and removing the focus from your own ego.
Don’t be afraid to show your own vulnerability and instances where you mess up or don’t do so well. By doing this you let your child know that life includes both achievement and failure in equal measure and they develop a healthy attitude to both.
Find out More About Families and Narcissism
It’s easy to spot how a child can become narcissistic in certain environments once you have the tools to recognize it. Hopefully, this article has helped you to identify and solve your issues with managing your narcissist children.
Do you see your household in any of these scenarios? If so, maybe it’s time to take a look at changing the environment that your child is being raised in. They may have no other choice than to become a narcissist if that’s the way they are being raised.