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Narcissism Disorder In Children: Identifying and Dealing With It

by | December 17, 2018

Could those cute temper tantrums be hiding a bit more of truth to it? Can this be a sign of some serious underlying issue? In all probability, yes! That immense love for attention and incessant crying by your child, when ignored, could be a sign of narcissism disorder. 

narcissism disorder
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While it is great to love oneself and have a high self-esteem, when this self -exceeds all levels of well being and turns the person into attention hungry- self-loving destructive person, it is a sign of narcissistic personality disorder. According to Psychology Today, it has been estimated that about six percent of United States population suffers from this disorder and men are more prone to it. But can a child fall into the clasps of narcissism? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. 

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Narcissism Disorder In Children

Being a little self-centered and having disregard for other’s needs is normal for children. They learn, evolve and develop with time to understand the complexities of human emotion. Self-centered behavior should be corrected but not confused with narcissism. Some of the symptoms of Narcissistic Disorder are:

  • Seeking attention as a right but never expressing gratitude towards kindness shown by parents or friends
  • Bullying behavior towards peers and/or pets
  • The compulsive need to win every time, no matter how
  • Exceedingly self-centered attitude and belief in being the best
  • Unrealistically high needs and expectations from everyone around them
  • Inability to gel up within the same age group
  • Unusual aggression on facing criticism
  • Egotistical conduct and deflecting responsibility
  • Blaming others for each and every bad outcome
  • The compulsion to win every argument, competition and even insignificant events
  • Exploiting parent’s kindness, weak peers
  • Extreme destructive envy
  • Entitled attitude with pathological tactics
narcissism disorder
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Dealing With Narcissistic Disorder In Toddlers

If you experience unusual behavior on your child’s part and suspect it to be narcissism, I highly recommend not self-treating it. Consult a child psychologist who is an expert in dealing with such cases. However, you can take help from following pointers to help improve the condition.

Teach Empathy

Parents are the child’s first teacher, so take your responsibility seriously. Teach your kids empathy and demonstrate it to them. Show them that being kind and empathetic individual is more important than being tough. Teach your kid to think about the effects his/ her actions would generate. Show them that prioritizing needs of other people is important too.

Do not reward bad behavior

If your kid displays entitled attitude, don’t give in for the fear of a possible temper tantrum fest. Stop negative behavior by ignoring it and not rewarding with attention. Do not let them pass blame onto others. 

Stop excessive pampering

Yes your child is valuable to you. So are the million other children for their parents. But do not let this translate into making your kid believe he is the golden child of the house. Do not pamper obsessively and excessively. Draw a fine line between over protectiveness and co-dependence. You can admire your child but not idolize them as the perfect angel child anyone could ever ask for. That fans the fire of narcissism.

Pay attention 

Just like excessive pampering, neglect parenting style is also real. Do not remain detached to your child’s needs, especially emotional ones. Shower attention and affection often. Strike a balance between both the extreme parenting styles. Sometimes narcissism stems from self. The compulsive need of percent from unresponsive parents. 

Differentiate between constructive criticism and negative criticism

It is very important to understand that not all criticisms are healthy. While constructive criticism is an integral part of a child’s holistic development, refrain from the urge to over-analyze every move of theirs. Your constant negative criticism can lead to your child feeling inadequate about themselves. Sometimes narcissism develops as a defense mechanism to this.

Consult a child psychologist if you experience the behavior worsening with age. Proper diagnosis and treatment are beneficial for your child’s better future too if they suffer from narcissism disorder. 

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