Do you overvalue your narcissistic child? The truth is that overvaluation from a parent often leads to narcissism, while parental warmth builds healthy self-esteem.
Narcissists are bred, not born
According to a 2015 study, narcissism in children is a direct outcome of parental overvaluation. The study explains “parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others,” can make children develop narcissistic tendencies. Whereas, high self-esteem is often a result of parental warmth, with “parents expressing affection and appreciation toward their child.”
So if you are, intentionally or unintentionally, raising a narcissistic child, then there is a way to counter it and help them develop positive and healthy self esteem. Instead of giving them praise, offer your children parental warmth and affection, if you don’t want to raise another egotist in this world.
How to raise a narcissistic child
“The way to raise a narcissist is pretty evident: Tell your child they are wonderful, the very best, the most special of the specials on the sports field and the classroom and in the country and possibly on the planet – and keep telling them that. Or, just be a narcissist yourself,” writes author Mackenzie Dawson in a New York Post article.
According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7 to 11-year-old children, who are often overvalued by their parents, usually score high on narcissism tests. So if you believe that your child is better than others and more special and deserving, then it is highly likely that your child may grow to become a narcissist. The researchers explained, “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.” And “that may not be good for them or for society,” believes Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University and co-author of the study.
However, when a parent treats their child with warmth, appreciation, and affection, then they internally believe that “they are valuable individuals, a view that is at the core of self-esteem.”
Narcissism vs high self esteem
Narcissists tend to believe that they are a gift to the world. People with high self esteem believe that they have value and can add value to their community and to the world. A person raised as a narcissistic child will observe society as vertical, while a person with high self esteem developed through parental warmth will view the society as horizontal. They will believe that every person in their community is equal despite their background. However, when it comes to narcissists equality doesn’t exist. You are either below them or above them.
“The goal of the narcissist is to get ahead – by hook or by crook – and he or she will use relationships to climb to the top,” writes David Ludden, Ph.D., an author, and professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College. But people with high self-esteem will tend to get along with everyone, instead of getting ahead of anyone. They are more likely to build intimate relationships and strengthen deep connections with others. Children raised with high self-esteem grow up as individuals who view relationships as something to be nourished and nurtured, not as a means to an end. Ludden adds “In sum, narcissists view themselves as superior, whereas people with high self-esteem view themselves as worthy.”
Read also: How Parents Create Narcissistic Children