When you grow up feeling special, entititled and arrogrant, the real world will knock you down and you wont be prepared for it
At some point in life, we've all had to deal with a narcissist. We label someone a "narcissist" if they're self-obsessed and have an air of superiority. However, for some people this is not just a habit or a personality trait, it's a medical condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). According to Mayo Clinic, NPD is one of the several types of personality disorders where "people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others." Yet, behind the facade, lies "a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism."
Power Of Positivity notes some common traits of NPD are arrogance, entitlement, a constant need for attention, and difficulty accepting criticism. It's difficult to diagnose this condition in children, but researchers believe that these traits worsen over time. However, just because one might feel the need to be selfish or right all the time, it doesn't necessarily indicate that they have a mental disorder. Washington Post shared a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where researchers studied 565 children between the ages 7-11, along with their parents (415 mothers and 290 fathers) in 2015. It was concluded that parents who "overvalue" their offsprings during this developmental stage are more likely to hone them into narcissists.
"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," researchers Brad Bushman of Ohio State University and Eddie Brummelman, a post-doctoral researcher at Holland's University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University said. "Of course, parental overvaluation is not the sole origin of narcissism. Like other personality traits, narcissism is moderately heritable and partly rooted in early-emerging temperamental traits. Some children, due to their temperamental traits, might be more likely than others to become narcissistic when exposed to parental overvaluation."
Scientific American highlights two ways a child can become a narcissist. One, when they are showered with praises, even though they are undeserving of it. When the social-learning theory is applied to the development of narcissism, a person who is used to constant complements, irrespective of their actual ability, will expect the same from everyone. Two, kids who are at the receiving end of inadequate validation might have to inflate the way they think about themselves, thus expecting constant admiration from others to support their views.
Here are 5 factors that lead to a child growing up to become a narcissist:
1. They have a constant need for approval:
It is normal for children to want their parents' approval. But as a parent, if you make them compete for it, then it may cause them to believe they are not worthy of an encouraging word or two. This leads them to seek external validation to feel worthy of love and thus will go to any means to achieve it. The need to win overshadows everything else because, if they can't get it from their family, they will turn elsewhere. They might even do something extreme because they crave attention as they're neither getting love nor attention from their family.
2. They strive to be perfect in every sense:
As humans, it's only natural that we make mistakes. It's how we learn and grow from them. However, when parents don't celebrate the small victories that their child has achieved, it can make a child feel insecure. They then believe that they will only be appreciated if they are perfect in every way, and go out of their way to prove that they have no flaws, thus making them unique and valued in their parents' eyes.
3. Parents who give their kids too much importance by making them the center of their universe:
While it's not okay to ignore your child, giving in to their whims and fancies every time they don't get their way doesn't help, either. They grow up with a sense of entitlement with little knowledge that it does not work that way in the real world. Therefore, they need to be taught that sometimes you don't get your way all the time, and there are consequences to be had.
4. Parents overpraising their kids:
As a parent, it's natural that you overindulge in your kid from time to time, but when this becomes a habit, it will lead to the child believing that they are indeed very special from the rest. However, this does not bode well in the real world, where they will have a hard time adjusting, given that they have had it easy all their life. Therefore, it's important to let them know that sometimes coming second place in an activity (when you don't interfere) is also okay as well. Or that even if they fail, it's not the end of the world.
5. Children might copy their parents if they have narcissistic tendencies, too:
Many times, narcissistic children are nothing but a mirror image of their parents. As a parent, if you treat people with disrespect or pretend like everyone is beneath you, your children will make a note of it, and they'll behave the same way because you're doing it, too. At some point, you'll be their role model and it is imperative that you check on your narcissistic tendencies to make sure you don't pass it on to your kids.