Every child is different and will have their own personality traits. Some children are more outgoing and smoother talkers than others. While some kids are quieter and more reserved. It’s important to remember that all of these personalities are normal.
However, there may be times when you start to question whether your child’s personality is healthy or not. One sign that your child may be a narcissist is if they exhibit signs of excessive self-love and lack empathy for others. If you think your child might be a narcissist, there are certain signs you can look out for and there are strategies that can help.
In this post, we will discuss parenting a narcissistic child and share some ways to manage common unwanted behavior like manipulation and entitlement.
What is a narcissist?
Narcissism is a personality disorder that is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is estimated to affect up to 5% of the population. Children with NPD often have difficulty empathizing with others and may be manipulative or entitled.
While all children can be narcissistic at times, children with NPD display these traits to a pathological degree. If you are unsure whether your child has NPD, it is important to consult with a mental health professional.
What causes narcissism?
The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is not fully known. However, there are some risk factors that have been identified. These include:
- Having parents or other caregivers who were excessively critical, over involved, or narcissistic themselves
- Experiencing a traumatic event during childhood
- Being exposed to abuse or neglect
- Having an oversensitive temperament
Signs your child may be a narcissist
There’s no doubt that raising a child can be challenging at times. But what if your child displays some concerning behaviors? Are they just going through a phase, or could they be a narcissist? While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, it’s important to be aware of the signs so you can get help if needed.
Here is a closer look at some of the most common signs of narcissism in kids:
An inflated sense of self-importance
A narcissistic child may believe they are better than their peers or more special than others. They may also insist on being the center of attention and get upset if they are not.
A need for admiration
A narcissistic child will often seek out praise and validation from others. They may become easily jealous when they feel someone is threatening their position.
Lack of empathy
A narcissistic child may have difficulty seeing things from another person’s perspective. They may be uninterested in other people’s feelings and needs and only concerned with their own.
A narcissistic child may use manipulation to get what they want from others. For example, they may try to guilt-trip someone into doing something they want.
Narcissistic children may feel like they are owed special treatment and expect others to cater to their needs. They may also have a sense of entitlement that leads them to act rudely or take advantage of others. They may expect you to do things for them that they are not willing to do for themselves.
While confidence and self-love are important qualities to have, a narcissistic child may take it to an extreme. They may constantly talk about how great they are and seem unable to tolerate any criticism. A narcissistic child may love themselves to the point of being obsessed with their own appearance. They may spend a lot of time admiring themselves in the mirror or taking photos of themselves.
While these are some common signs of narcissism, it’s important to remember that every child is different. Some children may display all of these behaviors while others only show a few. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, the best thing to do is consult with a mental health professional.
How to deal with a narcissistic child
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with a narcissistic teenager or child. However, there are some general strategies that can be helpful.
1. Set clear boundaries and expectations
Narcissistic children often lack empathy and may not understand how their behavior affects others. It is important to set clear boundaries and expectations with your child. Explain to them what is acceptable and what is not. Be consistent in enforcing these boundaries.
2. Help them develop empathy
One of the best ways to help a narcissistic child is to teach them empathy. Help them understand how their behavior affects others. Encourage them to see things from other people’s perspectives.
3. Avoid giving them special treatment
Narcissistic children often expect others to cater to their needs and give them special treatment. Try to avoid giving them special treatment or coddling them. Instead, treat them the same as you would any other child.
4. Encourage healthy self-esteem
It is important to encourage your child to have healthy self-esteem. Help them develop confidence in themselves without inflating their ego. Compliment them when they do something well, but be sure to focus on their effort and not necessarily the result. Help them develop a realistic view of themselves and to recognize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
5. Avoid being too critical
It is important to avoid being too critical of your child. Narcissistic children are often very sensitive to criticism and may become defensive or react angrily if they feel you are judging them. Try to focus on the positive aspects of their behavior and praise them when they do something well.
6. Help them develop friendships
One of the best ways to help a narcissistic child is to encourage them to develop friendships. Help them understand how to be a good friend and how to develop healthy relationships. Encourage them to spend time with other kids their age and participate in activities that interest them.
7. Seek professional help
If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, it is important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can assess your child and provide you with guidance on how to best support them.
What is most important is to remember that your child is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with a narcissistic child. Every child is different and will require a different approach. With the right support, your child can learn how to develop healthy relationships and a healthy sense of self-esteem.
Do you have a narcissistic child? How have you dealt with their behavior? Share your stories and advice in the comments below.