Loving your children and placing them on a pedestal where they are praised are two extensively different ideas and it is vital that a parent realises the difference between the two ideas well, to avoid turning their beloved kids into narcissistic individuals.
Here are a few signs that determine as to whether you are making your children narcissistic, unwittingly.
WHEN YOU BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF ERRORS
Is any individual really incapable of errors? No! Your children aren’t either. Praise your children on occasions, when they genuinely deserve praise. For example: Your child has acquired the first prize in a singing competition, or they have been kind to an old lady on the road, they deserve praise and appreciation. However if your child has a habit of staying awake till late in the night and missing out on school often, you mustn’t ignore and defend them for this sort of a behaviour which you know is essentially flawed but don’t want to accept. Making your child believe that whatever they do is right could lead them to accrue narcissistic tendencies.
WHEN YOU CONSIDER THEM SUPERIOR TO OTHER CHILDREN
Nobody is superior to anybody. Everyone have specialities that are unique to them. Your child may possess a greater number of qualities than other children which is a good sign but you must consider things like, other children may not be as financially secured as your child is which aids them in nurturing their latent talents. So teaching your children to compete with themselves rather than against others is the motto not of an insecure but of a strong mother or father. Hence, prevent your children from becoming narcissistic individuals so that they demean other humans.
WHEN YOU CONFUSE BETWEEN AFFECTION AND APPRECIATION
As much as you feel proud for the medals or trophies that your children bring home, greet them with tenderness and love when they come home bare handed too. Don’t be a selfish parent and appreciate them for what they do that brings you pride, so much so that they start associating affection with material prospering. Your expression of love shouldn’t be conditioned by how much pride your child brings to you and to themselves.
WHEN YOU CONSTANTLY COVER UP THEIR FLAWS
Allow your children to learn from their mistakes. For it is not until eternity that you will be around to defend them in difficult situations which demands owning up and apologising. Teach your child that apologising is a way of owning up to one’s mistakes and is necessary in maintaining close and loving bonds with dear ones. “You are my perfect daughter/son”, “You are so much better than him/her” are examples of the kind of things you should never tell your kids, if you don’t wish them to turn narcissistic.
WHEN YOU CAN’T TOLERATE THEM BEING CRITIQUED
Criticism is sometimes quite healthy for personality development because it makes one want to go the extra mile to become and achieve better, but if you don’t allow your children to be critiqued by their teachers, coaches or other well wishers then chances are high that you are denying your child self betterment. Nobody is perfect; every individual grows and learns a little bit each day and every parent must understand that no person should be looked down upon because we learn a little something from every individual, irrespective of whether they are less or better educated than us. A narcissistic individual will miss out on the opportunity to learn new things.
WHEN YOU SET AN EXAMPLE OF NARCISSISM YOURSELF
Are you one of those parents who cannot accept criticism themselves and who believe that they can go wrong never? This is in fact a dormant sign of insecurity. When you are a narcissistic individual, you either set a model of narcissism for your children to imitate or you pressurise your children to massage your ego and pride by expecting them to be perfect. Both of these situations are extremely unhealthy for you and your children. On becoming a narcissistic individual your child may someday come to dishonour and disrespect merely in order to gratify their ego.
Do not be overtly possessive about your child. Feelings of excessive possession will cause you not only to disregard even constructive criticism about your children from their well wishers but will also drive the near and dear ones into gradually distancing themselves from you and your children, because they will be made to feel debased.
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