Narcissism is a personality disorder that includes tendencies such as extreme love for one self, feeling of great self-importance and the constant urge to fulfil one’s needs at the expense of other people. A narcissistic child feels superior and demands to be treated better than others.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), factors such as early childhood experiences and psychological issues are some of the causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Early childhood experiences carry the flag-raising the question of whether parenting could be the biggest contribution to narcissistic personalities. Negligent parenting, overprotective, excessive pampering, constant negative criticism, broken families, abuse, narcissistic parents and irrational expectations are some of the parenting issues that would result in narcissistic behaviors in children.
Here are some of the ways of correcting narcissistic behavior in your child before its too late;
- Learn to say NO; If your child throws a tantrum every time they need something, its time you start saying no. Trust me it will be a war at first but with time they will learn to ask for things calmly and know when their demands are unrealistic. Also, explain to them why you can not meet their demands so that they will learn to put other peoples feelings into account.
- Appreciate their efforts; children will always strive to please their parents in every way possible. Take note of even the smallest milestone and let them know that you are proud. Failing to appreciate your kids will make them doubt and think less of themselves. Children who are unappreciated will always try to put others down just so that they can feel good about themselves. Word of caution though, avoid overpraising them.
- Love them; As parents, our love for our kids is natural but how do we let them see that. Performing our parental duties is not enough to show that love. Go the extra mile and constantly remind them of your love and affection. Spend time with them just talking or sharing their hobbies. Love them unconditionally but do not over pamper them.
- Teach them how to deal with failure and disappointments; Talk to your kids and prepare them to deal with frustrations that come with failure and disappointments. Being too overprotective will hurt your children in the end. Let them face the disappointments for them to grow stronger and understand that life is not all rosy.
- Teach them the golden rule; Teach your kid, to do unto others what they would like to be done unto them. If your child refuses to share their toys with others, make sure they also refuse to share theirs with him/her. Sharing in the pain that others feel will teach them to empathize with others.
- Let them take responsibility for their mistakes; Sometimes kids will do something wrong intentionally and act innocent. Do not be fooled by the cute face into overlooking the mistake. Instead, let them take responsibility. If they beat another child, make them apologize instead of apologizing on their behalf. Punish them when there is a need but ensure the punishment is reasonable.
- Be the example; Our actions as parents are the best lesson for our kids. Being kind to others will serve to teach them the importance of kindness. Our own humility will also teach the child not to think of themselves too highly.
- Therapy; If you have tried the above methods unsuccessfully, you can resolve to therapy. The therapist will observe the cause of the behavior and provide a solution for it. This may also include family therapy to deal with the issue of excessive love and narcisstic parents.